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- According to a new survey, the ways users employ voice interaction, and particularly voice search, depends in part on their age.
- Younger users, for instance, are more likely to use voice to give commands, like setting an alarm. Older users are more like to search for info, products or services.
- But the survey doesn’t distinguish between the differences in voice results, such as how user behavior might differ when the results are delivered as text on a screen versus delivered as audio.
Voice interaction habits vary by age.
So says a new survey report by business news and how-to site The Manifest, “How Do People Use Voice Search?” It employed survey provider Survata to randomly select and query 501 users of voice interfaces, who answered an online questionnaire.
Commands, voice searches
One clear age-based difference is the use of voice for commands, such as setting an alarm. Thirty percent of those aged 18-34 use voice to give commands. This contrasts with only 19 percent of those aged 35-54 using voice for commands, and 16 percent for those 55 and over.
A more modest difference is in the purpose for voice searches. The survey found that 64 percent of users aged 55 and over use voice primarily to find information, products and services, about the same for users 34-54 (63 percent). But this is statistically more than those aged 18-34 (47 percent).
Overall, about 60 percent use voice search for products, service and information, while only 20 percent use it for communication with other people or to issue commands.
The top three kinds of information sought in voice searches, for all age groups, are trivia and definitions of terms (62 percent), the weather (46 percent) and the news (32 percent).
Fifty-three percent of voice search users employ the technology at least once a week, indicating that it’s habit-forming.
Screen- and audio-based results
Last year, there were more than a billion voice searches every month. The Manifest cited John Foster, CEO of AI-powered voice interaction startup Aiqudo, who believes that voice searches will exceed text-based ones by the end of next year. Some predictions have indicated half of all searches will be voice-based in the near future.
The survey covered, and did not distinguish, between voice searches on smart phones and those on smart speakers.
Toby Cox, content writer and marketer at The Manifest’s parent organization Clutch.co, noted that voice searches on phones can sometimes result in audio responses and sometimes in screen-based text ones, while voice searches on smart speakers always result in voice-delivered responses.
She acknowledged that this difference in results delivery could drive user habits, since no one wants to get information about finding a medical specialist if the results are going to be a short sound bite.