Design for Alexa On-the-Go

Alexa enables customers with an Amazon account to intelligently explore and navigate the world no matter which mode of mobility they’re in. Whether by foot, bike, car, train, bus, or plane; Alexa can adapt to the device and environment. This allows for experiences that can be personalized and proactive through such features as location services and event based triggers.

Location services

With location services, your skill can ask a customer's permission to obtain the real-time location of their Alexa-enabled device, specifically at the time of the customer's request to Alexa, so that the skill can provide enhanced services. When a customer enables a skill that requests to use location services, the Alexa app prompts the customer to consent to share their location data with the skill. Customers can visit Alexa Privacy Settings in the Alexa app at any time to manage their skill permissions.

The following illustration shows how the location services feature works to coordinate between Alexa, the user device, and the skill.

Event based triggers
This figure shows how the location services features works to coordinate between Alexa, the customer device, and the skill.

For details about how to add location services to your skill, see Use Location Services for Alexa Skills in the developer documentation.

Event-based triggers

One way to help you design an on-the-go experience is to use event-based triggers. With event-based triggers, Alexa can be aware of a customer’s approximate location and current activity, such as walking, jogging, running, or driving. These triggers enable Alexa to initiate proactive suggestions based on the customer's activity or whereabouts. You can create experiences, such as a customer getting a proactive suggestion when their order is ready at the grocery store, or starting a run and getting a suggestion for a workout playlist. For more details, sign up for the event-based triggers interest list. 

Best practices

  • Choose the right modality for the moment– Customers on the go have to balance their attention between Alexa and their surrounding environment, especially while on foot. Prioritize the information you want to convey in speech and try to keep prompts short. Consider which information is better received in speech in that moment versus a visual format that can be retrieved later. For example, reporting the full details of a workout in speech is lengthy and hard to parse. Some elements, like the route taken, are also better suited to visual interfaces. Select the most popular or critical information to say to the customer as they complete their workout. Defer the rest to the Alexa app, where the customer can retrieve the information at-will later.
  • Allow easy pause and resume functions– Customers on foot are more likely to get distracted. They can be crossing a road, stopping to chat to a friend, or talking to a barista at the coffee shop. Provide experiences that the customer can pause immediately and resume easily.
  • Confirmations over multiturn menus– While presenting many options to a customer might allow the customer to complete a more involved task, avoid doing so while the customer is driving. Minimize the customer's cognitive load by using confirmations (yes or no responses) and hints to interact (e.g. "Alexa, tell me more."), rather than menus that require the customer to remember multiple options.