A Book Apart

Preston So Voice Content and Usability

Don’t get left behind in this exciting new design frontier—give your content a voice.

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Interfaces have long been visual affairs, with content confined to the text and images behind our screens. But that’s changing. Humans have started talking to interfaces—and interfaces are talking back.

Now we need to ensure those interfaces can converse effectively, thoughtfully, and naturally. Preston So introduces us to the exciting new frontier of voice content design, and the questions that designers, content strategists, and engineers need to answer in order to build richly structured, inclusive communication with the powerful medium of voice.

This book explores:

  • Steps for preparing your existing content for voice interfaces
  • Frameworks for crafting effective dialogues
  • Effectively diagramming communication flows
  • How to consider accessibility, inclusivity, and editorial integrity in voice content design
  • Techniques for quality testing voice content

Preston So brings conversational systems to life with real-world Alexa Skill examples and practical advice for designers of voice interfaces. Learn how to transform web-based content into voice-based content, how to design conversational flow, and how to test before and after deployment. Highly recommended!

Michael McTear
Coauthor of The Conversational Interface and author of Conversational AI
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I've always admired Preston’s ability to both fly high and dive into the weeds when needed. This book soars through the upper altitudes of understanding and planning for voice interfaces, while also peering deep into the intricacies of content and technical implementation—a full view of the future of spoken digital interactions and how we can design them to be fair and effective.

Nikhil Deshpande
Chief digital officer of the State of Georgia
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This approachable, practical guide breaks down the complexities of creating and delivering voice content with tremendous grace and clarity. A must for anyone writing, designing, or building voice interfaces today.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Founder of Active Voice and author of Design for Real Life
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Preston So’s Voice Content and Usability is a fascinating and invaluable guide to the peculiarities and potential of a platform we're only just beginning to understand. I, for one, would not want to work on a voice interface without it.

David Dylan Thomas
Host of The Cognitive Bias Podcast and author of Design for Cognitive Bias
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Preston So

About the Author

Preston So (he/they) is a digital architect and strategist, designer and developer advocate, and polyglot educator and speaker. He is the author of Immersive Content and Usability (A Book Apart, 2023), Gatsby: The Definitive Guide (O’Reilly, 2021), Voice Content and Usability (A Book Apart, 2021), and Decoupled Drupal in Practice (Apress, 2018).

A globally recognized authority on the intersections of content, design, and code, Preston has been a product, design, engineering, and innovation leader since 2015 at organizations like Oracle, Acquia, Time Inc., and Gatsby. Preston is an editor at A List Apart, columnist at CMSWire, and contributor to Smashing Magazine, and has delivered keynotes around the world in three languages. He is based in New York City, where he can often be found immersing himself in languages that are endangered or underserved.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 978-1-952616-01-3
  • Paperback: 131 pages
  • Published: Jun 22, 2021

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