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Alexa Skills Kit in the UK

Teach Alexa a new skill and reach millions of customers
UK Alexa Events

30 January 2018 Alexa Skills 201 Newcastle
20 February 2018 Alexa Skills 101 London

Find us at

Waracle and ScottishPower Meet-Up - 24 Jan Glasgow
Alexa Devs Meetup: London
Alexa Devs Meetup: Dublin

Learning resources

Check out our first Alexa skill-building course for Ruby developers Start Learning
Build your first skill or check out our brand new advanced Alexa courses on Codecademy Start Learning
Check out our latest webinar How to Build a Standout Alexa Skill
Explore our training resources
Or check out our recorded webinars:
Intro to Alexa Skills Kit
Voice Design Kit
Intro to Smart Home

What's New?

Check out our Tips on Promoting Your Alexa Skill
Learn About New Ways to Make Money With Your Alexa Skills
Announcing New Test Simulator for Alexa Skills
Introducing Alexa for Business
Alexa Fun Goes Abroad With Up To $100 Million in New Global Investments
Enter our contest to create the Alexa Grand Tour Skill and be in with a chance of winning a New York City adventure
Publish a UK Skill Earn Alexa Swag

What is an Alexa skill?

Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now thousands of skills available in the UK from brands like The Guardian, Just Eat, Jamie Oliver and Hive, as well as innovative designers and developers.


What is the Alexa Skills Kit?

With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that make it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.

You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can also apply to receive AWS promotional credits.

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Why Build Skills?

Get in Early

Natural user interfaces, such as those based on speech, represent the next major disruption in computing. With Alexa, you can take advantage of this new form of interaction.

Reach More Customers

Engage with your customers through voice on devices with Alexa including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire TV devices, and all devices powered by the Alexa Voice Service.

Create Engaging Experiences

Delight your audience with a completely new way to interact with your service. Customers don't need to use their hands; all they have to do is ask Alexa.

Gain Expertise in Voice Design

The Alexa Skills Kit is a low-friction way to learn to build for voice. Create your first Alexa skill and add a valuable new skill to your developer toolkit. You can get a prototype up and running in just a few hours.

Scale in the Cloud

You can use your existing cloud-based service to get started. Or you can leverage AWS Lambda, which makes it easy to build a cloud-based service that responds quickly to a voice request.

Build for Free

ASK is free to use and AWS Lambda is free for the first one million calls per month. And Alexa skill developers can apply to receive AWS promotional credits to be put toward their Alexa skills.

Learn What You Can Build with ASK

ASK supports command-oriented skills as well as sophisticated multi-command dialogues and parameter passing. You can build the following types of skills with ASK.

Custom Skills

These skills can handle just about any type of request. You define the requests the skill can handle (intents) and the words your customers say to invoke those requests (utterances). Check out our step-by-step guide on building a custom skill. Learn more >>

Smart Home Skills

With these skills, customers can control cloud-enabled smart-home devices like lights and thermostats. The Smart Home Skill API defines the requests the skill can handle (device directives) and the words customers say to invoke those requests (utterances). Learn more >>

Flash Briefing Skills

These skills provide original content for customers’ flash briefings. The Flash Briefing Skill API defines the words customers say to invoke the flash briefing or news request (utterances) and the format of the content so that Alexa can provide it to the customer. Learn more >>

Video Skills

With these skills, your customers can easily find and consume video content without invoking a specific skill. The Video Skill API is available at the same top level that Alexa uses to build video experiences on Fire TV. Learn more >>

Get Started

Log in to our developer portal to start building your skill.

Design a Rich Voice Experience

A successful Alexa skill starts with well-designed voice user interface (VUI). Engaging voice experiences are based on natural language and the fundamentals of human conversation. Check out the Amazon Alexa Voice Design Guide and watch Voice Design 101 to learn how to design for the ear, not for the eye.

If you are building a custom skill, create a framework to map user requests to intents your service can handle. And build out sample phrases so that your skill responds to user intents.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Looking for skill ideas? Consider designing a game skill. Twenty percent of our top skills are games like Jeopardy! and Animal Game.

With our tool and source code, you can graphically design interactive adventure games for Alexa. You can also design and build decision-tree skills and trivia skills with ASK. Get started >>

Build and Host Your Skill in the Cloud

Alexa is based in the cloud so she’s always getting smarter and customers never have to download updates to your skill. You can set up your skills in AWS Lambda or another cloud-based hosting service. AWS Lambda is free for the first one million calls per month. You can also apply to receive AWS promotional credits. Check out our documentation on creating Lambda functions.

Follow our step-by-step guide to build a custom skill. When coding your skills, refer to our documentation on handling requests and on leveraging ASK samples. You can also build skills faster and with less complexity using the Alexa SDK for Node.js on GitHub.

Not Sure Where to Start?

You can start building quickly with our tutorials and code samples. For additional help, check out our webinars and developer forums.

Submit Your Skill for Certification

Once you’ve built your skill, get your skill added to the Alexa Skills Store for anyone to discover and use. After your skill is published, you can apply to receive special rewards. There are three steps to getting your skill certified and published.

1. Register your skill to add it to the developer portal.

2. Test your skill using (no device needed).

3. Submit your skill following our certification tips and checklist.

Make Your Skill Smarter over Time

Over time, monitor how people interact with your skill, then build on your learnings. Successful Alexa skills evolve over time to enhance the user experience. As you add capabilities to your skill, aim to increase utility.

Check out our training page for additional resources.

See What Others Have Built with Alexa
Jamie Oliver

Our Jamie Oliver skill will have you cooking in no time! Alexa will guide you through a selection of main ingredients to help you narrow your search and find a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe for you to try.

The Guardian

Alexa can now keep you up-to-date with the latest news, opinions, reviews, sports and podcasts from the Guardian’s award-winning journalists.

The Royal Opera House

Find out about the latest performances from one of the world's greatest theatres - the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.

Get Started with ASK