Wit.ai is Facebook open natural language processing (NLP) platform. It’s the tool that turns what users say (voice or text) into action. This allows developers to enable voice interface for their chatbots, mobile app, smart home, and wearable devices – including Facebook Portal and Oculus. Wit.ai supports over 200,000 developers around the world with over 132+ languages.
To revitalized and modernize Wit.ai, I was brought in to lead the redesign from the ground up to compete with Amazon Alexa and Google Dialogflow.
Role & Responsibilities
Senior Product Designer, Facebook
Tooling vision, information architecture, interaction design, research
With the rise of voice interface, developers need a platform that is easy to use, fast, reliable, and robust. For the majority, VUI is another feature that adds value to their core experience. They don’t have time to learn the complicated theory in machine learning, AI, nor NLP.
Additionally, many developers do not want to be locked into a specific platform like Alexa or Google Assistant which has a lot of overhead.
With Wit.ai, developers can create VUI in less than 20 mins by providing the few ways people would say to activate the command. Wit ML algorithms will figure out what are the intents, providing expansive slots, and export out a simple JSON. Developers then can query this through the API and enable the voice command free of charge.
Thanks a lot for creating such an amazing product and an ecosystem for bootstrapping new experiences and tuning the existing ones. It is literally a 10x improvement comparing to what we had to do 2 years ago to create a demo.
— Facebook Engineer
Having experience designing many complex tools like Wit, I know that having the right mental model can ease users’ burden. By working with linguists and developers, we arrived at a simple and easy to understand mental model using intents as a first-class citizen which connects to slots, roles, and sentiment that mimic how natural conversation works.
To reduce the learning curve, I designed an easy step-by-step new user experience (NUX). This NUX works along with a comprehensive and accessible Getting Started Guide with video tutorials. In addition, because the UI already represent how NLP components fit together. This reduced users' burden on learning NLP itself.
The biggest learning moment was honestly how easy it was to integrate wit.ai - I had already created a basic language model via Voicify to use on the other supported platforms like Alexa and Dialogflow. Getting that working in wit was unbelievably easy.
— A Voice Powered Controller to Level the Playing Field
Having a great developer platform isn’t just having a good GUI but also great API, documentation, and robust community. In the design, I made sure this information is easily accessible throughout the tool with a just-in-time learning experience to reduce the cognitive load.
The redesign launched on June 17, 3 days over Facebook global hackathon, and met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Over 80% of users are satisfied to extremely satisfied with the redesign. The majority of the users also said that the new interface is their favorite change.
Wit.ai also became one of the 3 pillars of the Facebook Global Hackathon series along with Spark AR and Messenger. At the last hack, it attracted over 3,000 participants which were the highest of the 3 pillars.
On that note, this video is sponsored by Wit.ai. I’m just kidding. That’s a lie. But it’s F*cking should be. Because Wit.ai is the Sh*t.
— MatthewHallberg, My Boss made me Code an AI Assistant...