New ASK Features: Extensible Built-In Types - Amazon Mobile App Distribution Blog

New ASK Features: Extensible Built-In Types

When creating an interaction model for your Alexa skill you can utilize several built-in slot types along with your own custom slots. Custom slots provide the ability to add custom values for items that are not covered by Amazon’s built-in slot types. By using built-in and custom slot you can drastically reduce number of sample utterances you need to provide, and increase the overall accuracy of Alexa’s speech recognition.

Based on your feedback, we are happy to announce the addition of extensible built-in slot types starting with AMAZON.US_CITY, AMAZON.US_FIRST_NAME and AMAZON.US_STATE.

Extending a built-in slot type appends the values you provide to the built-in values defined by Amazon. For example, AMAZON.US_CITY automatically recognizes US cities with a population over 100,000. If you need to collect additional cities, such as your hometown, you could add them to the list by extending the type. The slot would then recognize both the original set of values as well as the custom ones you added.

In order to extend a slot type, edit to your skill and click on the Interaction Model tab. Next, scroll down the Interaction Model page and click on Add Slot Type.


Enter the name of the slot type you want to extend. Currently, you can only extend the types that work as lists: AMAZON.US_CITY,AMAZON.US_FIRST_NAME, and AMAZON.US_STATE. Then enter the additional values you want for the type in the list of values like normal, separating the values with line breaks.

Finally, click OK to save the changes and rebuild your interaction model.

That’s it! You can now utilize all of the existing built-in type’s accuracy in addition to your own custom values. These extensions only apply at the specific skill level. So none of your other skills will be affected by the change. For instance, if you extend AMAZON.US_CITY with additional town names for one skill, those changes do not apply to any other skills that also use AMAZON.US_CITY.

For more information about getting started with Alexa, check out the following additional assets:

Get the Alexa App
Intro to Alexa Skills On Demand
Voice Design 101 On Demand
Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)
Alexa Developer Forums

-Dave (@TheDaveDev