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A morning with Cathy Pearl

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

On Nov.13 I joined an online meeting which was recommended to us by our Foundation's Instructor, Kate.

It was "Ask a Designer" session scheduled by Cloud app. They always have these virtual meetings where they will bring designers so people like me or people who are interested in there topic can ask questions.

This time the topic was Conversational UI and the the featured designer was Cathy Pearl who is Head of Conversation Design Outreach at Google.

The meeting began with Andi Galpern who was the person who asked the questions in behalf of us.

She started the talk by talking about the importance of Human-Centered design and the important role that it plays in our communities.

Interesting Questions

  • One of the Questions that was asked which was also one of my questions was the specific prototyping tools and they used in google and also use for testing.

She said that there are a lot tools out there, but there is not one tool that can help you with all the prototyping needs. But still there are a lot of companies that are coming out which are getting better.

  • Another question which caught my attention was thathow they design their personas?

In the voice world they have brand and system persona which is usually different than design research personas.

But they also think about who their user is what is their context and what kind of persona will best fit their needs.

System persona is about the quality that they can give the information to user. For example the types of phrases that they usually tend to use. because they will be different in different situations.

Notes during the meeting


By the end of the meeting she suggested a few books to us which I will list here:

  • Designing Voice User Interfaces, by Cathy Pearl

  • Wired for speech, by Clifford Nass & Scott Brave

  • Cooperative principles, by Paul Grice


Before joining this meeting I didn't have a clear Idea of what the conversation UI actually is. The only thing I knew was that something like Siri, Alexa, and google Home were called Conversational UIs. But after her talk I became more and more interested. She also said that the conversational UI in cars are something that needs a lot of work and it is very important to be fixed really fast. I could totally relate to what she was saying because I think texting and talking or trying to call someone is very hard while we are driving so we really need a system that can function really well.

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