Product Release

Enabling More Customized Alexa Skill Development

Rob Hayes
|
July 29, 2022

Enabling More Customized Alexa Skill Development

Why are we changing our approach

If you’re building Alexa Skills on Voiceflow, you can expect to see some changes in the coming months that will help support you building bigger and better Skills for your users and customers.

As the Alexa platform continues to evolve, they’re launching new features and functionality every single year, and everyone building Skills wants to start using these ASAP. We hear these requests from our users all the time, and we want to enable this!

We’re changing our approach to supporting Alexa development, so you don’t need to wait until we’ve built 1:1 support for these features directly into the Voiceflow product, and instead can leverage them directly on Alexa itself, as soon as they’re available.

How will Alexa Projects on Voiceflow Change moving forward?

Moving forward, Alexa Projects will be focussed on the core dialog design of your Skills. We’re working on a growing set of features to design large-scale, context-specific, dynamic user interactions.

In order to take advantage Alexa-specific functionality, we’ll provide a generalize set of Steps to allow you to receive Events from Alexa, and send Directives. With this combination of functions, you can enable most of the functionality you’d find on the project previously (like APL, Permissions, User Information, ISP, etc.), and additionally support many of the features we haven’t ever supported natively on the Alexa Project (like Multimodal Responses, Interfaces, etc.).

Because we’re moving to the Event+Directive model for supporting custom Alexa functionality, we will begin sunsetting some custom steps and settings. Starting today, from the Steps Menu we will be removing:

  • Purchase/Cancel Purchase
  • Reminder
  • User Info
  • Permissions
  • Account Linking

And from the Settings, we will be removing configurations for:

  • Continue previous session
  • Allow users to repeat
  • Custom Interfaces
  • Skill model sensitivity
  • Alexa Skill events
  • Alexa Skill Information

What will happen to your existing Alexa projects?

These steps and settings will continue to function for all projects that are currently using them.

We will continue to support all the amazing Skills that have been built and launched on our platform to date using this functionality:

  • They will continue to function as part of your Skill
  • You can edit them in your projects via the design canvas and editors
  • If you need to add another to project, you can copy/paste and existing step

What can you expect moving forward?

We want to see Skills built on Voiceflow leverage all the amazing features and functions that the Alexa Team is building, including the laundry list of features announced at Live!

In addition to improved support for Alexa Events and Directives, we’ll be introducing new ways for VF projects to leverage this as part of your development, and support that with all the documentation and tutorials you need to put it into action.

Can’t wait to see what you build!

Any questions? Our support team is always ready to help at support@voiceflow.com