Overflow. The story behind the Alexa skills team developers
Two former students and friends from high school met again after many years and discovered that they had in common the passion and skills for programming languages, so they founded a software house specialized in the development of skills and voice design for Alexa. This is how Overflow was born, a digital service enterprise based in Hong Kong and a strong identity connected to Amazon's cloud-based voice service. Paolo Biglioli and Francesco Basile, alongside their team, implement new solutions every day for brands that want to give voice to their products and integrated features allowing interaction with Alexa. Convinced and enthusiastic about the rapid evolution that Alexa skills will experience: "They will increasingly become part of our daily activities; they will perform the function that is now interpreted by apps on smartphone operating systems".
What background you need to develop Alexa skills
"Starting to develop the first skills is simple, especially for those with a training background in programming & developing, precisely because Alexa gives the flexibility to use the language with which you are most familiar and because the Alexa Design Guide guidelines are clear and practical to follow". Paolo grew up building code for computers and smartphones from the age of 14, and then graduated from the Web & App course at the Mohole School in Milan. He also won the bronze medal at the National Physics Olympics in 2015. Francesco focused his passion on apps, websites, artificial intelligence and Blockchain. For both, the experiences acquired are now the natural evolution in the concept of Alexa skills, which determine the transition from human-computer interaction through voice-first interaction.
The importance of customizing the Alexa Experience
The personalization of the voice in response to the interactive requests of users is the basis of the success of the Alexa skills developed by Team Overflow. In particular, for the quiz-style skill, the team uses the recording of the voices of professional speakers to modulate the initially predefined script, the tone of voice and the resulting empathy with the target audience. The concept and subsequent implementation of an Inclusive Voice Experience increases engagement with users, building retention and awareness at the same time, with an exponential increase in the use of the service and in value for the brand and its products. “For example, for the development of a meditation guide we involved a speaker who has been a meditation coach for over 20 years. The result is the real perception of greater involvement than the standard Alexa voice, allowing constant improvement in the design of conversations.”
Create skills on who is speaking. Talk with them, not at them
Always listen, then take an operational decision and implement it. That's why the platform invites you to follow four fundamental design patterns dedicated to Voice Design for Alexa Experiences.
Be Adaptable. Alexa skills must adapt appropriately to the audience, correctly processing users' expressions in different conversations.
Be Personal. The experience must be personalized, capable of creating a familiar dialogue based on the information collected and stored, eliminating those not useful for a custom-made UX.
Be Available. The goal is to create a horizontal and voice-first design to center the purpose of the skills: being able to activate and manage actions and responses capable of satisfying the greatest number of requests.
Be Relatable. Alexa needs to talk with users, not at users. Skill planning must be oriented towards responses that are useful for understanding what information they need, always making them feel at ease during the dialogue.
Voice strategy will increasing become more important for brands. Build Alexa skills and give your brand a voice! Watch the full interview video with Paolo Biglioli and Francesco Basile, founders of Overflow.
Today, we’re excited to introduce the Alexa Agency Curriculum, a set of Alexa skill-building resources specially designed for agencies, brands working with agencies, studios, and tool providers who are building voice strategies and go-to-market campaigns for brands.