Build an engaging flight search skill with the Alexa Conversations Description Language (ACDL)

Staff Writer Nov 10, 2022
Alexa Skills

Build an engaging flight search skill with the Alexa Conversations Description Language (ACDL)

Alexa Conversations creates natural voice experiences on Alexa and enhances your code with machine learning. It gives skills the conversational memory to sustain long, two-way interactions between Alexa and the user—in turn allowing you to build skills that respond to a wide range of phrases and unexpected paths.

An especially promising use case for building with Alexa Conversations is online travel booking. Recent research predicts online flight bookings in the US will see double-digit growth after 2022. Alexa skills can make search queries and purchases even simpler, all without navigating a dozen tabs or multiple confusing interfaces.

This tutorial helps you learn the technical concepts of the Alexa Conversations Descriptions Language (ACDL) and guides you through the details of designing a multimodal experience called Flight Search.

After completing the course, you will come away with a toolkit to craft your own unique skill and gain insights relevant to both beginners and advanced developers alike.

What you’ll learn in the Flight Search tutorial

The Flight Search tutorial covers principles of ACDL and Alexa Conversations while developing a skill in real time. With these tools, you will move through all the steps of building a functional voice interface that assists users in selecting the cheapest flight options based on a series of questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at each module of the tutorial:

  • Lab one teaches you how to set up the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) for ACDL. In order to complete this portion, you will first need an Amazon developer account and an AWS account to host your skills on AWS Lambda.
  • Lab two addresses all the main components of ACDL, including how to set up your developer environment. In this stage, you’ll also get an overview of Alexa Conversations and how it handles deviating parameters. Instead of only evaluating answers from pre-set limits of questions and response combinations, Alexa Conversations lets you include multiple paths and inputs to facilitate complex interactions. Now, you’ve got the necessary background to start building Flight Search in lab three.
  • Lab three shows you exactly what it takes to create the Flight Search skill—right down to the details In a step-by-step guide, you’ll move all the way from adding APIs and utterances to testing your completed skill. Each step provides context and instructions to ensure you understand both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of every concept.
  • Lab four extends your skill’s response by adding visuals. To do so, you’ll incorporate Alexa Presentation Language (APL), the design framework that allows you to add graphics, images, slideshows, and videos to your skills. By integrating an APL template into Flight Search, you’ll unlock ways to connect with audiences on a variety of APL-supported devices such as the Echo Show.

After you complete the tutorial’s four modules, you can review even more resources about Alexa Conversations in the wrap-up section. But it doesn’t stop there. Keep the conversation going and provide your feedback with the community at or on Twitter at @alexadevs.

Use Alexa Conversations to engage customers and build your next skill today.

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About Alexa Conversations Decription Language
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