Conversational components Greetings

Greetings

Your Action has to introduce itself and make a good first impression by showing value. The goal is to make the user feel confident and in control as quickly as possible, so it’s important to help users discover what they can do with your Action without making it feel like a tutorial.

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There are 3 main goals you want to accomplish with your greeting:

  • Welcome the user
  • Set expectations
  • Let the user take control

It’s easiest to understand this through examples.

Example 1 - Number Genie

Go here to see how this conversational action was built using Dialogflow.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. What’s your first guess?

Do.

Welcome the user
Greet the user briefly, e.g., with a simple “Welcome” or “Hi”.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. What’s your first guess?

Don’t.

Don’t just jump right in. Say hello.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Guess a number between 1 and 100.

Don’t.

Users will perceive your Action’s persona as rude if you start by telling them what to do.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. What’s your first guess?

Do.

Set expectations
Build on real-world knowledge by tapping into users’ existing mental model for how guessing games are played. “I’m thinking of a number…” does this quickly and efficiently. No further explanation is needed.
Saying “first guess” sets the user’s expectations that this will be a back-and-forth conversation that allows the user to continue refining their guess.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Hi, I’m Number Genie, and I can’t wait to play this number guessing game with you. Here’s how we play. I’m going to think of a number, and then you’re going to try and guess what it is. So let’s get started. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. What’s your first guess?

Don’t.

Don’t repeat your Action’s name—either the user or the Assistant has already said “Number Genie” as part of the invocation.
Avoid explanations, especially of familiar concepts like how to play a guessing game.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. See how quickly you can guess what it is. I’ll let you guess, then I’ll tell you if you’re right or wrong. If you’re wrong, I’ll tell you whether the number I’m thinking of is higher or lower, and I’ll let you guess again. So, what number am I thinking of?

Don’t.

Don’t overwhelm the user with lots of details upfront. They’ll discover how the game works as they start to play.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100. What’s your first guess?

Do.

Let the user take control
Ask questions to let the user know it’s their turn to speak. Users should find it easy to respond to this narrow-focus question, by saying “a number from 1 to 100”.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number from 1 to 100.

Don’t.

If you don’t ask a question, users aren’t likely to respond. This will cause a No Input error.

Persona: Number Genie. Spoken prompt: Welcome. I’m thinking of a number. What’s your first guess? For example, you can say 42 or 78. But keep your guess between 1 and 100. Now, go ahead.

Don’t.

Don’t tell users what they can say. Instead, phrase your question in a way that encourages responses your Action can handle.

Example 2 - Google I/O 18

Go here to see how this conversational action was built using Dialogflow.

Persona: Google I/O 18. Spoken prompt: Welcome to your launchpad for all things Google I/O. As the keeper of I/O-specific knowledge, consider me your guide. I can help you plan for I/O by telling you about when it’s happening, or how to watch remotely. I can also search for talks. So, what do you want to know?

Do.

Since the name “Google I/O 18” doesn’t really give a sense of what this Action can do, the persona needs to provide the mental model. The Action is described as a “launchpad” and the “Keeper of I/O-Specific Knowledge” is meant to evoke a game master and guide.

Persona: Google I/O 18. Spoken prompt: Welcome to your launchpad for all things Google I/O. As the keeper of I/O-specifica knowledge, consider me your guide. So, what do you want to know?

Don’t.

Don’t make your users guess what your app can do. Without giving a few examples, this question has too wide a focus and is likely to put users on the spot and cause a “deer in the headlights” moment.

Persona: Google I/O 18. Spoken prompt: Welcome to your launchpad for all things Google I/O. You can ask me about the date, the location, the keynotes, the sessions, codelabs, sandboxes, office hours, app reviews, the food, the swag, the after party, the live streams, I/O extended events, announcements, lost & found, what to wear, or really any of the what, where, or when questions you might have about I/O/. So, what do you want to know?

Don’t.

Don’t offer more than 3 options at a time. If your Action has more than 3, randomize which are offered or consider offering the 2 most popular options along with a third “more options” category.

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Consider both first-time and repeat users of your Action. A novice user might need more detailed descriptions of your Action’s options and features. This same information can become frustrating to more experienced users (it violates the Cooperative Principle). On the other hand, an expert user might benefit from a well-placed tip about an advanced feature (information which might overwhelm a novice user).

First time user:

Speaker

User utterance / Spoken prompt

User

Hey Google, talk to Google I/O 18

Google Assistant

Alright, here's Google I/O 18. <earcon>

I/O 18

Welcome to your launchpad for all things Google I/O. As the Keeper of I/O-Specific Knowledge, consider me your guide. I can help you plan for I/O by telling you about when it's happening or how to watch remotely. I can also search for talks. So, what do you want to know?

Repeat user:

Speaker

User utterance / Spoken prompt

User

Hey Google, talk to Google I/O 18

Google Assistant

Alright, here's Google I/O 18. <earcon>

I/O 18

Welcome back. I can tell you more about I/O. For example, you might like to know about the keynotes, codelabs, or app reviews. I can also help you find sessions or office hours. So, what do you want to know?

Repeat user:

Speaker

User utterance / Spoken prompt

User

Hey Google, talk to Google I/O 18

Google Assistant

Alright, here's Google I/O 18. <earcon>

I/O 18

Hi again. I have all kinds of info on I/O, from codelabs and sandboxes to the keynotes and sessions. So, tell me what you want to know about.

Also make sure to vary your greetings based on the invocation that led the user to your Action.