August 23, 2017Aaron Tang
Since we introduced Echo Show, developers have been optimizing their Alexa skills to create immersive, voice-first experiences that deliver a completely new way for customers to interact across both voice and graphical user interfaces.
These new visual elements introduce new layers to the skill certification process. Follow our tips below to avoid common issues that could lead to certification delays on Alexa skills intended for Echo Show.
Of the submissions we’ve seen to date, here are the four most common certification issues for Echo Show skills and how you can avoid them:
1. Provide Consistent Volumes between Skill’s Audio and Device’s Audio
Customers have a poor experience when the volume of media content played through a skill is significantly lower or higher than Alexa’s voice volume. During certification, some Echo Show skills using the video player failed certification due to inconsistent volume levels. Be sure to test and ensure the volume of the videos in the skill are consistent with Alexa’s volume. To do so, use a loudness meter tool that will help adjust the volume of the audio content as needed.
For guidance on loudness and some suggested tools, see our documentation on Normalizing the Loudness of Audio Content.
2. Deliver Functional GUI (Touchscreen Input) Responses
Echo Show-specific skills can support touchscreen input that allow customers to navigate to other parts (or GUI cards) of the skill. However, during the certification process, we noticed that some skills fail to respond to touch properly and/or point to the correct GUI cards. Ensure your touchscreen inputs point to its relevant GUI cards so that customers can navigate through your skill without issues.
You can find additional information on navigating through a skill and example responses in the Display Interface Reference.
3. Maintain Human-Readable Text on Display Templates
A skill optimized for Echo Show supports display templates that are viewed directly on the Echo Show device. Refer here to include a Display Interface in the skill’s response. In order to provide an engaging experience for customers, please test and confirm that your display template content only contains human-readable texts. Some skills have failed certification due to special characters, non-standard punctuation, and HTML tags. You can find the display template requirements in Best Practices for skill Card Design.
4. Appropriate Use of Copyrighted Material
Skills built for Echo Show often contain both audio and visual content. You can provide these files directly or have them pulled from another streaming URL provided within the skill. Amazon does not allow unauthorized usage of a brand, trademark, and copyrighted material. This includes implied sponsorship and advertisements from global, notable brands as well as of Amazon.com, Alexa Skills Store, Kindle, and all other Amazon properties.
If the skill does contain such material (within skill title, invocation name, icon, content, metadata), you must either remove such content or provide documentation in the form of a signed confirmation letter or license from the brand owner, demonstrating that you have the right to use the trademark/brand. You can submit the documentation via e-mail as an attachment to email@example.com. Please set the subject field to "Alexa Third-Party Brand Approval" and provide your skill name and skill ID within the message body.
For more information, please see Amazon’s Trademark Usage Guidelines.
In addition to these tips, you can also reference our documentation on building engaging skills for Echo Show. We’ve also outlined the Best Practices for Echo Show Skills to help you build skills that provide a delightful experience to customers.
Voice User Interface (VUI) design is an exciting field. And developers like you have already created more than 15,000 skills with the Alexa Skills Kit, a collection of self-service APIs, documentation, tools, and code samples that make it fast and easy for anyone to add skills to Alexa. As we learn more about this burgeoning space and explore the realm of possibilities, we will update our processes and requirements. I'll share news and updates as they happen, aiming to be responsive, consistent, and transparent along the way. We’d love your feedback, so please send us your thoughts on Alexa certification anytime using our contact form.
We’d like to help you bring your big idea to life with Alexa. Publish a custom skill in August, and we’ll send you a free Echo Dot so you can experiment and daydream. You can also earn limited-edition Alexa developer socks. Learn more about our promotion, and start building with the Alexa Skills Kit today.