Alexa Skills Kit    >    FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Alexa Skills Kit


What is an Alexa skill?

Skills are like apps for Alexa, enabling customers to perform everyday tasks or engage with your content and services naturally with voice. Alexa provides built-in functionality, such as timers and alarms, and you can use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to create skills for Alexa.

What is the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)?

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs and tools for making Alexa skills. With the Alexa Skills Kit, you can deliver experiences in gaming, productivity, news, music, smart home, and much more. Learn more about how the Alexa Skills Kit works and how to get started.

Can I build an Alexa skill without coding?

Yes, you can build an Alexa skill without coding. With Alexa Skill Blueprints, anyone can create and share customized Alexa skills simply by filling in the blanks to one of dozens of easy-to-use templates. This option is great for individuals who want to publish an Alexa skill either to their own devices or to the Alexa Skills Store for others to use. For brands and businesses with more specialized use cases, another option is to hire an agency to design and build your voice experience.


Building Alexa Skills

What are some ideas for an Alexa skill?

If you have an existing product such as a mobile app, game, or content service, you can build an Alexa skill to help reach new or existing customers or create a complementary experience on voice. You can also envision an entirely new experience with your Alexa skill. Games, music, flash briefings, videos, smart home control, and experiences for kids are just a few of the many use cases that you can build Alexa skills for. For ideas, you can browse use cases for Alexa skillsexplore the Alexa Skills Store, or check out our library of case studies.

What programming languages can I use to build an Alexa skill?

An Alexa skill can be built with any programming language that’s compatible with your cloud infrastructure. The Alexa Skills Kit includes software development kits (SDKs) for Node.js, Python, and Java that enable you to focus on your ideas, not boilerplate code.

How much does it cost to host an Alexa skill?

There are several ways for developers to host their Alexa skills for little to no cost. The fastest and easiest way to host your skill is by letting Alexa host it for you with Alexa-hosted skills, which is free for most skills up to the limits of the AWS Free Tier. Developers who choose to host their own skill using a personal Amazon Web Services (AWS) account can apply for AWS Promotional Credits for Alexa to defray some or all of the AWS usage charges for their skill.

I want to build an Alexa skill with the Alexa Skills Kit. Where do I start?

We offer self-service resources and tutorials for beginner skill developers. A good place to start is by understanding how skills work and how to get started, and checking out tutorials. Then, get deeper with these additional resources.


Reaching Customers with Alexa Skills

What locales can I build Alexa skills for?

Alexa skills are available in multiple locales. A locale is a combination of a language and a location. Currently, the following locales are supported for Alexa skills, and you can make a skill available in multiple locales:

  • English (AU) - English language in Australia and New Zealand
  • English (CA) - English language in Canada
  • English (IN) - English language in India
  • English (UK) - English language in the United Kingdom and Ireland
  • English (US) - English language in the United States
  • French (CA) - French language in Canada
  • French (FR) - French language in France
  • German (DE) - German language in Germany and Austria
  • Hindi (IN) - Hindi language in India
  • Italian (IT) - Italian language in Italy
  • Japanese (JP) - Japanese language in Japan
  • Portuguese (BR) - Portuguese language in Brazil
  • Spanish (ES) - Spanish language in Spain
  • Spanish (MX) - Spanish language in Mexico
  • Spanish (US) - Spanish language in the United States

Learn more about locale availability for Alexa skills.

What devices can customers use Alexa skills on?

Alexa customers can use Alexa skills on devices built by Amazon (including Fire TV Cube, Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Buds, and Echo Auto) and on third-party devices that are Alexa enabled. Customers worldwide have purchased hundreds of millions of Alexa devices, and building Alexa skills can help you expand your reach through these devices.

Can I make money with Alexa skills?

Yes, you can make money through Alexa skills. Use in-skill purchasing (ISP) to offer premium digital content to customers in your skills, sell physical goods and services through your skills with Amazon Pay, or get rewarded for building engaging skills through Alexa Developer Rewards. Learn more about making money with Alexa skills and building a voice business.

How do I market my Alexa skill?

Alexa skills can help you expand your reach to customers across the globe through hundreds of millions of Alexa devices. Once you’ve published your skill, there are multiple ways you can promote it to help reach more customers. Promote your skill on your own marketing channels, and help make your skill more likely to be promoted on Amazon’s marketing channels.


About the Technology

How do Alexa skills work?

An Alexa skill has both an interaction model—or voice user interface—and application logic. When a customer interacts with your skill, Alexa processes the customer’s speech in the context of your interaction model to determine the customer request. To do that, Alexa uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology, specifically automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU). Alexa then sends the request to your skill application logic, which acts on it. You provide your application logic as a cloud service hosted by Alexa, AWS, or another server. To learn more about how Alexa skills work and key concepts in voice design, check out our beginner tutorial for skill developers.

What is automatic speech recognition (ASR)?

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a technology topic that addresses the conversion of spoken words into text. In short, it’s the first step in enabling voice technologies like Amazon Alexa to respond when we ask, “Alexa, what’s it like outside?” Learn more about ASR.

What is natural language understanding (NLU)?

Natural language understanding (NLU) is a technology topic that describes how computers deduce what speakers actually mean, not just what words they say. NLU technology makes it possible for Alexa to infer, for example, that you're asking for a local weather forecast when you ask, "Alexa, what's it like outside?" Learn more about NLU.

What is a voice user interface (VUI)?

A voice user interface (VUI) allows people to use their voices to interact with computers and devices. Learn more about VUIs, and take our beginner tutorial to learn how to build a natural and engaging VUI.