Notification and error handling

Notification indicators inform customers that new content is available from Alexa. When a notification is delivered, the customer is notified by visual and audio indicators. Visual notifications and errors should be used sparingly and only surfaced during relevant or urgent situations in the vehicle. This section will cover the different types of notifications and errors that may present themselves visually in the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI).

See Visual Language for details on error and notification audio cues.


Conceptually, your product shouldn’t care about the content of individual notifications. All your product needs to do is manage the indicator state for the customer. The Alexa API will communicate what the proper state of that indicator should be. For a consistent Alexa experience, you'll need three notification states: new notification has arrived; new notifications queued; and alarm or timer has gone off.

New notification arrived

This interface provides the audio and visual indicators that prompt the customer something new is available. Customers can retrieve any pending notifications by asking, "Alexa, what did I miss?" or "Alexa, what are my notifications?"

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(Required) Immediately indicate visually when Alexa sends a new notification and include attribution.

If your system has a standard notification design you may use it, but you must ensure Alexa is being attributed so the customer knows they have to invoke Alexa to learn more.

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Alexa notification indicator in status bar

New notifications queued

The queue stores new (unplayed), and archived notifications. We leave it up to you to define notifications in a way that is consistent within your product.

(Required) Indicate visually when Alexa has a notification in the queue.

When the device/vehicle receives a ClearIndicator directive, you can stop displaying a notification indicator.

Error Handling

When something goes wrong, customers will hear Alexa respond. If the Alexa service cannot be reached due to a network error or Alexa hasn't been set up, your system should handle the error both audibly and on the screen. See UI Text Guidelines for details.

(Recommended) If your IVI requires additional error messages use polite, precise and constructive language using the following best practices:

  1. When possible, let the customer know what went wrong and how to complete their request. Avoid dead ends.
  2. Don't include information that isn't directly related to solving the problem. This includes providing error codes. Customer's find them scary and unhelpful.
  3. Never try to sell something in an error message.
  4. Don't display a persistent error dialog unless the customer's input or acknowledgment is crucial.
  5. Avoid humor in error messages. Balance being helpful, informative, succinct, and conversational. Customers take errors seriously, so should we.
  6. When discussing unsupported features, do not use the word yet. We avoid giving hints about what may or may not be on the release roadmap.
  7. Let the customer know the requested action wasn’t completed. We shouldn't assume that the customer will be able to guess that the request wasn't completed.

The following are some examples of different Alexa Error cases and our recommended customer experience for these flows:

Context: Customer invokes Alexa when no Alexa account has been set up. Rather than surfacing an error message, direct the customer to sign in:

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Sign in / linking screen
Context: Network error occurs while using Alexa
Error message:
Title: “Network error”
String: “There were issues connecting. Please check your network connection and try again.”
Action button: Network settings
Context: Network error during setup
Error message:
Title: “Network error”
String: “Alexa needs access to the internet to complete setup. Please check your network connection and try again.”
Action button: Network settings
Context: Timeout during setup
Error message:
Title: “Setup was not complete”
String: “There was an issue setting up Alexa. Please try again.”
Action button: Try again
Context: Alexa is not available in their language (should be translated to language not supported)
Error message:
Title: “Language not supported”
String: “Alexa isn’t available in [selected language]. Select a language for Alexa.”
Action button: Select Language

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Last updated: Nov 25, 2023