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May 02, 2018Max Amordeluso
We are delighted to announce that, as of today, Alexa now supports kid skills in the UK and Germany. Developers can now create fun and educational experiences for kids under the age of 16 using the UK and German Alexa Skills Kits. From games to instructional skills, you can create amazing kid-friendly voice experiences that will entertain the whole family and make them available in the German and UK Alexa Skills Stores.
Parents can turn on kid skills using the Alexa app. When a parent enables a kid skill for the first time, Alexa will ask the parent to turn on access to all kid skills by following the steps in the Alexa app. Access to kid skills only needs to be turned on once to enable and use all kid skills on the parent’s account. Like with any other Alexa skill, parents will still need to enable each kid skill separately. Parents can turn off all kid skills at any time with the Settings menu of their Alexa app. When turned off, kid skills cannot be used on the parent’s account.
Join developers around the world who have already created engaging and award-winning Alexa kid skills for the whole family. Learn from the winners of the Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids. And check out the kid skills available today in Germany and the UK: Bibis Welt (quiz), Affenbeste Freunde (goodnight stories), Radio Teddy (kid radio), Moshi Twilight (bedtime stories), Lego Duplo Stories (kid stories), and Beano (quiz).
1. Consider the Age Range You Want to Reach – Kids under 16 years of age is a broad category. What appeals to a 6-year-old is likely boring for a pre-teen. Vice versa, if your voice experience it too complex, a younger kid will not engage with it. Consider also that pre-teens might want to get help with school homework, which opens up endless opportunities for educational kid skills. If you are designing a kid skill to appeal to a broader range of younger users, consider adding levels to it. See the Mix Master template skill for an example on how to create a skill with levels.
2. Foster Curiosity and Exploration – Kids have a natural tendency to explore new ways to use technology. This might result in unexpected ways kids will interact with your skill. Your interaction model will have to account for the many ways a younger user may interact with it. Make sure you listen to the way kids talk and the words they use, then build that flexibility in your model. Leverage entity resolution to handle these synonyms.
3. Guide Kids Through the Interactions – Kids might get frustrated in less time than adults with obstacles, and voice experiences are no different. Make sure you design your kid skill to guide kids to what is expected as an answer, using prompts and confirmations to provide the right guidance. See how Sesame Street, coming soon to the UK, designed a kid-friendly skill.
4. Include Memorable Moments – Kid skills need to be fun. Create delight and surprise using speechcons to get Alexa to use funny exclamations (Geronimo!) and sound effects. Leverage these special sounds to reward, entertain, or support a wrong answer. Provide variety and introduce random or rotating welcome messages to ensure your kid skill remain new and engaging.
5. Deliver Fresh Content – Don’t forget to update the content of your kid skill. Fresh and new content is one of the main driver of skills’ usage. Think about using a database for your content instead of hardcoding it into your skill. This will ensure your updates are easier. You can also add dynamic content to your skill to keep your content fresh.
6. Polish Your Kid Skill Name and Description – Like with all skills, select your kid skill name wisely, make sure it stands out and its invocation name is easy and memorable. If kids cannot launch the skill, your great design will be wasted. Remember also that while your Alexa kid skill may be used by kids, it is their parents who will be the ones selecting and enabiling it. Ensure your skill’s description is clear and informative and it clearly indicates the ideal age range.
Join our live webinar on 23 May at 2:00pm CEST to learn how to use the Alexa Skills Kit to build experiences that both kids and parents will love. You'll hear about what families find engaging when it comes to voice experiences as well as tips and best practices for building skills that educate, entertain, and engage kids under 16. Register now!