Here at Amazon, we work to enable you to develop interactive, voice-driven technology. And one way we do that is by building powerful Alexa-enabled user experiences that are engaging customers in an all-new way. We’re excited to announce that one of our newest devices, Echo Show, has been named the Silver Award winner at the 2017 UX Awards, which showcases the best in future-oriented user experiences and design.
The UX Awards inspire technologists to create human-centered products that solve customer challenges through innovative products and user-centered design. Amazon is incredibly honored to receive this award, and it reaffirms our belief that multi-modal interfaces for Alexa are helping redefine how we interact with technology through voice.
We designed Echo Show so that the screen augments and enhances what Alexa skills offer to customers. You can complement your skill interactions with imagery, blocks of text, video, list navigation and selection, touch input, and more using our visual templates and skill directives.
Since customers can choose whether to speak or listen, see or touch, or combinations of all, you’ll want to spend the extra time to define the right experience. Follow our tips to enhance your skills and build multi-modal experiences with voice.
Tips for Building Multi-Modal Skills for Alexa
All published Alexa skills are automatically available on Echo Show. Skills will also display any skill cards you currently return in your response objects. However, we recommend that you update your skill with our display templates in order to optimize the experience of your skill for Echo Show. Here are some tips to help you start building multi-modal capabilities for Alexa skills:
Design voice-first experiences: Voice remains the primary means of interacting with Alexa, even on the Echo Show. Design your skill so customers can engage with it from across the kitchen or even when they can’t easily see it. Make the primary content of each template visible and recognizable from up to 7 feet away. If your skill requires a screen to be used effectively, you should create a voice interaction that tells customers on non-screen devices how to interact.
Show screens that complement voice: For each response in your skill, create a screen that matches the content and allows appropriate voice and touch actions for selection, scrolling, video control, and navigation. When displaying text, keep the messages short and to the point for quick reading. Make it similar though not necessarily the same as the text-to-speech (TTS) output so that it reinforces rather than duplicates what the skill is saying.
For all images and video, make sure the sizes are such that they load quickly. Blur background images lightly and apply a black (#000000) layer set at 70% opacity to allow text to be easily read.
To create screens that enhance the use of voice, use the templates we have provided. They make it easy to offer visual output that supports and enhances the voice-first experience of your skill.
Get inspired: Allrecipes, Bloomberg, Uber, Jeopardy, and other skills have been updated to take advantage of the device capabilities. Enable and use them to experience how the screen makes great experiences even better.
Follow these tips to start building multi-modal voice interfaces for Alexa and create the next great innovation in user-centered voice experiences.
Learn More about Creating Skills for Echo Show
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 November, 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.