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Alexa Live notes

kini profile image Joaquín Engelmo Originally published at kinisoftware.com on ・3 min read

Alexa Live notes

My notes about some sessions from Alexa Live 2019 conference. All info here

How to shift from screen-first to voice-first design

  • Principles
    • Be adaptable
      • Use lots of utterances and variations
      • Slots and synonymous
    • Be personal
      • Remember user information
      • Context & Situation
      • Think on retention
    • Be relatable
      • Be concise and straight to the point
      • In-skill purchases
    • Be available
      • Voice is everywhere
      • Take the initiative & lead the conversation
      • Don't try to convert a flow chart experience, categories and so on to a voice-fist experience
  • Design artefacts in a canvas - Storyboard (Adobe XD and Amazon templates)
    • Happy path
    • What happens when an user return to your skill
    • Alexa should remember previous information
    • Living documentation

Tailor your Alexa skill responses to deliver truly personal experiences (dev blog post)

The goal is to hide the technology behind the experience and being natural

  • Personal Experience
    • Answer any question only once
    • Preferences should become defaults
    • Context is kept thought sessions
    • Language should feel natural
    • Users feels their experience is unique
  • How would you create a personal experience in Alexa?
    • Memory
      • Session Attributes
      • Example: Different error messages depending on an error counter
      • Persistent Attributes
      • User information
      • Time Zones & Measurements
      • Customer Profile API
      • Account Linking
    • Variety
      • Randomization
      • Contextualization
      • Language adaptation
      • Localization & I18n
    • Localization

How to build your first great Alexa skill

  • Technologies provided by Alexa
    • Speech recognition
    • Machine Learning
    • Natural Language Understanding
    • Text to Speech
  • Understanding the SDK
    • Handlers
  • Turn-by-turn conversation
    • Ask Follow-up questions
    • Auto-delegation
  • Memory
  • Amazon API > Settings API

Alexa Skill Developer Tools: Build better skills faster

  • Design
    • Core values
      • Unconstrained user input
      • Sequential presentation
      • Ephemeral data
      • Text input is easy
    • Principles
      • Be adaptable
      • In grammar vs out of grammar
      • Be contextual
      • Be careful with random answers
      • Session attributes
      • Be available
      • Wide top level UI, not nested menus
  • Build
    • SMAPI
    • ASK CLI
    • VS Code integration
    • AWS CodeStar
  • Test
    • Test events for Lambda code using JSON from simulator
    • Beta testing
      • Pulselabs
  • Launch
    • Analytics
      • Interaction Path

Best practices for testing your Alexa Skills (dev blog post)

All code is guilty until proven innocent

  • Automation FTW
  • Types of testing
    • Unit testing
    • E2E
    • Continuous testing & monitoring
    • Usability performance testing

How to write great dialogs for Alexa Skills (dev blog post)

  • Situational design
  • Brevity is King
  • Storyboard (Amazon templates for Adobe XD)
    • Start with your happy path
  • Be adaptable
  • Be brief
  • Handle confirmations
    • Implicit vs Explicit
  • Avoid voice menus
  • Error recovery > try to prevent errors in the first place!
  • Contextual errors
  • When to say sorry
  • Voice quality
    • SSML, punctuations & grammar rules
    • Split personality

Discussion

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