The companion app for Alexa customers to set up devices, change settings, and see the displayed output from interactions with Alexa.
A device that provides access to the Alexa service. Examples include Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Echo Show, and devices made by other manufacturers that use the Alexa Voice Service.
Alexa service / Alexa
The cloud-based voice service that powers Alexa-enabled devices made by Amazon or other manufacturers. You can give Alexa new abilities by creating your own cloud-based service that accepts requests from Alexa and returns responses.
A word or phrase that refers back to something earlier in a sentence or conversation. This may be a pronoun such as his, hers, it, that and other words, but anaphors can also be longer phrases. The meaning of the word or phrase comes from the context established earlier in the conversation. Contextual carryover utterances frequently include anaphors.
Information that is run through visual markup language in order to display it on screen in accompaniment to the voice interaction.
A card displayed in the Alexa app with information about the skill and how to use it. Customers can review detail cards and enable the skills they want. You enter most of the information displayed on the detail card on the Launch Your Skill page.
The message delivered to a customer when an utterance or technical error occurs during a dialog.
A phrase showing customers what they need to say to begin using your custom skill. You'll enter these phrases in the Distribution tab of the developer console. The phrases must also be included in your list of Sample utterances.
When the customer says a command like exit or stop to end the interaction.
The message delivered when a customer asks the skill to stop/exit or when the conversation with the skill comes to a natural end.
A prompt that repeats back what Alexa heard and explicitly asks the customer to confirm whether they were correct. For example, Alexa, ask Astrology Daily for my horoscope. Alexa would respond with, You wanted a horoscope from Astrology Daily, right?
false accept error
When Alexa has mid to high confidence in understanding what the customer said, but actually misunderstands and uses an utterance that doesn't match.
full intent invocation
A customer's request that contains all information Alexa needs to make the request actionable. For example, Alexa, ask History Buff what happened on June 3rd.
graphical user interface (GUI)
A method for people to interact with and control computers and devices through visual indicators such as icons and imagery instead of using a command-line interface.
The message delivered to a customer who either asks the skill for help or reaches an error message too many consecutive times. A high-level help message delivers information about the skill and its features that includes similar information as the first-time welcome message. Contextual help messages are delivered when the customer is trying to use a specific feature or is stuck on a certain task or prompt.
A text string that represents an action or utterance that a customer can say while engaging with your skill.
A prompt that subtly repeats back what Alexa heard to give the customer assurance that they were correctly understood. In the following example, repeating back the word horoscope is a landmarking technique used to establish trust with the customer but still supports natural dialog.
For example, Alexa, ask Astrology Daily for my horoscope. Alexa would then ask to clarify the request with, Horoscope for what sign?
A representation of the action that fulfills a customer's spoken request. Intents can have further arguments called slots that represent variable information. For example, Alexa, ask History Buff what happened on June third. In this statement, …what happened on June third maps to a specific intent that can be handled by a particular Alexa ability. This tells Alexa that the user wants the skill History Buff to get historical information on a specific date.
An exchange of information in conversational format between the user and Alexa. This may be a single request-response, or a more extended set of turns.
When the interaction between Alexa and the customer is interrupted by another event. Examples of interruptions are alarms and timers going off while the customer is talking to Alexa.
The act of beginning an interaction with a particular Alexa ability. For example, if a customer wants to wake Alexa to use the Horoscope skill, Alexa, ask Horoscope for today's reading. Alexa then follows up after the invocation and asks, What horoscope sign would you like?
A name that represents the skill that the user wants to use. The user says a supported phrase in combination with the invocation name for a skill to begin interacting with that skill. For example, Alexa, ask History Buff what happened on June third. In this example, History Buff is the invocation name for a skill that retrieves historical events. Note that smart home skills don't have invocation names.
A visual template which describes how components are placed within the screen boundaries or space allocated to Alexa on any device. You can define a layout one time and use it in multiple places within an APL document.
link account card
A special type of card (LinkAccount) displayed in the Alexa App that tells the user to link their account. The user can start the account linking process right from this card. A custom skill can respond with this card if a user who has not linked their account tries to invoke an intent that requires authentication.
low confidence errors
When Alexa has low confidence in understanding what the customer said and proceeds either without requesting clarification or ends in the interaction.
Conversational markers, or cues, are words or sentence clauses that indicate the status of a dialog to a customer. For example, “First,” “Next,” “I'll need some information from you,” etc.
max error condition
When consecutive dialogue errors occur, this terminates the interaction and is designed to keep Alexa from making the same mistake repeatedly.
menu style prompt
A prompt that asks the customer a question intended to elicit a response from a small set of possible options (recommended 5 or fewer). For example, Helper for Minecraft. You can ask for a recipe, the ingredients of a potion, or game instructions. Now, which would you like?
Describes an interface which has at least a voice and screen-based experience. Each input changes the way a customer can interact with the experience, but the two should work together fluidly.
no intent invocation
A customer's request with no intent or slot information. For example, Alexa, open History Buff.
When the customer takes an action that requires Alexa to inform them at a later time that an event is occurring or about to occur. The most common examples of this are alarms and timers. A notification can occur if nothing else is going on at all, or they also can occur in the form of an interruption while the customer is interacting with Alexa. In this case, the notification is delivered between turns during an interaction.
open ended prompt
A prompt that asks the customer a question intended to elicit a wide range of responses. For example, What would you like to do?
A slot that contains values that refine the user's request, but are not necessary for Alexa to complete the task. For example, Alexa, ask History Buff what happened in history on June third. Here, …June third is optional since History Buff can just give historical events for today if the user does not specify a date. As such, you should not ask the user for optional slot values if they exclude them.
partial intent invocation
A customer's request that contains the customer's intent, but is missing a required slot. For example, Alexa, ask Horoscope for today's reading. Here, the required zodiac sign is missing, and Alexa needs to obtain that information from the customer.
A set of parameters that you can specify to change the default behavior or appearance of a component or response.
A special kind of prompt used by Alexa when a response is not heard or clearly understandable, usually in the form of a question after a dialog error has occurred. The general purpose of a re-prompt is to help the customer recover from errors. For example, Alexa, open Score Keeper. Welcome back to Score Keeper. What's your update?
In this case, if the customer doesn't respond, Alexa would continue with helpful tips. For example, You can add points for a player, ask for the current score, or start a new game. To hear a list of everything you can do, say Help. Now, what would you like to do?
A slot that contains values that are necessary for Alexa to complete the user's request. For example, Alexa, ask Astrology Daily for the horoscope for Taurus. Without the name of the specific zodiac sign, Astrology Daily cannot provide a horoscope. If the user does not provide a value for a required slot, you must ask the user for that slot value.
A structured string of text that connects a specific intent to a likely utterance. You provide a set of sample utterances as part of your interaction model for a custom skill. When customers say one of these utterances, the Alexa service sends a request to your service that includes the corresponding intent.
A set of actions or tasks that are accomplished by Alexa. Skills are like apps for Alexa, helping customers perform everyday tasks or engage with your content naturally with voice. Alexa provides built-in functionality, such as timers and alarms. You can use the Alexa Skills Kit to create skills for Alexa. A skill includes both the code, in the form of a cloud-based service, and the configuration provided on the developer console.
An argument to an intent that gives Alexa more information about that request. For example, Alexa, ask History Buff what happened on June third. In this statement, …June third is the value of a date slot that refines the request. For a given intent, slots can be required or optional. To designate slots as required and let Alexa manage the conversation to collect the slot values, create a dialog model and then delegate the dialog to Alexa.
Visual attributes and assets which control the look and feel of the Alexa experience. All components, layouts, and patterns inherit these values. Styles are delivered within themes and devices can expose multiple themes such as day and night mode.
Occurs when something unexpected happened, unrelated to the dialogue between the customer and Alexa. For example, the call for a data service used to get the information the customer requested was unable to send Alexa that information.
One of the words a user can say to tell Alexa to invoke a particular custom skill. This is used in combination with the invocation name for the skill. For example, Alexa, tell Color Expert that my favorite color is red. There are several phrases users can say to start a conversation with Alexa. See Understanding How Users Invoke Custom Skills.
A document that expresses the arrangement and display of visual components.
Converts a string of text to synthesized speech (Alexa's voice). The Alexa service can take plain text for TTS conversion.
timeouts/silence/no response errors
When the customer does not respond to a question Alexa asked. A re-prompt is usually played to encourage the customer to respond.
A touch on an Alexa-enabled device with a screen that produces a specified response, such as touching an item in a list on the screen to see more information about the item.
A single request to or a response from Alexa. Sometimes turn refers to only the request side of a conversation, for example:
Alexa, open Horoscope. What horoscope sign would you like? Pisces. Today's horoscope for Pisces is…
This example might be referred to as a two-turn interaction, rather than the 4 turns that it technically contained.
A voice-optimized multimodal concept where the GUI is optimized for voice. This means that buttons, links, and other touch affordances are replaced by voice-friendly affordances like action hints.
voice user interface (VUI)
A method for people to use voice input to interact with and control computers and devices. For a custom skill, the voice interface consists of a mapping between users' spoken utterances and the intents your cloud-based service can handle. See Interaction Model Schemas.
A command that the customer says to start speaking with Alexa. For example, Alexa, open History Buff. Here, Alexa is the wake word. Alexa customers can select from a defined set of wake words: Alexa, Amazon, Echo, and Computer.
The message delivered when a customer invokes a skill without a request. For example, Alexa, open Horoscope. Alexa would respond with a welcome message, such as: Welcome back to Horoscope. Which sign would you like to hear a daily horoscope for?
A first time welcome message introduces the customer to the skill and provides a few commands the customer can use in that skill. A return welcome message greets the customer and prompts for a widely used task or required piece of information to continue the conversation.