Ideation station: How to come up with ideas for your Alexa voice skill

Helen Hasbun Dec 08, 2022
Alexa Skills

Today, there are more than one million registered developers, brands, and device makers building with Alexa. These developers are building new experiences to connect with the rapidly growing number of customers.

On a daily basis, we see developers build voice skills for customers across a wide variety of categories: from music and games to lifestyle, education and health. One of the questions we get from developers relates to the best ways for coming up with ideas for a new Alexa skill. In this article, we will provide tips that will help you come up with ideas for creating voice skills that will resonate with customers. We’ve seen high demand from customers for skills in a wide variety of categories such as music, games, education, humor, productivity, and experiences developed for smart vehicles.

No matter the skill category, here are three steps to develop ideas for skills that keep customers coming back again and again. 

  1. Build for voice: Before anything, you should ask yourself the question: Would the idea I have make for a great voice-forward experience for customers? Customers love interacting with skills where a hands-on display experience is not ideal — think of a quiz game that you want to play along with your family members, or a skill developed for a car, where you want customers to stay focused on the road. We’ve also found that experiences that involve multitasking are ideal for voice skills — for example, a skill that calls a cab while customers are packing, or a skill that allows customers to listen to the latest podcasts while they are cooking. 

  2. Improve on the existing experience: In addition to conceptualizing what would make for a great voice-forward experience, also consider how your skill up-levels the way customers perform an existing task. For example, if they get their weather via an app on their phone, how can your voice skill improve on that experience? If your business offers a service (bookings, deliveries, entertainment), how does your skill improve on that service?

  3. Conduct user research: Finally, as you come up with ideas, ask people — friends, family and people in your world -- if they’d find it useful. Feedback in the ideation phase is crucial. Even at this stage, you should be able to communicate a clear purpose of the skill and benefits to potential customers. Craft an elevator pitch for your skill — you should be able to explain the benefits of the skill in less than three sentences. 

You can visit the Alexa Design Guide to get best practices and recommendations, as well as examples and assets that will help you craft compelling experiences for your customers. These actionable tips draw on years of customer feedback, and will and help you create a high-quality skill.

There is always opportunity to set yourself apart with design and innovation. We are happy to further brainstorm with you! Reach out on SlackContact Us, or join us in our weekly developer office hours on Twitch

Once you have your skill idea, review the different skill types to understand your design and format options. Then, when you’re ready, get started with skill building here

Recommended Reading

Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) Overview
Use the Developer Console to create a skill for an app or website (No code)
Take flight with Alexa Conversations