Design Checklist

In summary, here’s a few checklists for voice and visual design to keep in mind as you design your skill.

Four critical goals

  What's the purpose of your skill?

  How will customers invoke your skill?

  What can a customer do with your skill?

  What kinds of information do you need to collect to personalize the experience?

Voice design checklist

  Design natural conversation patterns for Alexa
Use everyday language and invite customers to say things in the ways they usually do to Alexa so that they feel comfortable using your skill. Alexa should speak naturally to customers, using contractions and avoiding technical jargon.

  Keep it short and simple
Avoid tedious responses such as reading out lists or giving step-by-step directions. Instead, keep responses short and prompt the customer if they want to hear more.

  Make sure customers can find your skill
Offer a unique skill and skill name to keep your skill relevant and memorable.

  Handle unexpected customer utterances gracefully
Ensure that follow-up questions make sense, feel good, and help customers around the utterance that caused the error.

  Watch customers try to use your skill
Observe customers who are unfamiliar with your skill use it to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

  Make your skill natural and conversational
Use everyday language and invite customers to say things to Alexa in the way they would usually speak. Alexa’s responses should stay true to her personality, and be in a natural, conversational tone. Vary responses and engage the customer by asking questions.

  Provide alternate paths around private info
Your skill should never require a customer to disable global privacy or device settings to use your skill. Always provide an alternate way to gather this information, such as asking the customer for a zip code.

  Ask direct questions
Never ask rhetorical or open-ended questions. Prompts help guide the customer by proposing choices or actions they can take, which helps to guide the conversation. Keep the options in your prompt to 3 at a time to avoid heavy cognitive load placed on the customer.

  End the session when you’re done
The skill doesn’t require additional confirmation to exit a skill, unless some information might be lost (such as with game skills). If there are no other options for a customer to take, ending the session is a graceful exit.

  Provide contextually relevant messaging
Every choice Alexa offers to a customer, especially as a question, should be contextually relevant to the situation and the skill. This is very important for help and error messaging.

Visual design checklist

  Can you use the skill without a screen?
Alexa is a voice first experience and many devices do not have screens. Make sure your skill can be used across all device types, including those that are voice-only.

  Don't tell the customer what to do
Never tell a customer to explicitly look or touch a screen. Visual elements are complementary to the voice experience. A customer can choose how they want to interact with Alexa in a multi-modal world.

  Never display private content
Alexa-enabled devices are often found in public, communal settings and displaying private content could be a breach of trust with the customer. If you need to share this info, consider sending it to the Alexa App instead.

  Connect touch to voice selections
Every visual touch target has a voice analog; but not every voice command requires a touch analog.