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July 27, 2018Jeff Blankenburg
Editor's Note: This is an installment of our new series called Things Every Alexa Skill Should Do, which highlights the important features and lessons that every skill builder can use to make their skills more engaging for customers. Follow the series to learn, get inspired, and build engaging Alexa skills.
With every request a customer makes of your skill, you have an opportunity to make your skill even better. The key to all of this is to manage and keep track of those requests, and then use that data to make improvements to your skill.
It all starts with
request.requestId. This is your anonymized unique identifier for each request that is made of your skill. Pair this with a few more values (like
request.intent.slots), and you start to have some rich, useful insights that can help you refine your skill for your customers. Check out this blog about JSON requests to learn more about how you can use these values to gain meaningful insights about skill engagement.
For common data points, like users, intents, sessions, and utterances, the Measure dashboard inside the Alexa Developer Console can help you collect and visualize engagement data for your skill. If you’re trying to improve a published skill, you can look at these numbers at least once a week to see if any user behaviors are trending since your last release.
Using the Dev Tips skill as an example, I’ll share how we monitored user behavior to further enhance the skill. We made some additions to the sample utterances for the GetRandomTipIntent inside the Dev Tips skill, without anticipating how some of the changes would affect the overall behavior of the skill. After looking at the data, that intent had skyrocketed from 5% of interactions to nearly 40%. It was only because we were tracking these numbers that we even noticed the change. It allowed us to identify the issue, and then promptly fix it.
You can also use interaction path analysis in the developer console to get a visual representation of skill usage patterns. You can see the flow of customers from the invocation of your skill to subsequent intents. This helps you verify if customers are using the skill as you expected, and to identify interactions where they become blocked or abandon the skill. Find more information on interaction path and other skill metrics in our documentation.
With more than 40,000 skills in the Alexa Skills Store, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a skill great and what you can do to create incredible voice experiences for your customers. Download the complete guide about 10 Things Every Alexa Skill Should Do for more tips, code samples, and best practices to build engaging skills.
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