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AMA UX Design Overview

Customers can now use Alexa with Bluetooth-enabled accessories such as headphones, speakers, and wearable audio devices. The Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Kit simplifies and accelerates the development of your Alexa Built-in accessory. Using the AMA Kit, your Bluetooth-capable peripheral can use the Amazon Alexa app on your customer's Android or iOS mobile device to connect to the Alexa service.

Even though they are on-the-go, customers still expect the high-quality Alexa experience they are used to. The guidelines on this page will help maintain that feature-rich and consistent experience. Before you proceed, however, you should become familiar with the AMA Kit Functional Requirements.

On-device

AMA accessories can be either touch-initiated or voice-initiated. Touch-initiated devices do not support activation by customer voice. Voice-initiated devices allow the customer to have a hands-free Alexa experience. However, these devices must still allow the customer's touch on a device button to activate Alexa. These devices must follow the guidelines described in the Action button section below.

Action button

The purpose of an Action button on an AMA accessory is to:

  • Wake Alexa from an Idle state
  • Wake Alexa while Talk-to-Speech (TTS) or media response (music, Flash Briefing, etc) is playing.

Note that the Action button initiates the experience. The customer should not need to continue to interact directly with the button to carry on a conversation with Alexa. The customer should not need to press the Action button, or any other buttons, after the first press.

Also please note that, when requested by the app via Provide_Speech, the microphone will need to be re-enabled to accept customer speech. This ensures that the device supports multi-turn interactions.

Microphone control

If your device is wake word enabled (voice-initiated), you must have a button that disables the microphone. We recommend an on-device button where possible, but the button also can be in-app. If your device is tap-to-talk or hold-to-talk, you should not have this button.

Attention system

At a minimum, AMA devices must support the following attention states, either with visual or audio cues:

  • Idle
  • Listening
  • Thinking
  • Speaking
  • Microphone Off

For more information on all the Alexa attention states, please see the AVS UX Attention System page.

Visual cues

When appropriate, we recommend providing visual cues for your customers to support the attention states.

StatesDescriptionColor
Idle The device state when there is not an Alexa interaction in process. No visual indicators
Listening Communicates that Alexa is actively listening. Cyan & Blue
Thinking Communicates that microphone is no longer listening, and that Alexa will respond shortly. Cyan & Blue
Speaking Displayed when Alexa is responding to a customer request with Text-to-Speech. Cyan & Blue
Microphone Off Indicates that the customer has disabled the microphone. The device is not capable of detecting the Alexa wake word, and will not send any customer utterances to the Alexa service. Red

Note: For voice-initiated devices that have no visual attention system, you are required to have an in-app icon to display whether the microphone is enabled or disabled.

Sound cues

To ensure a quality customer experience, your accessory must play the sound cues which indicate when Alexa starts and stops listening. The accessory also must communicate speech and messages to the Amazon Alexa app using the AMA protocol specifications, output TTS, music, and alerts on A2DP.

Additionally, your accessory should store one of the following "stop listening" sounds locally as they will not be rendered by the Amazon Alexa app. The decision about which sound to use depends upon your device's speaker capabilities and which files sound best on the accessory. The three sets are Full, Medium, and Small, and each sound file is prefixed with a corresponding code: "ful", "med" or "sml".

Sound SetPrefixFrequency ResponseProduct ExamplesStop Listening Example
Fullful 200 – 20,000 Hz High-sound-quality speakers or headphones
Mediummed 400 – 12,000 HzLow-sound-quality speakers, Cellphones, Tablets
Smallsml 800 – 5,000 HzMinimal-sound-quality speakers, Wearables, Small Appliances

The corresponding "start listening" sounds will be rendered by the Amazon Alexa app, and therefore do not need to be stored on the accessory. The Alexa Resources for AMA can be downloaded from the Resources tab of the Alexa Developers Portal.

On-device prompts

If your device experiences an error condition, it is important to communicate clearly to the customer what they should do. The device must provide an audio (TTS) error message for the user, and the message must be stored locally on the device in case there is no internet connection. The error message should be played back in the language configured for the device, even if the Amazon Alexa app (via the OS) is configured for a different language.

Companion app

You must create a companion app for the accessory which will run on the customer's mobile device. The companion app should introduce Alexa to the customer, and can showcase additional features and settings for your device as well.

The companion app should work in cooperation with the Amazon Alexa app, not replace it or its functions. The following functions are required for the companion app:

  • Update device firmware, if required
  • provide a deep link for the customer to download the Amazon Alexa app
  • Microphone On/Off state if not shown on the device.

In addition, the companion app can supply limited play controls, additional functions, device settings, and so on.

Splash screen

Example splash screen in the companion app

The splash screen included in your companion app should make your customer aware that Alexa is available on the accessory. We recommend including Things to Try and other information which highlights the unique features of your accessory.

For more information about describing Alexa's capabilities, see the AVS UX Setup and Authentication page, which includes downloadable text examples and translations.

Firmware update

After your accessory is successfully paired with the customer's mobile device, you should direct the customer to download any firmware updates your accessory might require.

Download firmware update

Your companion app can prompt the customer to download updates at this stage of the setup flow. The firmware update screen might be a good place to include an introduction/customer education about Alexa and her capabilities.

Link to install Amazon Alexa app

We strongly recommended alerting the customer when the firmware update is complete with a deep link back into the AMA setup flow to avoid having the customer think Alexa is already enabled after the firmware download. In addition to your companion app, we recommend the use of an OS-level notification, also with a deep link, to re-engage the customer in the AMA setup flow.

Note: After the Amazon Alexa app is set up, it will also monitor the accessory's firmware and prompt the customer to download any AMA-related updates that are required to maintain compatibility with the Amazon Alexa app.

Setup flow

As described on the AMA Kit Setup Flow page, the following image shows an example of the steps a customer might follow to set up their device as an AMA accessory. The orange screen corresponds to the steps followed in your companion app, as described in Companion app section above. The blue screens represent the steps that the customer will follow in the Amazon Alexa app to add their device.

Bluetooth setup flow
Click to enlarge

As described above, your companion app should direct the customer to:

  1. Pair the accessory to the customer's mobile device via Bluetooth.
  2. Update firmware if your device requires it.
  3. Prompt the customer to install the Amazon Alexa app, if not already installed, and set up your device.
Introducing Alexa

It is important to make your customer aware that Alexa is available on their accessory, and what the benefits of using Alexa are, as early in the setup process as possible. We recommend introducing Alexa in one of two places in your setup flow:

  • At the beginning of your setup, shortly after the product has been connected
  • Immediately before introducing a button which can be configured to, for example, initiate a voice experience or toggle noise cancellation.

Bluetooth pairing

The Bluetooth connection to the customer's mobile device allows your accessory to connect with the Amazon Alexa app, which then communicates with AVS.

The customer should be directed to establish the Bluetooth connection either during the initial setup of the accessory, or by your companion app. If the customer chooses to skip the setup of voice assistant, they must be able to initiate the process again at a later time. We recommend allowing the customer to restart the pairing process from a settings screen in your companion app. You can offer the option under Voice Settings which might, at the same time, allow the customer to choose a preference to wake Alexa by wake word or by touch.

The steps to enable the Bluetooth connection will follow a flow similar to the one shown in the image above. You can find more information about the Bluetooth pairing process on the Implementation Requirements page.

Set up Amazon Alexa app

Once any required firmware update is complete you should direct the user to:

  1. Download the Amazon Alexa app to their mobile device, if they don't already have it
  2. Add the AMA accessory to the Amazon Alexa app devices list.

We strongly recommend providing both an OS-level notification and a deep link in your companion app for the customer to download the Amazon Alexa app. See Splash screen above for more information about what should be included.

After the Amazon Alexa app is installed, the customer must add the device. Once again, we strongly recommend providing a deep link into the Amazon Alexa app devices list, as described in AMA Kit Setup Flow. Adding the accessory to the devices list in the Amazon Alexa app will require a set of steps similar to the setup flow image above.

Once the device is successfully paired with the Amazon Alexa app, your customer can begin using Alexa with your accessory. We recommend, either in your companion app or in the accessory packaging, supplying additional Things to Try to highlight your accessory's capabilities and Alexa's functions.

Voice settings

The Voice settings associated with your AMA accessory must provide your customer a method to set up Alexa on their AMA device while providing any configuration controls for how the customer wakes Alexa either using touch or using the wake word. This screen can also include the settings for how the customer disables the microphone for voice-initiated accessories.

Note: In your implementation of an attention system, it is critical that the customer is always aware of when Alexa is listening or not listening.