11 Useful Tips for Getting the Most of Storyline

Fun fact: 4 of them are made by our community.


1. Make your app speak like a girl or like an old woman.

When your app returns a response to a user’s request, you provide text that voice engine converts to speech. Amazon Alexa automatically handles normal punctuation, such as pausing after a period or speaking a sentence ending in a question mark as a question.

But in some cases, you want to customize that or add some emotional effect to the voice output. To do that, you can use SSML (abbreviation for Speech Synthesis Markup Language), which is a standard way to mark up text for the generation of synthetic speech.

Here’s how to make your app speak like a girl using <prosody> tag:

<prosody pitch=”x-high”>I am young!</prosody>

Or, alternatively, you can increase the prosody and make it speak like an old, smoky, woman:

<prosody pitch=”x-low”>Ohhh… I smoked too much…</prosody>

Here’s how it looks in Storyline:

1. Make Alexa speak like a girl or like an old woman.

2. Use synonyms to catch everything the user can say.

Let’s say you ask the user about his/her mood and you expect two types of answer: positive and negative.

But positive/negative can’t be described in one word, it’s a whole bunch of words that user can say like “great”, “awesome”, “cool”, “incredible”, “good” and etc.

To catch them all, just list them separated with the comma like this:

//great, awesome, cool, good

Here’s how it looks in Storyline (message color doesn’t make a difference, it’s just for the simplicity):

2. Use synonyms to improve the quality of understanding.

3. Play the app from every part.

You know that feeling when you’re building a really long story and making final changes at the very end?

You just want to play the final part and not to go through the story from the very beginning.

To do that, you can just select a particular text box you want to start playing from.

If the list of possible text labels is really huge, just start typing the beginning of the text and we’ll find that desired one for you.

Here’s how it looks in Storyline:

3. Play the app from every part.

4. Make your Stop response memorable and engaging.

Alexa has built-in “stop” handler which triggers anytime you say “Stop” or “Alexa, stop” while interacting with an app.

You can customize it. Just add one more branch called //stop from the root node.

If //stop handler is not implemented — it will say “Goodbye” by default.

Here’s how it looks in Storyline:

4. Make your Stop response memorable and engaging.

5. Add pauses to the conversation.

Here’s another trick on how to make the conversation more engaging and intriguing. Add pauses.

Just add this simple construction to the place where you want the pause to appear at:

<break time=”2s” />

“2s” here stands for 2 seconds, so you can change this value to 0.5s, 3s or whatever you want.

Here’s how it looks in Storyline:

5. Add pauses to the conversation.

6. Use cheatsheet.

Yep, we have a cheatsheet with all the supported operators for user responses, randomization, handling unexpected input, custom audios, pauses in sentences and more.

It’s available from any place of the app in the top right corner.

Each point contains usage example (image) and a quick video tutorial to get a more detailed overview.

Here’s how it looks in Storyline:

6. Use cheatsheet.

7. Find the right keywords for your app using Adwords.

This one is made by Yancey Grantham, the member of our community.

When you’re submitting your app to the certification in Amazon App Store, you can enter keywords to help people discover your app.

The number of keywords cannot be more than 30. You can find the right keywords using Google Adwords: https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/

Here’s how it looks if you’re building math game:

7. Find the right keywords for your app using Adwords.

8. Use custom mp3 files in your voice app.

Using custom mp3 files is the best way I know to make the app more engaging. Why?

Because people are familiar with most sounds and hearing a simple “Ding-dong” sound is way more interesting than hearing the voice reading “Ding-dong” out loud.

Maxim Abramchuk made a great tutorial on how to integrate custom mp3 files in your Storyline app:

8. Use custom mp3 files in your voice app.

9. Link messages in a custom way.

This one is made by Alice Green Langholt, the member of our community.

You already know that you can link one message to be pronounced after another, right? If you don’t, just watch this 4-mins tutorial: https://youtu.be/AdwYgT2UXHM

Alice came up with a way to link messages faster, using their IDs:

“If you right click on an area you want the ID of, and then you select “comment” and you type a comment, it will show you the id of that spot! This discovery will save me so much hassle trying to get the dotted line to stick to the right spot!”

Here’s how it looks in Storyline, in the right bar #53a726 is the ID of the message.

9. How to link messages in a custom way.

To create a link from “Ohh, please, don’t stop me!” message to “Hey Medium reader..” message you need to right-click the first one and select drag to create a link.

And if your app is quite complex, you can avoid dragging through the whole canvas by linking it to the closest message and replacing the ID (#53a726 is the ID from that comment):

9. How to link messages in a custom way.

10. Show your app to somebody who doesn’t have Alexa.

This one is made by Everett Peacock, the member of our community.

“just DISCOVERED that these skills play on my Android Phone! (you may be prompted to allow the microphone to record) This is like having Alexa on my Android!”

Using Share feature you can create a link to your app and send it to someone who doesn’t have Echo device. He can play with the app right in Google Chrome browser and it works both on desktop and Android.

Here’s how it looks when I’m creating a link:

10. How to show your app to somebody who doesn’t have Alexa.

And opening it in the browser:

10. How to show your app to somebody who doesn’t have Alexa.

11. Copy and paste a conversation branch — save hours of work.

This one is made by Yancey Grantham, the member of our community.

If you want to copy and paste the whole conversation branch to another part of your app, here’s what you need to do.

First, right-click the branch you want to copy. You’ll see a circle of choices, click copy branch:

11. Copy and paste a conversation branch — save hours of work.

Then hover the mouse on the message you want to attach the branch to until you see the + sign. Then go right below it and when the + sign disappears, right-click to get the paste circle!

11. Copy and paste a conversation branch — save hours of work.

And that’s it! Here’s how it looks after pasting:

11. Copy and paste a conversation branch — save hours of work.

If you like what you read be sure to 👏 it below — as a writer it means the world.