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Guiding principles

Alexa is an instantly familiar, always-available voice service ready to help or entertain on the go. Alexa is ready to play your favorite music, provide weather and news updates, answer questions, create lists, and much more. Like conversation among friends, her communication is natural, simple and fun, ensuring friction-free access to her wealth of information, products, and services. This section highlights how to build a compelling Alexa experience with your in-vehicle solution.

Seamlessly integrated into your system

Alexa is always ready to help. Unlike an app that must be launched, customers should be able to ask Alexa anything anywhere within your system (see Invoking Alexa). We believe the best in-vehicle Alexa experience is one that integrates into the system instead of duplicating functionality just for Alexa. She should be an integrated part of the system, not a separate app that is launched. Alexa should complement the activities involved in driving. She can play music through your vehicle's media player, start navigation with the local navigation provider, or place calls using the vehicle's communication feature.

Alexa must be implemented in a way that feels both integrated and consistent with the rest of your system while still offering familiarity for Alexa customers. When functionality doesn't already exist, the HMI should feel like Alexa is responding in a way that is integrated and consistent with the system. Alexa's response, both visually and audibly, should feel familiar to the Alexa experience and like a natural integration to your vehicle solution.

Voice-forward

With Alexa in their vehicle, drivers can complete tasks without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. Information on the screen should augment the information Alexa is saying, but the customer shouldn't have to rely on taking their eyes off the road in order to complete a task. Any control that is on the screen should be interactive with the customer's voice. For example, if the media player shows a skip forward 30 seconds for Audible books, then the customer should be able to say “Alexa, skip forward”. If the control cannot be controlled with the customer's voice, it's better to remove the control so we don't violate the promise of a voice-forward experience.

Reduce complexity

Interactions while driving with Alexa are efficient. She ensures that customers achieve their goal with minimum interactions (effort). There are two types of efforts to consider: cognitive and task-based effort. Customers experience increased cognitive load when an experience is unfamiliar to them. Use design patterns the customer is familiar with – both inside their vehicle and across devices. For the task-based effort, Alexa responses are brief and to the point, minimizing the need for decision-making. Optimize for simplicity and the speed of task to reduce effort with Alexa while driving. When the customer gives a specific request like “take me to the nearest gas station”, they expect navigation to begin immediately rather than seeing a list of options.

Avoid trustbusters

Lack of trust is often cited as one of the critical barriers preventing customers from using voice in their vehicle. Alexa is an ever-improving system. Because Alexa is always getting smarter, we must build and maintain that trust with every interaction. Below are three trustbusters to avoid:

  1. Privacy & transparency: Alexa respects customer privacy. Personal information must not be surfaced to the wrong person. A customer should always know when Alexa is listening (see Invoking Alexa). When a customer says 'stop' or mutes the mic we must always respect that until the customer explicitly opts out or speaks to Alexa again, clearly wanting to engage.
  2. Predictability: Alexa must use common, understandable UX patterns to meet the customer's expectation and mental model. For example, if something looks like you can tap on it, allow the customer to tap on it.
    • When Alexa finishes giving non-actionable information (i.e. weather), the content should dismiss within a few seconds. If Alexa provides information that is actionable, such as a to-do list that can be scrolled or a list of navigation destinations that can be selected, the information should not disappear without the customer taking action. When customers try to engage with something that hides automatically, they may lose some trust in the system.
  3. Frequent errors: Customers expect Alexa to respond quickly and accurately. Errors and latency will impact user's trust. When an error occurs, help the customer quickly resolve the issue so they can continue to interact with Alexa. Make sure the system account for slow network and latency so the customer knows what is happening and what may have gone wrong.