Lockheed Martin : Desktop voice search

American security and aerospace company enables voice search on its corporate website

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The feature

The search function on lockheedmartin.com is accessed conventionally via a magnifying glass icon in the site header. This triggers a search bar with a simple free text field.

But unconventionally, for corporate websites at least, in desktop view there is a microphone icon next to the input field. Clicking it for the first time prompts the browser to ask the user to allow access to the microphone; assuming they do, the user can then speak their search instead of typing it.

The voice search worked reasonably well in our tests, although it did not always pick up the first word of two-word searches.

The microphone does not appear in the search when the site accessed via a mobile device.

The takeaway

The voice search does not need to appear when the site is accessed via a mobile device, since these nearly always provide the user with a dictation option via the keyboard function.

We suspect most users will still type their queries on desktop, but giving the option of voice search brings the desktop experience more in line with the mobile one.

It may save some desktop users time, and it will also be welcomed by those who cannot, or prefer not to use a keyboard, so there is a potential accessibility upside too.

Assuming the implementation costs are not too great, and the underlying search functionality works well, adding a voice option is worth considering. Those who do so before it becomes commonplace have the advantage of sending a positive message about innovation and attention to user experience.

First published 17 May, 2021
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