Flash Briefing Skill Certification Checklist

This checklist helps you prepare your flash briefing skill to pass the certification process. Prior to submitting your skill for certification, make sure that the content, images, URLs, and descriptions meet Amazon's policy, content and security guidelines. In addition, you should thoroughly test your skill's functionality.

Policy Guidelines

The policy guidelines help maintain a trusted experience for customers from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Adherence to these guidelines protects copyrights and guards the privacy and security of Alexa users.

Verify that you are not violating copyrights
Verify that all content is original and owned by you (or your company), or you (or your company) have the right to distribute the content.
Verify that all aspects of your skill meet the Alexa policy guidelines
Review the Alexa policy guidelines. Verify that the following all comply with the guidelines:
  • Skill name, image, and descriptions
  • Feed content
  • URL destination pages

Content Guidelines

A flash briefing skill is intended to give a customer a quick overview of news and content that is important to them. Because of this, your skill must comply with Amazon's content guidelines.

  • Verify that your flash briefing skill does not emulate an audio book experience.
  • Verify that your flash briefing skill does not emulate a music streaming service.
  • Verify that none of the feeds in your flash briefing skill emulate an audio book experience.
  • Verify that none of the feeds in your flash briefing skill emulate a music streaming service.

Security Guidelines

Customer trust is important to Amazon. To protect customer data, your flash briefing skill must meet Amazon’s security requirements.

  • Verify that you are using HTTPS where required. URLs for content links must use HTTPS, however we recommend that all URLs in your skill use HTTPS.

  • If you include a URL for a privacy policy or terms of use page, verify that the page content loads when the URL is visited. Verify that the page does not redirect to another site, contain malware or viruses, or download a file.

  • If you include a URL to appear in the feed when Alexa reads or plays your content, verify that the page content loads when the URL is visited. Verify that the page does not redirect to another site, contain malware or viruses, or download a file.

Format Guidelines

Each feed you include in your flash briefing skill must be properly formatted JSON or XML/RSS. For format details, see the Flash Briefing Skill API Feed Reference. Before you submit your skill for certification, check for the following common formatting errors:

  • Verify that your text-to-speech (TTS) content does not contain any special characters such as HTML, XML, SSML tags or nonstandard punctuation.
  • Verify that all required item elements, such as date and unique ID, are present.
  • Verify that the date entries for your feed items accurately reflect the date of the content. Older items maybe be ignored by Alexa.
  • Verify that your JSON or XML is formatted properly with the correct opening and closing brackets, and no extra characters.
  • For audio feeds, verify that the URL for the feed audio uses HTTPS.

Functional Tests

Skills that operate as expected are important to Amazon. Verify that the description that appears the Alexa app accurately describes the skill and its feeds. Perform functional tests of your flash briefing skill to verify that when enabled, Alexa reads or plays the feed as expected.

In the developer console

Log in to the developer console and perform the following tests:

  • Listen to the error message for your skill by using the arrow button. Verify that the error message is understandable and accurately refers to this content skill.
  • Listen to the preamble for each feed by using the arrow buttons. Verify that the preamble is understandable, starts with "in" or "from", is free from errors, and correctly identifies the feed.

In the Alexa app

Access Alexa on your mobile device, fire tablet or on the web at http://alexa.amazon.com, and perform the following tests:

View your skill in the list of skills

  • Read the name of the skill. Verify that it does not contain errors and reflects the purpose of the skill.
  • Read the short description. Verify that it is in the same language that your skill targets, does not contain errors, and accurately describes the content provided by the skill.

Select your skill and read its full description

  • Verify that the description is in the same language your skill targets, does not contain errors, and accurately describes the content provided by the skill.
  • Verify that the description includes a list of all the feeds that your skill offers.
  • Verify that the description identifies the default feed for your skill.

Enable the skill and each feed and ask Alexa for your flash briefing

  • Verify that you hear the correct preamble for each feed.
  • Verify that Alexa reads or plays the feed correctly. Alexa might ignore older items.
  • Verify that Alexa reads or plays the feed content in the same language that your skill targets.
  • View the home card for the feed as it plays. Verify that the content displayed in the home card is related to the feed content that is playing.

For audio feeds

For guidelines for audio feeds, see Tips for Audio Clip Content and Audio Content Requirements.

  • If your feed contains multiple items, ask for the next and previous items in the skill language. Verify that Alexa moves between items as expected.
  • Verify that the audio for each audio clip is a similar loudness to Alexa's voice. For more information, see Normalizing the Loudness of Audio Content.
  • Visit the links in the home card and verify that they navigate without error to content specific to the current feed or the general website for the content provider. Links to unrelated content do not meet certification requirements.
  • Verify that the related content is readable on small and large screens.

For text feeds

For guidelines on how to create text that is suitable for text-to-speech (TTS), see Tips for Text-to-Speech (TTS) Content.

  • Verify that the feed is understandable when Alexa reads it.
  • Verify that each feed item does not exceed 4,500 characters. Your content is truncated to the nearest sentence under 4,500 characters if it does.

Next Steps

After you have submitted your flash briefing skill for certification, Certification appears in the Status column in the developer console. While your skill is being certified, you can't edit its configuration. If you need to stop the certification process, select your skill and then choose Withdraw from Certification.

After Amazon reviews your skill, you receive an email at the address associated with your developer account.

  • If your skill is certified, the email provides an estimate for when it will become available to end users.
  • If your skill is not certified, the email provides information about the issues you need to correct. You can make any necessary changes and then re-submit.