Example phrases for Alexa skills are important because they give users information about how to interact with a skill. When creating these phrases, you want to ensure that you structure them precisely in order to show users exactly what they can say to invoke your skill with a specific intent. As part of this, you should include sample utterances taken directly from your skill’s intents.
A simple example phrase can be broken down into different components, which include the following:
[Wake Word], [Launch Word] [Invocation Name] [Connecting Word] [Utterance]
- Wake word: This is “Alexa” by default on Alexa devices, but can be adjusted by customers based on their preferences. Feel free to use “Alexa” as the wake word in your example phrases.
- Launch word: This includes a number of starting phrases like "open," "ask," "start," "launch," "begin," "talk to," "run," “load,” and more. You can find more details here.
- Invocation name: This is the name you have chosen to invoke your skill. For more information, read through our documentation on invocation name requirements.
- Connecting word: These are words which connect the launch word to utterances and include "and," "to," "for,” “when,” and more. For a full list of connecting words and to know how connecting words work with the example phrases, please see Understanding How Users Invoke Custom Skills. While this component can be omitted, including it would be more natural for customers to understand.
- Utterance: These are required and should be modeled based on the sample utterances within your interaction model.
It’s crucial that the utterance portion of the structure above matches one of the sample utterances within your skill’s intent schema. If your intents/sample utterances contain slots, and you use one of those in your example phrases, the slots in the utterance must be filled in with valid slot values. This way, when a user invokes your skill with an example phrase, they are routed to the correct intent or intent and slot within your skill, and thus receive the appropriate response.
Here we can see a GetNewFactIntent within a Space Facts skill, and it contains a few sample utterances:
And here we can see that some of those sample utterances (“a fact” and “give me a fact”) are part of the example phrases:
Remember, example phrases for your skill can be found on the “Distribution” tab under “Skill Preview”. For more information on example phrases, take a look at this link.
We also highly recommend testing your example phrases before submitting your skill for certification. This can help you identify any issues beforehand and ensure that your skill provides a positive customer experience. Check out our documentation on this topic for more details.