XAPPmedia CEO Pat Higbie Shares His Tips for Building Better Voice Apps

 Jul 19, 2017 
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In a recent four-part series, Voicebot.ai asked a number of voice industry experts, including XAPPmedia’s Pat Higbie, for their advice on how to build better voice applications. After creating hundreds of interactive voice experiences, Higbie has learned a thing or two about building a successful voice app. He also has a unique perspective, as XAPPmedia is recognized as a preferred agency for the three leading platforms in the industry: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. Here is what he had to say:

What is a common mistake that voice application publishers make that undermines the quality of their apps?

Giving users too many choices on any single turn of a conversation.  Voice is different from web and mobile because the user needs to remember the choices provided in order to respond effectively. So, it’s important to limit the choices on any single turn in the conversation to 3 or 4 at the most.

What is one thing people should do to build  better voice applications going forward that is applicable to all voice platforms?

Spend time designing, enumerating and testing the utterances for each intent so users can get what they want from the skill by speaking naturally.

What is one thing people should do when building for Alexa to deliver better skills?

It’s important for skills to be designed for both novice and expert users. Novice users need direction to understand what can be done with the skill.  Expert users want to use the efficiency of voice to go directly to the content or functionality they want.  Good skills will work well for both and adapt to the user’s familiarity with the skill.

What is one thing people should do when building for Google Assistant/Home to deliver better Actions?

Action builders need to understand the value of deep link discovery (i.e. Voice SEO) and create appropriate deep links into the action so users can find the voice app with phrases related to its market without having to know the invocation name. For example, today when users say “I want car insurance”, Google Assistant refers them to the Progressive action.

If you would like to learn more, Pat Higbie and the XAPPmedia team have also created helpful guides for those looking to get their radio station or brand on the Amazon Echo. Click the links below to download now.