AMA UX Design Overview
Alexa is now available to users who own Bluetooth-enabled accessories such as headphones, speakers, and wearable audio devices. The Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Kit simplifies and accelerates the development of Alexa Built-in accessories. By implementing the AMA Kit, your Bluetooth-capable accessory is able to use the Amazon Alexa app on your users' Android or iOS mobile device to connect to the Alexa service.
Even though they are on-the-go, users still expect a high-quality Alexa experience. Use the guidelines on this page to help maintain that feature-rich and consistent experience. Before you proceed, however, you should become familiar with the AMA Kit Functional Requirements.
- Companion app
- Setup flow
AMA accessories are either touch-initiated or wake word enabled. Touch-initiated devices don't support activation by user voice. Wake word enabled devices allow the user to have a hands-free Alexa experience. However, hands-free devices must still allow the user to press an accessory button to activate Alexa. Wake word enabled devices must follow the guidelines described in the Action button section.
The purpose of an Action button on an AMA accessory is to:
- Wake Alexa from an Idle state
- Wake Alexa as Text-to-Speech (TTS) or a media response (music, Flash Briefing, etc) plays.
Note that the Action button initiates the experience. Don't force the user to press the Action button, or any other buttons, to have a conversation with Alexa after the first button press.
Note that when requested by the app via
Provide_Speech, the microphone must be re-enabled to accept user speech to make sure that the device supports multi-turn interactions.
If your device is wake word enabled (voice-initiated), you must have a button that disables the microphone. Amazon recommends an on-device button where possible, but your companion app could include the microphone disabling button instead. Devices that are tap-to-talk or hold-to-talk aren't required to have a button to disable the microphone.
At a minimum, AMA devices must support the following attention states, either with visual or audio cues:
- Microphone Off
For more details about the Alexa attention states, please see the AVS UX Attention System page.
When appropriate, Amazon recommends providing visual cues for your users to support the attention states.
|Idle||The device state when no Alexa interaction is in process.||No visual indicators|
|Listening||Communicates that Alexa is actively listening.||Cyan & Blue|
|Thinking||Communicates that microphone is no longer listening, and that Alexa will respond shortly.||Cyan & Blue|
|Speaking||Displayed when Alexa is responding to a user request with Text-to-Speech.||Cyan & Blue|
|Microphone Off||Indicates that the user has disabled the microphone. The device can't detect the Alexa wake word, and won't send any user utterances to the Alexa service.||Red|
To provide a quality user experience, your accessory must play the audio cues that signal when Alexa starts and stops listening. The accessory also must communicate speech and messages to the Amazon Alexa app with the AMA protocol specifications, output TTS, music, and alerts on A2DP.
Additionally, your accessory should store one of the following "stop listening" sounds locally because the Amazon Alexa app doesn't render them. The decision about which sound to use depends upon your device's speaker capabilities and which files sound best on the accessory. The three sets are Full, Medium, and Small, and each sound file has a prefix with the corresponding code: "ful", "med" or "sml".
|Sound Set||Prefix||Frequency Response||Product Examples||Stop Listening Example|
|Full||ful||200 – 20,000 Hz||High-sound-quality speakers or headphones||
|Medium||med||400 – 12,000 Hz||Low-sound-quality speakers, Cellphones, Tablets||
|Small||sml||800 – 5,000 Hz||Minimal-sound-quality speakers, Wearables, Small Appliances||
The Alexa app renders the corresponding "start listening" sounds, which the accessory isn't required to store. Download the Alexa Resources for AMA from the Resources tab of the Alexa Developers Portal.
If your device experiences an error condition, communicate the solution to the user clearly. The device must provide an audio TTS error message for the user. Store the message locally on the device in case the device isn't connected to the internet. Play the error message in the language configured for the device, even if a different language is set on the Amazon Alexa app through the OS.
You must create a companion app for the accessory for users' mobile devices. The companion app should introduce Alexa to the user and showcase additional features and settings for your accessory.
The companion app should work in cooperation with the Amazon Alexa app, not replace it or its functions. The companion app has the following requirements:
- Update device firmware, if required.
- Provide a deep link for the user to download the Amazon Alexa app.
- Microphone On/Off state if not shown on the device.
Additionally, the companion app could supply limited play controls, additional functions, device settings, and more.
The splash screen included in your companion app should make your user aware that Alexa is available on the accessory. Amazon recommends including Things to Try and other information which highlights the unique features of your accessory.
After your accessory pairs with the mobile device, direct the user to download any firmware updates your accessory might require.
Your companion app can prompt the user to download updates at this stage of the setup flow. The firmware update screen might be a good place to include an introduction to Alexa and what Alexa is able to do.
Amazon strongly recommends alerting the user when the firmware update is complete. The alert should include a deep link back into the AMA setup flow to avoid having the user think Alexa is already enabled after the firmware download. In addition to the notification from your companion app, Amazon recommends sending an OS-level notification, also with a deep link, to re-engage the user in the AMA setup flow.
As described on the AMA Kit Setup Flow page, the following image shows an example of the steps a user might follow to set up their device as an AMA accessory. The orange screen corresponds to the steps followed in your companion app, as described in Companion app section. The blue screens represent the steps that users follow in the Alexa app to add their device.
As described previously, your companion app should direct the user to:
- Pair the accessory to the user's mobile device through Bluetooth.
- Update firmware if your device requires it.
- Prompt the user to install the Amazon Alexa app, if not already installed, and set up your device.
Make your user aware that Alexa and the benefits of Alexa early in the accessory setup flow:
- At the beginning of your setup, immediately after the product has been connected
- Immediately before introducing a button for a user to configure for tasks such as initiating a voice experience or toggling noise cancellation.
The Bluetooth connection to the user's mobile device allows your accessory to connect with the Amazon Alexa app, which then communicates with AVS.
Direct the user to establish the Bluetooth connection either during the initial setup of the accessory, or by your companion app. If the user chooses to skip the setup of voice assistant, they must be able to start the process again at a later time. Amazon recommends allowing the user to restart the pairing process from a settings screen in your companion app. Offer the option under Voice Settings which might, at the same time, allow the user to choose a preference to wake Alexa by wake word or by touch.
The steps to enable the Bluetooth connection follow a flow similar to the one shown in the previous image. For more details about the Bluetooth pairing process, see the Implementation Requirements page.
Set up Amazon Alexa app
After any required firmware update is complete you should direct the user to:
- Download the Amazon Alexa app to their mobile device, if they don't already have it
- Add the AMA accessory to the Amazon Alexa app devices list.
Amazon strongly recommends providing both an OS-level notification and a deep link in your companion app for the user to download the Amazon Alexa app. For more details about what to include, see Splash screen.
After the Amazon Alexa app is installed, the user must add the device. Amazon strongly recommends providing a deep link into the Amazon Alexa app devices list, as described in AMA Kit Setup Flow. Adding the accessory to the devices list in the Amazon Alexa app requires a set of steps like those shown in setup flow image.
After the device pairs with the Alexa app, your user is able to use Alexa with your accessory. Amazon recommends, either in your companion app or in the accessory packaging, supplying additional Things to Try to highlight your accessory's capabilities and Alexa's functions.
In the Voice settings for your AMA accessory, provide your user with a method to set up Alexa on their accessory and provide configuration controls for the user to wake Alexa either through touch or the wake word. The Voice settings screen could also include settings for how the user disables the microphone for wake word enabled accessories.