Alexa Design Guide

When we communicate with each other, we use a series of nonverbal, verbal, and visual signs— sometimes on their own, sometimes in concert together. This can be as simple as an “mmhm” to let someone know we're listening to them or layered with body language, such as lively hand gestures. As Alexa has developed, so too has her ability to communicate in these same robust ways. Alexa uses any available nonverbal, verbal, and visual means to communicate, whether it's audio cues, her voice, a light ring, or a screen. As Alexa is integrated across a range of devices with different capabilities, her ability to communicate has only become richer because of it.

Illustration of two people in conversation. On the left is a man listening to a woman speaking and gesturing towards him on the right. Between them a wave represents the flow of conversation between them.

Sound, voice, and visuals are at the heart of designing for Alexa across devices. The Alexa Design Guide is a shared repository of sound, voice, visual, and device best practices, patterns, and guidelines that should be used in building innovative Alexa-enabled experiences.

Tenets

Voice forward multimodal design

Illustration of an Alexa screen and a sound wave with the alexa light ring to the left


Designing for Alexa, while inherently a voice first experience, takes full advantage of the multiple ways Alexa can communicate with customers across devices. There are multiple layers of communication available to you to design with such as:

  • Alexa's voice
  • Screen
  • Audio cues
  • Touch cues
  • Alexa app

These nonverbal, verbal, and visual means to communicate are available to a customer at any given moment, in order to deliver a complete, intuitive, and delightful experience across all available devices.

Foundation for makers

Illustration of an Alexa screen and a crane holding a cloud representing Alexa cloud




You have access to a library of reusable components, layouts, and styles to accelerate building and ensure a cohesive Alexa experience. Backed by code, these are the building blocks of the Alexa design system. You can design your skills using these core elements and know that it will automatically work everywhere.

One Alexa across devices

Illustration of different sized Alexa screens including a television, square Echo device, and round Echo device



Alexa is a single personality that is coherent and familiar to customers across all skills, devices and installations. While Alexa may have specialized capabilities specific to a type of device, she behaves predictably and with familiarity in all situations. You can design and build a single voice-optimized experience that automatically scales and adapts to every Alexa device while leveraging each device to create tailored customer experiences where appropriate.

Getting started

Alexa is a voice service with a personality modeled after human characteristics, allowing her to speak directly with our customers in a familiar and conversational manner.

Alexa's relationship with customers is powerful, made more so by the skills you create. This guide was written for you to quickly create more familiar, consistent, and delightful customer experiences across Alexa. In this guide, you'll find the current set of current patterns and best practices so you can spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time inventing for your skills.

The Alexa Design Guide is divided into three areas:

Foundation

Understand the basics of voice, visuals, and how they work together. Learn more

Design

Design compelling customer experiences with these guidelines. Learn more

Resources

Find helpful references, links, and guides to answer your questions as you design your skill.

Additional packages

In this Design Guide, we include recommendations that reference properties which are not part of core APL, for example certain color resources, text styles, image border parameters, and layouts. These are available in packages we have created using the APL specification, specifically the Styles, Viewport, and Layout packages, which are available for you to use. Please refer to the information on importing document properties for implementation details.

Updates

Illustration of multiple cactus plants symbolizing the living resource of docs.

The Alexa Design Guide is a living resource and will be updated as new components and guidance are made publicly available. Check back here regularly for updates.

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