Editor’s Note: This is an installment of a new series that showcases the top developer tips, tutorials, and educational resources to help you build incredible Alexa skills. Follow the series to learn, get inspired, and start building your own voice experiences for Alexa.
Voice is the most natural way to interact with technology, which is why developers are seizing the opportunity by creating game-changing voice innovations. The developer community has contributed tens of thousands of skills that enable a rich variety of scenarios including hands-free smart device control, on-demand content delivery, immersive adventure games, and more.
It’s incredible to see what developers at all levels are building for Alexa. But we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. Whether you’re new to voice design or looking to brush up on voice design basics, this post highlights our favorite resources to help you on your way as you start building your first skills for Alexa.
Voice Design Guide
In order to build an engaging voice experience and delight millions of customers, you first need to design a robust voice user interface (VUI). The Amazon Alexa Voice Design Guide is a great resource for first-time skill builders because it walks you through the design process, providing helpful tips and guidelines along the way. You’ll learn how to design a conversational voice experience and how to apply fundamental Alexa concepts like “intents," utterances,” and “slots” so you can translate your design into an Alexa skill. And be sure to reference the design checklist that’s included to help you design interactions that are useful, powerful, and enjoyable.
7 Tips for Building Standout Skills Your Customers Will Love
As you start your skill-building journey, it’s important to think about what makes a skill engaging for customers—and what keeps customers coming back over time. Reference one of our most popular resources in the Alexa Skill Builder’s Guide, “7 Tips for Building Standout Skills Your Customers Will Love,” to get a deep dive on the characteristics of highly engaging skills. We examined the skills that see the highest consistent customer engagement to develop these tips.
Voice Design 101: An Introduction
See voice design in action by watching this on-demand webinar on Voice Design 101. Watch as two Alexa evangelists explain how voice design works and share the key design principles for Alexa skills. Tune in to see how they apply these concepts as they design a skill from scratch. This is your opportunity to get inside the minds of skill builders and see core voice design principles at work.
Set Clear Expectations on What Your Alexa Skill Can Do
For most people, interacting with a graphical user interface with screen-based visual prompts has become commonplace. These interfaces visually guide users as they interact with the application. When customers first invoke your Alexa skill using voice, the interaction is screenless; therefore, your skill must provide just the right amount of information about how to interact with your skill. Also, setting expectations for user upfront about what your skill can do is important to ensure you’re meeting their expectations. Reference this blog post for examples for how to design your skill invocations and responses for a highly engaging voice experience.
How to Adapt Your Skill's Responses Based on Usage Patterns
When building your skill, think about how your interactions with your customers will change over time based on skill usage. To ensure your customers’ conversations with Alexa feel personal, you’ll want to keep track of how often they’re using your skill and freshen up Alexa’s responses and welcome message to keep repeat users engaged. Check out this blog post to learn about how you can adapt your skill responses to make your voice interactions more personal.
Add Dynamic Content to Your Skill to Keep Users Engaged Over Time
Similar to adapting skill responses based on usage patterns, you can also add dynamic content to your skill to ensure users will want to keep interacting with your skill again and again. Rather than hardcoding your skill’s data directly into the skill for every response, set up your skill so that it pulls its data from an external source, like a website or a database. Learn how to apply this functionality in this blog post.
Free Alexa Skills Training Courses
One of the best ways to learn a new technology is by doing. The new Alexa series on Codecademy is designed to do just that. The course walks you through the skill-building process step-by-step, and explains skill-building concepts along the way. Join the introductory courses on Codecademy, and check out all of the available Alexa skills training courses to learn from others who’ve built for Alexa.
Stay tuned in to the rest of the series for additional posts featuring resources for advanced skill builders, smart home skills, skills for devices with screens, and kid skills. Then, tell us about what you’re building for voice with Alexa. Tweet us using the hashtag #AlexaPioneers.
Build a New Skill, Earn Developer Perks
Bring your big idea to life with Alexa and earn perks through our tiered rewards system. US developers, publish a skill in December and receive an Alexa developer hoodie. If 100 customers use your skill in its first 30 days in the Alexa Skills Store, you can also apply to receive a free Echo Dot to help you make Alexa even smarter. If you need inspiration, consider creating a holiday-themed skill to get into the holiday spirit. If you're not in the US, check out our promotions in the UK, Germany, and India. Learn more about our promotion and start building today.