Scripts show the conversation between the user and the system and are a great way to determine how the conversation will flow.
Consider the following when writing a script:
- Keep interactions brief.
- Write for how people talk, instead of how they read and write.
- Avoid repetitive phrases.
- Indicate when the user needs to provide information.
- Don’t assume that the user knows what to do or what will happen.
- Clearly present options.
- In general, provide no more than three choices at a time.
- Ask for information one piece at a time.
Develop the flow
A basic script doesn’t fully represent how people will interact with your skill in real life. Users may say too little, too much, or say things that you weren’t expecting. Use the following techniques to expand your script and catch various ways in which a user might accomplish tasks:
Outline the shortest route to completion
The shortest route to completion is generally when the user gives all information and slots at once, an account is already linked if relevant, and other prerequisites are satisfied in a single invocation of the skill.
Outline alternate paths and decision trees
Often, what the user says doesn’t include all the information necessary to complete the request. In the flow, identify alternate pathways and user decisions.
Outline behind-the-scenes decisions the system logic will have to make
Identify behind-the-scenes system decisions, for example with new or returning users. A background system check might change the flow a user follows.
Outline how the skill will help the user
In the help, include clear directions for what users can do with the skill. Based on the complexity of the skill, the help might provide one simple response or many responses.
Outline the account linking process, if present
Determine the information that is required for account linking. The flow also needs to identify how the skill will respond when account linking hasn’t been completed.
Get ready to build
Once you have a script and a detailed flow, start creating the structure for what your skill does and what users will say to engage with it.
Intents represent the unique things that your skill is able to do. A skill for planning a trip might have five intents, for example
1. Plan A Trip
2. Book the trip
For information about producing a list of intents alongside your script and flow, see What Users Say.
Utterances include the robust list of words, phrases, and sentences users will say to engage and fulfill the intent. For information about identifying utterances, see What Users Say.
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