Amazon Alexa is one of the innovative and sought-after voice assistants in the market. The voice interactions, coupled with artificial intelligence, facilitates everything from ordering food to setting up a quick reminder. These skills offered by Alexa radically expand the bots repertoire, allowing the users to perform more tasks using a voice-enabled device.
Voice technology has become a boon for the people and rapidly made a statement in the market Presently, there are more than 30M Amazon Echoes in the U.S. and 80,000 Alexa skills in the market. Such exponential growth has stimulated many businesses to develop Alexa skills and embrace the great opportunities brought forth by voice technology.
To help businesses leverage this groundbreaking innovation, we have shed light on how to build an Alexa Skill with a frictionless voice user interface (VUI) in the below.
So, let’s dive in..
Factors to consider while building an Alexa Skill
An Alexa skill must have a great Voice User Interface (VUI), which improves the voice recognition and responsiveness of the device. It depends on the various factors including, providing the right help and proper data to users, making skill flow feel like real conversations, and not forcing users to listen long content. Focusing on the below-mentioned points will help you to design and create the best and frictionless VUI.
Invocation Name: Invocation is used to invoke or start a skill. Alexa skills developers keep it precise, meaningful, clear, and easy to remember as users have to call the skill’s name to invoke it. Ideally, a skill name should comprise two words and match with the whole invocation sentence. For instance, Alexa, Play Soft Music – Here, “Soft Music” is the invocation name.
Intent: Intent is simply each task or function performed by a skill. Different intents are used to perform different tasks. So, if there is a skill to turn on/off the AC, it may have one intent for turning on/off light and another for adding a new user.
Utterances: Utterances are the sentences that users can use to navigate to a particular intent or open a specific stage inside the skill. Due to the variation and flexibility of spoken language in the real world, there will probably be ample ways to express a request. So, make sure to write as many utterances as possible while building an Alexa skill. For example, if you develop an Alexa skill for Horoscope and users want to know their horoscope, utterances can be:
- What is the horoscope
- Get me my horoscope
- Tell me the horoscope
- How’s my horoscope today
Though Alexa is smart enough to automatically understand similar sentences, it is a good idea to add multiple utterances to a skill.
Designing for voice is way different than designing for a screen. The Alexa skill designers practice a real conversation like the one Alexa will initiate when a user gives a command before or during designing a skill.
The most important aspect of Alexa skills is that users never have to download them as they completely run on the cloud. They only need to enable them to leverage them.
When it comes to Alexa skill development, Amazon provides Alexa Skill Kit (ASK), which facilitates the development of the skills. There are majorly two sections for developing an Alexa Skill:
1. Amazon Developer Console: Amazon Developer Console offers the best Graphical User interface for creating Alexa skills. It contains information about Alexa skills, including invocation, intents, utterances, and endpoint. Using the Amazon Console, we can also distribute skills and set a Beta Test.
2. Backend: Since Alexa skills completely run on Cloud, they require a backend or an endpoint. We can either create it on AWS Lambda or Own Server.
a) AWS Lambda: It provides a ready-to-go setup, and we don’t have to create an SSL secured server.
b) Own Server: In this case, we need to have SSL enabled server running on port 443 only. We can use Flask or any other framework as a server.
The server will have to manage the JSON request from Alexa and also provide a JSON response. Both AWS Lambda and Own Server will perform the same functions internally.
Now, you’re familiar with all the ins and outs of how to develop an Alexa skill. If you’re seeking professional Alexa Skill development services, you can count on us. We will leverage our technical expertise and forward-thinking approach to providing you step-by-step guidance and voicing your business with a voice-enabled device integrated with the best Alexa skills.