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Create An Assistant App Without Any Code

At the moment, there are few options to create apps for the Google Assistant that do not involve any code.

We call them “existing templates” as you can see in the image above.

When you open the action on google console page you will see all the current options: trivia, personality quiz and flash cards games. In this post we will see how easy it will be to create a new flash cards game that will work on the Google Assistant.

Let’s go with helping people learn something new, ok?

First, you need to go to: console.actions.google.com and click on “Add/Import Project”.

The next step is to click on the Flash cards “BUILD” button.

You will get to this screen, where you just need to customize your app by choosing a personality that reflects how you want it to sound.

Different personalities will have different ways of presenting your prompts and responses.

You should click the play button to hear examples of those prompts and choose one that makes the most sense for your  app.

So choose one and click ‘Next’.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

In this part we’ll add questions, answers, and hints for the game and we’ll use a Google sheet for that.

Click on the Google sheet dialog. It’s blue line with: ‘Click here to create a copy of a pre-filled Google Sheet that you can edit’.

and you will see this dialog with an option to ‘click and make a copy’. We’ll get a new browser tab with this option:

Click on the ‘Make a copy’ button and you’ll get your very own Google sheet. See below how it’s going to look.

At this point, it’s important to remember:

1. Make sure you change all the content on the 2 sheets we provided here.

2. The first sheet is for the questions and answers. You need to create new ones based on our own topic. If something is wrong you’ll get a warning on the cell.

3. The second sheet (=configuration tab) is for the customization of the game. Please change it with your values.

After you’re done. Copy the url at the top. Now, you should paste this url into the screen below where there’s a field for your “Google Sheet browser URL”.

Want to see a game in action?

Here is an example of a Flash Cards Game I’ve created. You can see more examples here.

You can see below the dialog after we copied the url to our google sheet.

The was the build part!
Easy, no?

Click on “CreateApp” in order to close this wizard.

Now, let’s have a drink and test our app for assistant, cool?

In order to test our app we need to click on ‘simulator’ in the left side menu or on the ‘Test App’ button.

You will get this:

 

The web simulator is a great tool that let us test our work and see how it is going to work on Google Home and Phones.

It’s important to use it and see that everything is working well before we submit our new assistant app for review.

Btw, if you are logged into the assistant with the same account on your phone or Google home – you can test your creation there as well.

Tips

Now, after you created your first assistant app, it’s time to tune it and make it even better. Here are few guidelines to keep in mind when you creating your Google Assistant app with templates:

  • Question Format
    • Keep questions clear and short. Don’t force the user to hold a lot of words in their heads.
    • Keep the answers even shorter. One or two-word answers work best.
    • Make sure your questions are actually asking the user a question. Try to start with question words such as whowhat, when. Guide users to the kind of answer they should give.
    • Since users can’t interrupt a question, it’s helpful to introduce a list of answers with “Which of these options…” Users might try to answer a question before they hear them all, so let them know that more are coming.
  • Synonyms
    • If you think there are multiple correct ways to answer a question, you can set multiple synonyms by using the “|” key as a separator.
    • For example, if a question’s answer is set to “United States|USA|US”, a user could say any of these synonyms to correctly answer the question.
  • Engagement
    • To vary the questions up, and to keep things moving.
    • It’s good to mix in some true or false questions.
  • Cultural Reach
    • To engage the maximum number of users, try to offer questions that many people can relate to, regardless of their ethnic or class background.
    • Remember that not everyone has been exposed to the same classical and cultural references.
  • Understandability
    • Answers work best when they require three or fewer words. If the user has to give a lengthy response, the voice-detection error gap widens.
  • Efficiency
    • It’s best to use contractions wherever possible (“I’m” instead of “I am“) to speed up TTS playback.
  • Gender Diversity
    • For maximum user engagement, remember that you’re targeting diverse genders.
    • Try to use pronouns, examples, and subject matter that a maximum number of users can relate to.
    • Think on the age and tailor the content to match it both in wording and the way your ‘host’ is talking back.

Have fun!

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