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Media services

We aim to provide the best in-car Alexa experience for our customers; which means we are flexible as to how media is played and surfaced. Whether it’s through your devices embedded media player, the Auto SDK embedded application, or an MSP’s embedded application on your device; what’s best for the customer is always our preferred approach. To ensure customers maintain a great listening experience in the vehicle, we send Alexa’s Display Cards through the Auto SDK to enable media to be visually surfaced and played when no embedded app or media player is being used. Alexa services media content from a variety of sources (e.g. Amazon Music, Spotify, etc.). Customers may ask Alexa to play music, audiobooks, podcasts, and more. Alexa responds by seamlessly switching between the sources and surfacing the right media to the customer.

High-level requirements

Playback controls

Media playback controls vary depending on the source and type of content playing. It is up to you to determine the position and order of these controls. The example below shows different variations that could appear across different sources, at different times. The TemplateRuntime API provides real-time instructions as to which buttons should be displayed. For questions on the following guidelines, please refer to this template. The JSON provides all playback controls for each music service and you must display all buttons provided in the JSON.

(Required) Any touch target on the media player must be controllable via voice
Each touch target on the media player should have a voice analog, but not every voice command needs to have a touch analog. This is the voice forward approach for Alexa.

(Required) Remove controls that are not available for the current media source
A source should not present a control that it does not use for the current playing media. Example: “fast-forward/rewind 30 seconds” are controls available in audiobook controls, but not within music controls. Because of this, these controls should only appear when the audiobook is playing.

(Required) Disable media controls that are not currently selectable
When a control cannot be used anymore, disable the control (gray it out) to avoid frustrating the customer. Example: Some music providers offer customers free accounts with limited features /functionality. The customer may only be able to skip a set amount of tracks. Once they reach the limit, they can no longer press the next track button. In this instance, the next track button must appear disabled.

(Required) Use the icons in the Amazon Icon Library for media player controls
These are available in the design toolkit.

(Recommended) For international vehicles where customers drive on the right side of the vehicle, swap all pertinent information / controls to be driver sided

Left sided media player

Right sided media player

Source attribution

Customers can ask Alexa to play media from a wide range of sources – Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, Pandora, etc. These media sources require attribution so customers to know where the media is coming from.

Full screen media player

Mini media player

(Required) When playing media from a Music Provider, always display attribution to the current media provider on the appropriate display card
The media source must be attributed on the media player in the center console. Use the designer toolkit, for the attribution icon with the render template.

(Required) Use the appropriate attribution icon available in the Amazon Icon Library
These are available in the design toolkit.

(Recommended) We recommend using a white icon on dark backgrounds and a black icon on light backgrounds

Metadata

Metadata should appear on the screen at all times to inform the customer of what they are listening to. We will push three lines of metadata that will come from the JSON payload. The order this data is presented depends on the type of media playing.

(Recommended) Only three lines of metadata should be displayed on the center console Refer to the UI Text Guidelines for more details on string requirements.

(Recommended) If text does not fit in the designated area, truncate the text

(Recommended) The first line of text should be larger than the second two
This is typically a song title, chapter of a book, or podcast name.

Images: Album art, cover art, logos, etc.

(Recommended) Show album art when possible
We recommend showing this passenger side, as pertinent information and controls should always be easily accessible to the driver.

(Required) Do not alter album art in any way (i.e. beveling, overlays, etc.)
The album art must be presented in its original form.

(Recommended) If no image is available, the following placeholder images should appear in its place

Placeholder images

Media screens

Results

Show Billie Eilish

When Alexa requires more information to make the best choice for the customer, we pass a list of metadata + images (when applicable) to surface on the List Template card. The customer may choose a list item by physically select it or via voice (i.e. “Alexa, number 2”). Once an item is selected, transition to the now playing card.

Grid list

List

(Required) You must number the list/grid items
In situations where Alexa asks for confirmation “which one?”, the customer may respond “number 2”. It is important that these are appropriately labeled on all list screens.

(Recommended) Incorporate hint text to educate customers of different things they can do with their voice

(Recommended) When album art is passed over, use the grid body template
Should images not be available or used, show the list template. 

Now Playing:

Play Billie Eilish

Media Playback is a multimodal pattern for when the customer requests something for which Alexa's response is to play audio content in the vehicle. When playing media through the Audo SDK Embedded Application, display the Now Playing card on your device.

Left sided media player

Required) Should you use Alexa to surface media, use the NowPlaying body template
Follow the METADATA AND IMAGES, SOURCE ATTRIBUTION, and PLAYER CONTROLS requirements.

(Required) Show the progress indicator on the now playing screen
This must show the time elapsed/time remaining as indicated in the example above. If you have a touch screen, customers must be able to scrub through the progress bar via touch. They can also control this via voice (i.e. “Alexa, fast forward 20 seconds”).

(Recommended) Incorporate hint text to educate customers of different things they can do with their voice

Toast:

Play Billie Eilish

Whether a customer is in the middle of viewing their vehicle’s information, following navigation, or engaged with some other driver-pertinent feature; they may want to change a song without changing their screen. To provide the best experience, we always recommend showing visual feedback whenever an action is performed. Holding true to this guidance, we request you surface a temporary toast in situations where a customer changes or requests a song while on a driver-focused screen.

Toast

(Recommended) If a customer is currently on a driving-specific task (e.g. navigation), and asks Alexa to change or play content, visually show what is playing and timeout after 8 secs

(Required) If a customer taps the toast, launch the Now Playing view

Mini-player

In the vehicle, there are certain instances where a mini-media player is more beneficial to the customer than a full screen visual. Should your system support a mini-player, follow the requirements below to ensure you meet our branding guidelines.

Mini player

(Required) Follow the METADATA AND IMAGES, SOURCE ATTRIBUTION, and PLAYER CONTROLS requirements

(Recommended) Only surface up to three controls at one time
If you show controls on your mini-player, only surface the imperative controls specific to the current playing source.