4 Challenges For Any Amazon Echo Developer

Apr 25, 2017 | 1872 Views

Conversational UI is revolutionizing how we interact with technology. Even if you aren't personally convinced, all the major powerhouses of technology are. Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have all invested heavily in messaging apps and conversational AI.

Amazon takes conversational experiences even further with their successful Echo product, an connected speaker with far-field microphone technology, access to all of Amazon's e-commerce capabilities, and a smart AI assisted named Alexa. On the Echo, all commands are delivered vocally, free of hands or devices, which differentiates their voice UI experience from text-driven Messenger bots, iMessage mini-app windows, invasive Slackbots, and the device-specific experiences of Siri or Cortana.

Here at TOPBOTS, we've built conversational and voice UI experiences on several platforms‚??-‚??including Messenger, Slack, and the Amazon Echo‚??-‚??and have had the opportunity to compare the developer experience across them. Despite the potential of Alexa's pervasive and invisible UI, the device is one of the least friendly platforms for an Amazon Echo developer to built on.

Here are four important reasons why:


Invocation phrases are unique verbal sentences that are used to activate your particular Skill on the Echo. They're already inherently tricky to design since voice recognition and interpretation can be volatile, but the Echo adds an extra hurdle for developers to overcome.

The vast majority of Echo customers have Amazon Prime, which means they also have access to the entire digital music library in Prime Music. This is an epic feature from the user perspective, but as a Amazon Echo developer of Alexa Skills, user access to such a gigantic musical database means that whatever invocation phrase you choose for your Skill is very likely to conflict with a random song, album, playlist, or artist.

Earlier this summer, we released a guided meditation Skill for Echo called "Clear Mind". This skill would allow you to choose between three different kinds of guided meditations: Breath Awareness, Relaxation, or Loving Kindness. Turns out there was organic demand and excitement for this Skill, but we still ended up with a bunch of 1-star ratings in the Alexa Store. Read More

Source: Topbots