Today’s “60 Seconds With …” interview features Paul Jackson, who will be speaking in the opening session at IWMW 2019.

1. How do you describe to your friends/parents/next door neighbour what you do for a living?

I tell them that I design voice experiences for smart speakers at the BBC. This is often met with bemusement, so I usually follow up by asking them to say “Alexa, open CBeebies” to a smart speaker and experience the BBC Kids Skill for themselves.

2. Tell us something really cool about your job at the moment

Over the past year, a very small part of my job has involved sitting in recording studios, teaching Rebecca from CBeebies how to perform the various “help raps” that we’ve written into the BBC Kids Skill.

3. Whatʼs the most exciting thing about web and digital in the HE sector right now?

That’s what I’m hoping to find out at IWMW2019!

4. Whatʼs your proudest moment in your career so far?

I’m particularly proud of winning the inaugural Webby Award for Best User Experience in Voice for the BBC Kids Skill.

5. If you werenʼt doing this career what would your dream job be?

I always wanted to write comedy for television and to be on the Simpsons writing team during the golden era of 1994-2000 would have been a dream come true.

6. What will delegates take away from your session at IWMW this year?

In spite of the fact that my session is all about designing voice experiences for very young children, delegates will take away some universal principles of voice design – principles that can apply to designing for users of any age or ability.

7. Any fond/embarrassing memories of previous IWMW events (if attended previously)?

This is my first time!

8. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy running (68 park runs and counting!), playing the guitar and tending to my farm in Stardew Valley.

9. Whatʼs your guilty pleasure?

Aperol Spritz.

10. Sum up IWMW in one word


Designing a voice experience for an audience that is still learning to speak. That was the unique challenge faced by the Voice + AI team at the BBC, led by Paul Jackson.

Over the past year Paul has led the design of a voice experience that aims to be immersive and engaging, yet simple enough for a three year old to use.

The final result – the BBC Kids Skill – hides a wealth of complex design decisions behind a child friendly exterior.