Words and sounds for a thoughtful home

talk – 35 min | Feb 6 – 14:00

Learn from Nest’s lead writer and audio designer how audio, voice and writing come together to create thoughtful, delightful products for your home.

In just a few years, Nest has grown from a single thermostat company to a leading smart home brand. That brand—simple, human, delightful—is at the core of all of Nest design.

In this talk, we’ll show how audio, voice and writing come together to create products that you want to live with. From simple greetings to helpful, easily understood messaging, content is at the heart of the Nest brand. We will talk about the process and details of designing text and speech interactions for the home, including:

  • Fundamental challenges to writing for products in your home, and why it’s different from other UX writing.
  • Voice as an integral and critical element of product design.
  • Using voice to make products functional and easy to use, both day to day and during an emergency.
  • How written and spoken language can support each other to create a consistent message.

About the speakers

Jennifer Bush

Jennifer Bush


I was born and raised in Southern California. After college, I got my first taste of Silicon Valley startup life at WebTV, where I developed a passion for consumer products and the entrepreneurial spirit. Since then, I’ve worked at big companies and startups, from Microsoft and Google to Danger and Houzz. I’m currently the lead UX Writer at Nest.

I specialize in content strategy, writing end to end user experiences and voice interactions. My customer facing work includes app user interface text, video and product VUI scripts, customer emails and push notifications.

I have degrees in Mass Communications and Sociology from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. I’m a public speaker, have an award-winning personal blog, and have published several essays. I live in San Jose, CA.

Steven Clark

Steven Clark


I’m the lead UX Designer for Audio and Voice Interaction at Nest.

I received my Ph. D. in Music Composition and Audio Technology from the University of California, Berkeley. I’ve worked in Silicon Valley for over 20 years, designing and producing mobile apps, games, websites, on-site interactive experiences, and IoT device interfaces for Silicon Graphics, Motorola, Verizon, RIM, Nokia, the United Nations, Nest Labs, and countless top tier pop music artists.

I’ve taught courses in Interactive Audio Design and Production, Computer and Electronic Music, Composition and Theory, Ear Training, and Music History at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, U.C. Santa Cruz, and Ex’pression Center for New Media. My classical compositions have been performed by orchestras, chamber ensembles, and opera companies throughout the U.S. and Europe.

As a composer, producer, and sound designer, I have employed an understanding of psycho-acoustics, language, and the psychological and emotional impact of audio when creating user experiences. This kind of thinking has been particularly helpful when designing audio and voice interactions for Nest’s elegant, human products for the home.

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