Prototyping has been around for ages. The world’s first telescope? Crafted from a prototype. Every vehicle, design, sound, or completed project began as some sort of prototype. A very rough abstraction of the final project. Prototypes are what provide us with the initial framework and structure on an idea, before jumping into them and bringing the experience to life. All great experiences should be prototyped first, and voice is no different. Voice prototyping allows designers and developers to identify technical constraints and breaks within a voice project.
Voice Prototyping Tools
There are lots of different ways a designer can begin to prototype for voice. Voice prototyping can consist of drafting the dialogue out using pen and paper, recording sample dialogue and dragging and dropping the sound clips, or making use of a conversation design tool like Botsociety.
Prototyping tools will provide you the upper hand because they are packed with cool features like user testing and real-time collaboration. This helps a designer get critical feedback from the team before wasting time in development. When using pen and paper, or excel spreadsheets to design conversations, there often isn’t an option to preview the design or head an example of what the finished product might sound like.
There aren’t many voice prototyping tools on the market for the time being, but there are a few I’d recommend looking into.
- Botsociety – A leading conversation design and prototyping tool with support for Google Assistant, Alexa, WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook Messenger and more.
- Figma – A web-based design tool with great team collaboration features
- Lucidchart – A software for diagrams and flow charts
When you start voice prototyping, you’re going to want to begin your design with a happy path. This is the best possible interaction a user can have with your bot. In this path, you want to illustrate what might happen if a user selects the option you’d like them to, for each question given. This will be the foundation of your conversation. As you continue to design, you might hear terms like Delight Path, Repair Path, and more which are basically just accounting for the user’s selection in different ways.
In voice prototyping, a delight path is a user must take to achieve their desired end result. This path is more about the user’s goal than that of the organization. You can design these paths with the user in mind and find ways to bring the intent of the user, and the objective of the conversational agent together.
A user won’t always respond the way we’d like them to, and we have to account for these situations in our conversation design. Sometimes our bot cannot handle a request and the repair path is the dialogue that is designated to getting the user back on track and back in a place where the conversation may resume as intended. The repair path is usually composed of a number of different error messages and choices to re-direct the user back to a place where the bot can respond.
Voice prototyping is new and it’s the perfect time to jump in and start playing with a few of these things. As the space continues to evolve, we will be here to share all of our knowledge and insights with you. Enjoyed this article? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our new voice tool.
Also published on Medium.