Challenging the echo chamber in VUI design

Benjamin McCulloch (
2 min readJan 10, 2021
Photo by Denes Kozma on Unsplash

It was at the first excellent VoiceLunch of 2021 that Allen Firstenberg said we should disagree more — his point being that we should avoid being an echo chamber as we all might benefit from the insights gained.

I absolutely agree (off to a bad start there!).

Allen’s suggestion made me think how I spent too much time on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter) in discussions about conversation design throughout 2020. This year I‘m going to do things differently because I’m not sure how much impact I can have when I suggest a different approach without showing it.

So here’s my plan:

This year I want to focus on the things I disagree with but explain why I think otherwise and create a design to show how I would do it differently. In other words, I want to try to prove my arguments with compelling designs so people can experience the benefits of my ideas. I will blog here about it to show my design process.


  • I will create portfolio pieces
  • I will learn a huge amount
  • I will hopefully make such a compelling argument that designers will consider adopting elements of my design process
  • I will have to pick my battles and not just dive into every single discussion

Thanks to Maaike Groenewegge for suggesting I document my process and findings at the same VoiceLunch! That inspired me to start this crusade (ok, it’s not a crusade but it’s the start of the year and I want to feel like I’m embarking on something epic…)

In the next post I will introduce the first idea I want to tackle, and the project I will create to show how I would do it differently.

Wish me luck!