Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 10,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers.
What is the Alexa Skills Kit?
With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.
You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can also apply to receive AWS promotional credits.
Build a skill, get a shirt
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Why build skills?
Get in early
Natural user interfaces, such as those based on speech, represent the next major disruption in computing. With Alexa, you can take advantage of this new form of interaction.
Reach more customers
Engage with your customers through voice on devices with Alexa including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire TV devices, and all devices powered by the Alexa Voice Service.
Create engaging experiences
Delight your audience with a completely new way to interact with your service. Customers don't need to use their hands; all they have to do is ask Alexa.
Gain expertise in voice design
The Alexa Skills Kit is a low-friction way to learn to build for voice. Create your first Alexa skill and add a valuable new skill to your developer toolkit. You can get a prototype up and running in just a few hours.
Scale in the cloud
You can use your existing cloud-based service to get started. Or you can leverage AWS Lambda, which makes it easy to build a cloud-based service that responds quickly to a voice request.
Build for free
ASK is free to use and AWS Lambda is free for the first one million calls per month. And Alexa skill developers can apply to receive AWS promotional credits to be put toward their Alexa skills.
Learn what you can build with ASK
ASK supports command-oriented skills as well as sophisticated multi-command dialogues and parameter passing. You can build the following types of skills with ASK.
These skills can handle just about any type of request. You define the requests the skill can handle (intents) and the words users say to invoke those requests (utterances). Learn more >>
Smart home skills
With these skills, users can control cloud-enabled smart-home devices like lights and thermostats. The Smart Home Skill API defines the requests the skill can handle (device directives) and the words users say to invoke those requests (utterances). Learn more >>
Flash briefing skills
These skills provide original content for users’ flash briefings. The Flash Briefing Skill API defines the words users say to invoke the flash briefing or news request (utterances) and the format of the content so that Alexa can provide it to the user. Learn more >>
With our tool and source code, you can graphically design interactive adventure games for Alexa. You can also design and build decision-tree skills and trivia skills with ASK. Get started >>
Build and host your skill in the cloud
Alexa is based in the cloud so she’s always getting smarter and customers never have to download updates to your skill. You can set up your skills in AWS Lambda or another cloud-based hosting service. AWS Lambda is free for the first one million calls per month. You can also apply to receive AWS promotional credits. Check out our documentation on creating Lambda functions.
Once you’ve built your skill, get your skill added to the Alexa skills store for anyone to discover and use. After your skill is published, you can apply to receive a limited-edition Alexa dev shirt. There are three steps to getting your skill certified and published.
Over time, monitor how people interact with your skill, then build on your learnings. Successful Alexa skills evolve over time to enhance the user experience. As you add capabilities to your skill, aim to increase utility.