Pre-launch checklists

Before submitting your Action for approval, you can go through the following pre-launch checklists for Action best practices. These checklists improve your project's chances of approval by helping you catch many of the issues we see during the approval process.

Assistant directory

The following checklist highlights steps you can take to improve the user experience using features of the Assistant directory.

Assistant directory
Use Action links

Promote your Action by creating Action links and distributing them to users. Users who click your link on compatible devices are taken directly to a conversation with your Action.

Use the Assistant directory web link

Promote your Action using the directory web link. You can provide this link on your website and other marketing materials to drive users to your Action's directory page.

Write good descriptions

Make sure your Directory descriptions promote your Action’s utility, benefits, and best features with text and images.

If the Assistant recommends your Action to a user and they ask for more details, the Assistant will read your Action's description to the user. Make sure your description sounds good in this context to create a good first impression.

Invocation and discovery

The following checklist contains recommendations to make your Action easier for users to invoke and discover.

Invocation name
Avoid words that have multiple pronunciations

This rule should be followed so that both users and the Google Assistant know how to pronounce your invocation name. For instance, it may not be a good idea to include the word "Envelope" in your invocation name, as users and the Assistant won't know whether to say "en-vel-ope" or "ahn-vel-ope". Other examples include "tear", "bow", and "bass".

Make sure Google recognizes your invocation name
  • Test your invocation name in the Actions console's simulator with the microphone input. Check to see if the text output matches what is listed for your app name. Speech input is currently only available in the Chrome browser.
  • Test your action on voice-activated speakers. Preview your action and try to invoke it to ensure it functions properly on this type of device.
  • Try testing with people of different genders and accents. You want to make sure that your invocation name is recognized no matter who says it.
Choose an easy but unique name

You want users to be able to effortlessly invoke your Action. If they have to struggle to say the name or if they can't easily remember the name, then they are far less likely to keep using your Action.

Adhere to our naming policies

See the naming policies for more information on guidelines and restrictions for invocation names.

If you need an invocation name for your business that violates one of our policies or if it's not recognized well by the Assistant, contact support to request an exception.

Invocation phrases
Design for your Action's use cases

Design your invocation phrases around your Action's specific tasks and real world use cases. Avoid phrases that are too general or don't describe your app's purpose specifically.

Specify clear verb-object pairs

The most useful invocation phrases typically consist of a verb-object pair, like "tell a story" or "start meditating". These phrases are easier to remember and align well with most user queries.

Use entities with relevant synonyms

Entities are useful tools for invocation phrases since they can match multiple user inputs to a single phrase. Make sure all entities you add to invocation phrases only include synonyms that are relevant to the phrase(s) and your Action's use case.

Provide a broad set of quality invocation phrases

You should ensure your Actions can be invoked regardless of your user's choice of words. Try to provide at least 10 different invocation phrases for each Action under Build > Actions in the Actions console.

Review examples of good and bad invocation phrases

Invocation phrases are critical for your Action being discovered naturally via implicit invocation, so you should take the time to ensure they are designed well. For more information, review our recommendations for writing useful invocation phrases.

User interface

The following checklist highlights common things you can do to make sure your responses appear appropriately on the surface where users experience your Actions.

Cards and options
Use cards and options

Cards and options let you display information in a richer, more customizable format.

  • Basic card: If you need to present a lot of text to the user, use a basic card. A card can display up to 15 lines of text, and link to a website for further reading. Unlike chat bubbles, the card supports text formatting. You can also add an image and a list or carousel to display options.
  • List: If you are asking the user to pick from a list of choices, consider using a list instead of writing out the list in a chat bubble.
  • Carousel: If you want to the user to pick from a list of choices with a focus on larger images, use a carousel, which has a limit of 8 items.
Suggestion chips
Use suggestion chips after most turns

The best thing you can do to increase your Action's usability on devices with screens is to add chips, so the user can quickly tap to respond in addition to using voice or the keyboard. For example, you can use suggestion chips that say Yes and No for yes or no questions.

Use chips when there are few options

When offering the user a small number of choices (8 or less) you can add a suggestion for each choice. Present them in the same order as in your text-to-speech (TTS), and use the same terminology.

Use chips when there are many choices

If you ask a question with a wide range of possible answers, present a few of the most popular answers.

Use chips when returning media responses

Your fulfillment must include suggestion chips with the media response if the response is not a final response.

Chat bubbles
Correct capitalization and punctuation

Now that your TTS strings can show up as chat bubbles, check your them for correct capitalization and punctuation.

Fix phonetic spellings

If you spelled something out phonetically in your TTS to help with a pronunciation issue, then that phonetic misspelling will appear in your chat bubble. Use different display text to use correct spelling for chat bubbles on devices with screens.

Avoid truncation

Chat bubbles are limited to 640 characters and are truncated after that limit (however, we recommend around 300 as a general design guideline). If you have more than that, you can:

  • Use a second chat bubble: Up to 2 chat bubbles are allowed per turn, so find a natural break point and create a second chat bubble.
  • Don't show everything: If you are presenting long TTS content, consider showing only a subset of the TTS content in the chat bubble, such as just an introduction. You can use shorter display text than TTS text in this case.
Recorded audio
Remove <audio> text from chat bubbles

If you have text inside your SSML <audio> tag, it's displayed in your corresponding chat bubble. For example, if your SSML is:

<speak>
  Here's that song.
  <audio src="...">song audio</audio>
</speak>

your chat bubble text appears as "Here's that song. song audio".

Instead, add a <desc> element inside your <audio> element. Any text inside <desc> is displayed, and any text outside <audio> is used as the alternate text if the audio source file cannot be loaded. For example:

<speak>
  Here's that song.
  <audio src="bad_url"><desc></desc>song audio</audio>
</speak>

results in the audio output: "Here's that song. song audio" and the chat bubble text: Here's that song.

Alternatively, you can just remove the text from your <audio> tag altogether, or use the SSML <sub> tag.

Eliminate empty chat bubbles

Every dialog turn is required to have at least one chat bubble. If your Action has dialogs that are composed of only streaming audio (no TTS) then the chat bubble text will be missing and your response will fail. In these cases, add display text that matches the words in your recorded audio, or the introduction.