Discover 7 different ways to make money in Alexa, Google Assistant, and any voice interface.

dollar note standing on a grey background
dollar note standing on a grey background
Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Read article in Spanish: Cómo ganar dinero con las interfaces de voz.

Return of investment (ROI) and how to build a profitable business model around voice technology is one of the central topics for product designers in Alexa Skills or Google Actions. Without clear options for making a profit, the whole voice sector can collapse in the near future.

If you want to know how to make money with Alexa or Google Assistant, I will walk you through the different ways you can monetize your projects in voice interfaces.

Development and consultancy in voice interfaces

For most developers and creators, building voice interfaces for third parties is the most profitable model. The developer is paid by a brand or company for the service of building the Alexa Skill, Google Action, or Samsung Capsule. The budget is normally calculated on a rate per hour basis and all the developed assets belong to the hiring company. …


Types of advertising in Alexa, Google Assistant or any voice interface

Alexa Echo Spot with the text on the screen “Your logo here”
Alexa Echo Spot with the text on the screen “Your logo here”

You can read this article in Spanish: Publicidad en interfaces de voz.

Advertising and its different formats have been the most lucrative business model in the content industry from its very beginning. Something like a lesser evil for many users open to “pay” the price for accessing content without directly spending money on it.

Alexa, Google, Siri, Bixby, or any other player in the voice technology world, are looking for alternatives to building a sustainable business model away from advertising. Especially when advertising is sometimes against their own policies. …


How can you start designing for a voice interface without coding?

piece of paper with 3 speech bubbles on a design table
piece of paper with 3 speech bubbles on a design table
Based on Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

You can read this article in Spanish: Herramientas de diseño y prototipado para interfaces de voz

Let’s face it, most designers would be lost without their design tools. From the Adobe days to Figma, Sketch, Flinto, and so on, we always rely on software to get things done. When talking about voice interaction design (from now on, VUI), I still get the question about available tools and my preferred ones. In this post, I will categorize and summarize the most popular tools for design and prototype VUI experiences.

I have created a quick prototype with each of them with the following…


Do VUI patterns exist? Are they useful? Where can we find them?

Grid of Google mini devices replicated 28 times
Grid of Google mini devices replicated 28 times

In graphic interfaces, we are used to talking about design and interaction patterns. We use them all the time to deal with any user need. Those patterns are nothing but well-known solutions that users are already familiar with.

The boom of voice interfaces as a “new” interaction channel makes us wonder if there is any similar artifact in voice design that we can use in our VUIs (voice user interface).

Well, the short answer to the question is a big YES. …


The personality your VUI needs: What it’s important and what is not.

Pink Google Home Mini with a speech bubble saying “Who am I?”
Pink Google Home Mini with a speech bubble saying “Who am I?”

In 2017 I published 2 articles about chatbot design where I talked about the importance of the assistant personality. The first one was about UX design tasks that are useful for designing assistants, and the other one was my viral Design Framework for Chatbots.

Most of my ideas there were inspired by the book Designing for Emotion, and the result was a persona document describing the assistant appearance and some of its traits.

Since then some other ideas have been published, like this very interesting work in Spanish called Voice System Persona Canvas which describes the different traits an assistant should have, or this other one by James Giangola. …


«Alexa open Stay Home»: A complete guide of the steps it took me to publish an Alexa Skill in 7 countries in 7 days for coronavirus crisis.

image with blue background and the text “Stay Home”
image with blue background and the text “Stay Home”

Now that countries are starting to reduce the confinement of the population for the coronavirus crisis, I would like to share the experiment that I launched in Alexa at the beginning of the pandemic. I believe this experiment is a great example of product design, including success, failures, and learnings, but more than anything, it’s proof that we can build a VUI product (voice user interface) with impact, in a short time and little technical knowledge.

So, let me walk you through my “Alexa, open Stay Home” project, every step I took, how I published, and the results I got.

The time frame for the project “Stay Home”

Last March 9, a lockdown for all the citizens -forcing all the population to stay home- was declared in Italy. The Spanish government followed on the 14, and different countries also followed their leads in the coming weeks. On March 19, 5 days after it was obvious to everyone the problem was going to spread worldwide I published the Alexa Skill “Stay Home”, with fun activities to do at home in Spain. …


Learn what you should be doing with the screen in each Alexa Echo device.

Three multimodal Alexa Echo devices (Spot, Show 1 and Show 2) with a wireframe on the screen
Three multimodal Alexa Echo devices (Spot, Show 1 and Show 2) with a wireframe on the screen

In 2017 Alexa Echo Show was launched. It was the first smart speaker with a screen from Amazon, but not the last from a growing multimodal device ecosystem. Since 2017, 5 different devices with display have been on the market, multiplying options for the users but making it a bit more complex for those of us who live creating experiences on them.

The recommendations below are based on voice first interactions and don’t apply to situations where touch is the only possible option (keyboard for login, wifi setting, etc.).

Photo of the 6 available multimodal Echo devices
Photo of the 6 available multimodal Echo devices

Alexa Echo devices summary

Before we go, it is important to know the existing devices and their tech specifications. This information is normally spread across the different detail pages, developer platforms, and tech blogs, so here you have a summary of the most important…


What can a designer do in a voice interface like Alexa or Google Assistant? Find out in these 7 design roles

cartoon of a head with different digital items spread in the air: a mobile, persona template, audio icon, one laptop, etc.
cartoon of a head with different digital items spread in the air: a mobile, persona template, audio icon, one laptop, etc.

While many agree on saying that design is the most important task in voice technology, others are still wondering why is a designer needed in a world with no screen. It sounds like a huge responsibility if we don’t know where to start!

There are already some posts talking about parallelisms between GUI and VUI design, like this one on how Heuristics applies to VUI, or this other one giving an overview of VUI design and things you need to take into account that can help you get started. …


Adopt Alexa’s design method based on the conversation situation with the tool that better adapts to it.

Alexa Echo device from above with the word “context” on it highlighted in pink
Alexa Echo device from above with the word “context” on it highlighted in pink
Based on Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

You can read this article in Spanish: Cómo diseñar para voz con Situational Design y Airtable.

In May 2019, the evangelist team challenged the voice community with a new design methodology based on the context. It was called Situational Design.

Besides setting the framework for moving away from other design tools based on rigid flowcharts (inherited from traditional interaction design), they developed a card and storyboards system. The idea was to create a new design artifact that could become the new standard tool for conversation design.

In this post, I will explain why Situational Design is so important and how I deal in Monoceros Labs with some of its problems with Airtable´s platform. …


Answer these key questions for having a perfect selling strategy in Alexa with your digital goods.

Alexa device with a dollar symbol on top to represent how you can make money in voice experiences
Alexa device with a dollar symbol on top to represent how you can make money in voice experiences

In September 2019, while I was part of the team, Alexa launched ISP (In-Skill Purchase) allowing Alexa Skills creators to offer and sell digital goods in their interactions.

If you want to design a successful strategy with Alexa and ISP most of the decisions that you will need to make can be solved with 3 key questions (What, When, How) impacted by 3 main actors (Alexa, Users and the Product Team that creates the Alexa Skill).

In this post, I will walk you through these different questions and how each participant impacts them.

What is up for sell and what users buy in Alexa Skills?

For this question, each one of the 3 actors plays a very important role. However, with ISP being a very new feature, users are the ones that still offer more uncertainty. …

About

Jesús Martín

ex-Amazon and BBVA. Voice and Product Designer. Everything is published first in Spanish at jesusmartin.eu

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