Why use a persona?
A persona is a design tool that helps you write conversations. Before you can write a dialog, you have to have a clear picture of who is communicating. A good persona evokes a distinct tone and personality, and it’s simple enough to keep top-of-mind when writing dialog. It should be easy to answer the question: “What would this persona say or do in this situation?”.
Users will project a persona onto your Action whether you plan for one or not. So it's in your best interest to purposefully design the experience you want users to perceive, instead of leaving it up to chance.
Follow these steps to create your persona:
|Step 1||Brainstorm a list of adjectives (e.g., friendly, technologically competent). Focus on the qualities you want users to perceive when talking to your Action.|
|Step 2||Narrow your list down to 4-6 key adjectives that describe your persona’s core personality traits.|
|Step 3||Come up with a few different characters who embody these qualities (e.g., a barista, a fashion icon, a world traveler). Your persona doesn’t have to be a person. It could also be an anthropomorphized animal, an alien, an artificial intelligence, a cartoon character, etc.|
Choose one character that best embodies your Action and write a short description, no more than a paragraph. This description should provide a clear sense of what this persona is like, especially what it would say, write, or do.
Focus on personality traits, and avoid specifying things like gender or age because they almost never critically define or differentiate a persona. Furthermore, deciding the gender upfront will make it harder to find the right voice, since you’ve already eliminated half of the options.
|Step 5||Find, or create, an image or two that visually represents your persona. Pictures are a great memory aid and can help you keep the persona in mind when writing dialog. If you create your own, consider using it as your Action’s logo so users can see it too.|
There are 2 types of voices:
|Synthesized||The Actions on Google platform provides a variety of text-to-speech (TTS) voices that speak different languages. Go to Languages and Locales to hear them. Note that you can adjust the way the synthesized speech sounds by using Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML). For example, you may want to add silence or pauses, specify how numbers should be read, or adjust the intonation.||
|Recorded||You can hire a professional voice actor, or even try using your own voice. Either way, you’ll need to record all the audio that will be used in your Action.||
Choose the best voice for your persona by holding an audition.
|Step 1||Write a few spoken prompts that your persona would say. Or better yet, write a sample dialog. These will be the lines used for the audition.|
If you’re auditioning TTS voices, render your lines in each voice.
If you’re auditioning voice actors, tell them about what your Action does and give them your persona description and key adjectives so they understand the character they’re embodying. Then record them reading the lines.
|Step 3||Create a scorecard using the key adjectives that describe your persona. The goal is to rate how well a voice conveys each adjective using a 5-point scale, with 1 meaning “not very well” and 5 meaning “very well."|
Organize a listening party with your friends or colleagues. Audition each voice and rate them on the scorecard. Focus on the voice by just listening—don’t read along. It helps to close your eyes and try to imagine the speaker.
|Step 5||Review the ratings and choose the winner! If there’s a tie, listen to the voices again, this time rating them against your short persona description.|