AVS UX for Product Buttons
While Alexa is intended to be primarily voice-forward, it is not always possible, or even preferable, for your customers to interact with her using voice. Your Alexa Built-in device must provide another way to interact without using voice. This page presents recommendations for including hardware or on-screen buttons on your device, and making them easy to use for your customers.
- Button types
- Button appearance
- Button location
- Special cases
An Alexa Built-in device should have discrete controls (physical or GUI) to interact with Alexa. We recommend having separate buttons for:
- Microphone On/Off
- Wake Word On/Off (if your device is wake word-enabled)
- Volume up
- Volume down.
There must be a clear difference between the buttons. If possible, we strongly recommend avoiding overloading buttons, which means assigning multiple functions to a single button. Overloading buttons is discussed in more detail below.
Most types of devices must have an Action button, whether it is a physical button, an on-screen button, or a button in a companion app. When a customer presses the Action button, the function must respond immediately either to wake Alexa, interrupt an Alexa response, or stop an Alert.
The only case in which an Action button is not required is if your device is voice-initiated and has an integrated touch screen interface. In this case, the product must display an on-screen Alert dismissal prompt when an Alert sounds.
The Action button stops or attenuates playback when Alexa is responding to a customer utterance or playing media, such as music. A single press should attenuate or pause the activity and put the device into active Listening mode. If Alexa doesn’t hear any utterance from the customer, the product should return to the Idle state with the playback continuing at its previous volume.
When an Alert is playing, a single press should stop the alert. This function fulfills the requirement to provide a way to stop an Alert when there is no internet connectivity.
For more information about how the Action button interrupts Alexa media playback and responses, and dismisses Alerts, see the Interrupts guidance page.
We also highly recommend using the Action button only to wake or interrupt Alexa. If you must overload the Action button, please see the overloading recommendations below.
Buttons for Privacy
Devices with microphones or cameras must have a hardware-based On/Off button which removes power to all microphones and cameras when turned off. Turning the microphone off serves to prevent all voice interaction with Alexa.
Some products may require that microphones be turned on for uses other than interacting with Alexa. If so, those products may also provide a physical or on-screen way to enable and disable Alexa’s capability to detect wake words, for example an additional Wake Word On/Off button.
When a device is put into the Microphone Off state or when Wake Word detection is turned off, you must not sign out a user, or deregister their device, from their Alexa account. To indicate that the device has been put into the Microphone Off state, or a Wake Word Off state, follow the guidelines described in the Attention System page.
Note: If your device is tap-to-talk or hold-to-talk only, you should not have a Wake Word On/Off button. It is unnecessary since the customer does not use the wake word, and must tap or hold an Action button to initiate an Alexa interaction.
Your device must have physical or GUI volume controls (non-voice) so that the customer is able to change the system volume level even if there is no internet connectivity and Alexa is unavailable. This is a requirement for all devices.
For ease of use, we recommend that the volume controls be:
- Easily accessible by the customer
- Clearly marked
- Not overloaded with other functions.
All buttons should be:
- Easy to use
- Clearly marked
- In a location that is easily accessed by the customer.
Physical buttons can be on the device or a device remote control. The icon you should use can be impacted by:
- Size of the buttons
- Overloading button functions
- The presence of multiple voice assistants
- Other icons on the device.
For the Action button, if there are not multiple voice assistants on the device, you should use the Alexa logo. This is true even if the Action button is overloaded with other functions.
If the button icons are so small that the Alexa logo does not render well, a microphone icon, or a dot like the Amazon Echo Action button, are acceptable alternatives.
If there are multiple voice assistants available when the customer presses the Action button, or other microphone functions are available on the button when the customer has not registered Alexa, a microphone icon should be used. We do not provide this icon. Choose one that matches your other buttons' icon style.
For a Wake Word On/Off button that is not overloaded with Action:
- You may not use the Alexa logo icon.
- We recommend using a circle-with-a-slash icon, as shown in the examples below.
- If the Wake Word On/Off button completely disables the device microphone, you may also use a microphone-with-a-slash icon.
GUI, or on-screen, buttons can be on the device screen or in the product's companion app. GUI buttons should use the Alexa logo in either white (against a dark background), squid ink or black (against a light background), or Alexa blue.
For the Wake Word On/Off button, we recommend using a circle-with-a-slash icon, such as the examples shown below.
These examples show possible icon designs for your buttons. If you are using a microphone-with-a-slash icon, it should adhere to the style of other buttons on your device.
Alexa Action button
Wake word on
Wake word off
For more information on how to use the Alexa logo, see Logo and Brand Usage.
The location of device buttons depends on your device type and use cases, but generally should be in a location that the customer can access easily.
For Smart Speakers and similar audio devices
These are devices that do not have a touch screen and are usually placed where customers can reach them easily. Buttons should be located on the top or front of the speaker.
TVs and similar visual devices
These are screen-based devices that use a remote control for touch interactions, rather than being directly touched by the customer. Buttons should be located on the remote control. The customer should be able to easily press the button while also holding the remote toward their mouth.
Tablets and similar visual devices
These are screen-based devices with touch screens. These devices can be designed for in-hand use or can be docked or mounted within easy reach of a customer. In this case, the display and location of the buttons, especially the Action and Wake Word On/Off buttons, depends on Alexa's attention state.
Note: If your product can be docked, and you choose to include physical controls or attention system indicators on the dock, you must follow the same requirements for button placement and appearance and for attention system display as the smart speaker guidance.
When Alexa is in Idle state, or playing media, the Action and Wake Word On/Off buttons do not have to be visible at all times on the screen. However, to ensure that the customer is able to easily and quickly reach them, the buttons should be included in the quick launcher or system tray that is available on all screens on your product.
If wake word detection is disabled, we suggest displaying the Microphone Off state for the customer, to avoid confusion.
When Alexa is responding with TTS, the Action button should be visible on the screen so the customer can, for example, tap on the Action button to interrupt Alexa. We recommend that Alexa goes into a Listening state to match Smart Speaker behavior. An alternative is to stop the Alexa response and return to the Idle state.
When an Alert is sounding, at least the Action Button should be visible on the screen so that the customer can click on it to stop the Alert. This ensures the customer can stop an alarm even if your product does not have internet connectivity.
Out-of-reach devices with no remote control
These are devices that are mounted out of reach of a customer but do not have a remote control like a TV does. Your device must include the buttons, with the same look and behavior, in your product's companion app.
Overloading buttons refers to assigning multiple functions to a single button. In order to avoid confusion and provide the customer the best possible experience, we do not recommend overloading physical buttons.
- Microphone On/Off buttons must never be overloaded.
- On-screen (GUI) buttons must never be overloaded.
If you find that you do have to overload physical buttons, try not to assign more than two device functions to a single button. Also, try to stack Alexa-related functions onto the same button.
If the customer must use button press patterns to activate different functions, we recommend the following:
- Avoid complex press patterns that are difficult for customers to learn or remember.
- If you overload the Action button with other functions, a short press should activate Action, making it the primary function of the button. A long press would then activate the other function.
- If you overload a Wake Word On/Off button (not a Microphone On/Off button) with any other function, other than Action, a short press should activate Wake Word On/Off, making it the primary function of the button. A long press would then activate the other function. Remember that it is important to keep the Wake Word On/Off function easy for the customer to access. Do not hide it behind complex button interactions.
Some devices may have few or no buttons, and depend on customer gestures to activate different functions. If your product is a gesture-based device, you must have a gesture that is the equivalent of the Action button, and making the gesture must have the same results as pressing the Action button.
Last updated: Mar 09, 2022