Immersive Content and Usability is the first-ever book on immersive content and spatial content design, available now from A Book Apart.


Voice Content and Usability

The definitive book on voice content and A Book Apart’s first voice title.

Give your content a voice of its own.

Voice content enriches how users interact with our copy, but it also poses vexing questions and dilemmas. Get the answers from A Book Apart’s first voice title, Voice Content and Usability. Buy now

Voice Content and Usability

The only book on voice content, and A Book Apart’s first voice title, available now.

Why read Voice Content and Usability?

Picture this: You’ve spent years honing and perfecting your content, looking for stray siloes here and tamping down orphaned pages there. You’ve made it. The website you’ve carefully crafted is semantically rich, astutely architected, and eminently navigable. But then the overzealous executive team and ambitious product manager call a meeting and demand the ability to deliver the same content via voice, through Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and devices you might have at home but that have long felt impenetrable.

What do you do? How do you build voice content where “picture this” becomes an impossibility? where leafing through becomes listening through? where navigating becomes negotiating?

The ongoing technological “quickening” and accelerating demands for multichannel convenience are upending all the old paradigms we used to hold dear: links and sitemaps, navbars and breadcrumbs, calls to action and clicks to subscribe. When all your users have in front of them is a smart speaker without a screen, where do you even begin when it comes to design, content strategy, and accessibility?

Voice Content and Usability will give you the techniques and insights you need to make voice content a tangible—and talkable—reality. Learn from the real-world example of Ask GeorgiaGov, the first-ever Alexa skill for residents of the state of Georgia and one of the earliest content-driven voice interfaces. Whether you’ve never thought about voice interfaces before or you’re knee-deep in an ongoing voice project, join me as we move away from screens and scrollbars and into the realm of sound and speech.

But don’t take my word for it. By the end, your content will speak for itself.

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What's in the book?

With a foreword by Erika Hall, Voice Content and Usability equips you to create compelling voice content, situate it in dialogues and flows, and prepare it to go live. Buy now

  • Chapter 1

    Conversations with computers

    Understand how voice differs from the larger conversational landscape when it comes to content strategy and spoken versus written interfaces.

  • Chapter 2

    Getting content ready for voice

    Author, design, and plan voice content that’s future-proof, by auditing your existing web content so it’s ready for prime time or conceiving new copy.

  • Chapter 3

    Crafting dialogues

    Connect the dots between content items with the glue of onboarding, prompts, intents, and responses. Good design means good writing.

  • Chapter 4

    Diagramming flows

    Deliver voice content in discoverable ways by leveraging aural, not visual, approaches to wayfinding rooted in habitable and linear flows.

  • Chapter 5

    Readying voice content for launch

    Prepare for usability testing and release paradigms that challenge our foregoing web-based approaches in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

  • Chapter 6

    The future of voice content

    Learn what’s ahead in voice and how it’s confronting new possibilities—and risks—in accessibility, equity, and the very notion of what content is.

Praise for Voice Content and Usability

“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, Active Voice and co-author, Design for Real Life

“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, Founder & CEO, David Dylan Thomas, LLC

“We’ve spent a millennium dreaming about communicating with our machines in human ways. For a while, the technology just wasn’t there to support conversing with inanimate objects, but now it is. Is your content ready? Don’t fret if it isn’t; Preston has your back in this indispensable guide, chock full of useful research and actionable advice for working with voice content.”

Aaron Gustafson, Author, Adaptive Web Design

“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

“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, Emeritus Professor, School of Computing, Ulster University, co-author of The Conversational Interface and author of Conversational AI

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