The Alexa skills catalog is home to more than 10,000 skills thanks to our amazing developer community. As most you know, every Alexa skill submitted to Amazon undergoes a certification process prior to being published in our public catalog.
To help you navigate the certification process, let me share its main purpose and requirements, the top issues we're seeing, and some helpful reference material.
All certified skills meet our requirements for policy, security, functionality, and voice interface and user experience. These certification requirements help us maintain a high quality bar for our catalog. It also ensures that the third-party skills our customers consume on Alexa-enabled devices are safe and work well.
These certification requirements are specified in our technical documentation and certification checklist. We encourage you to save this link and reference it often as you develop your skills and prepare to submit them to Amazon. Doing this should help with a smooth certification review and get your skill published within our seven-business-day SLA.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
Sixty-five percent of skill submissions run into issues based on a handful of simple requirements. Here are some tips and resources to help you avoid these common pitfalls.
- Example phrases: As part of your skill submission, you provide three example phrases which are displayed to users when they find your skill in the Alexa companion app. We like to think of this set of phrases as a starter guide on how to use a skill. For accurate Alexa speech recognition and to meet certification requirements, example phrases need to be modeled exactly like the sample utterances in your interaction model. Please refer to these tips on reviewing and testing example phrases.
- Invocation names: Invocation names are required for custom skills and this is how customers engage with a specific skill. Please take a look at the invocation name requirements to make sure your invocation name works well with Alexa.
- IP infringement: As you can imagine, we have strict rules against IP infringement. In the event you are asked to confirm IP ownership, send us an email with a signed confirmation letter or license. Be sure to include your skill name and ID.
- Session management: Every response sent from your skill to the Alexa service includes a flag that indicates whether the conversation (i.e., session) should stay open or be closed. If your skill prompts the user for a reply, the conversation should stay open. Please see our guide on session management for more details, and check that your session flag is set appropriately.
- Help intent: When users ask for help, the skill response should provide helpful instructions about the core functionality of the skill. In addition, the dialog should end with a question (and open session) for users to start using the skill. Please refer to our tips on error handling.
That said, if you think we might misunderstand something about the implementation of your skill, please be sure to let us know through the testing instructions field in the developer console.
Of course, if you run into any issues, we're here to help. In our feedback email, you will find a summary of issues we've identified, step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce each issue (when needed), and guidance to address them. If you have any questions, you can always reach us through our contact form.
We Value Your Feedback
Voice User Interface (VUI) design is an exciting field. As we learn more about this burgeoning space and explore the realm of possibilities, we will update our processes and requirements. I'll share news and updates as they happen, aiming to be responsive, consistent, and transparent along the way. We’d love your feedback throughout the process – please send us your thoughts on the Alexa certification process any time using our contact form.