I really like Siri. I use it all the time for timers, text messages, getting the weather, and various other things. While she could be made much smarter and do more things this post is going to focus on Siri’s UI and why it is holding Siri back from being an actual virtual assistant. Activating Siri with a press and hold takes over the full screen and interrupts whatever you were doing. I can see why Apple did that with the iPhone but it makes no sense on the iPad. Siri could be much more functional if it didn’t make you stop doing what you are doing, press and hold the button, speak, make sure it understood you, wait for a response, and then press the home button again to dismiss. How would I make this process more fluid and natural? You activate Siri and instead of taking up the whole screen a little microphone icon pops up and asks what do you need?
You say what you need while still being able to use the current application. So you say “ Hey Siri, what’s the weather like?” as you scroll through your RSS feed. Siri gets your answer but it still doesn’t fill the whole screen it just gives you a window big enough to display the results.
Siri On The iPhone
On iPhone Siri can still display results full screen but it should’t take over the screen until it has you results.
A Fundamental Change From Handy To Truly Useful
I honestly think this is the most important thing Apple could do with Siri. (In the short term.) Changing how we interact with Siri will change the game transforming it from a virtual help line to an actual virtual assistant that we can interact with as we use our devices. Working with us and giving iOS the potential to become a much more powerful OS. Instead of taking us out of the iOS experience to wait, it works in the background and displays the results when it has them.
Of course this is just one piece needed to make Siri better, I also want Siri to be given powers like app specific abilities.
(Click picture to go to next picture in the series.)
Siri makes you stop what you are doing, wait, and once you have the answer go back to whatever you were doing. This works if you aren’t actively using your iDevice but it can be incredibly frustrating if you are. This concept fixes that and turns Siri into more of an assistant that a virtual help line. I seriously believe Siri could drive iOS to be a competitor to the Mac while keeping iOS relatively simple. This is the first step towards that vision and while I am not sure if Apple has the same vision I think they would agree the current Siri experience isn’t as good as it could be.