question

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Galactoise asked

FlashBriefing preamble incorrectly interprets length in developer console

Currently, the FlashBriefing preamble is limited to 70 characters (and error message to 100), in order to avoid a lengthy introduction. This makes great sense from the perspective a user listening to a series of news clips - signal-to-noise ratio here should be high for the best user experience. However,

  • GIVEN that the purpose of a max preamble length is to effectively bound the length of the voice output
  • GIVEN that the markup in a SSML phoneme tag has no effect on the length of the voice output
  • ERGO, I assert that the max-length calculation should ignore markup

The problem arises when you realize that:

<phoneme alphabet="ipa" ph="test">test</phoneme>

takes up 49 characters by itself, leaving only 21 characters remaining to write the rest of your phrase, and this is for a fairly short word. (For reference, the gold standard of Flash Briefing skills, NPR, has a fairly short preamble of "In NPR news from tune in" which is 24 characters).

The web form should instead only increment by the number of characters inside the ph attribute, as that is closely tied to the phonetic length of the voice output.

alexa skills kitskillflash briefingssml
10 |5000

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1 Answer

Galactoise avatar image
Galactoise answered

Upon further testing, it seems ssml is not supported in those fields. It works in the developer console, but not in a live skill. I'm almost certain, however, that the documents previously listed that SSML was allowed in those two fields, although they now show nothing of the sort.

1 comment
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I've also run into this issue - it's critical that Alexa pronounces our company's name correctly in the preamble, before we can publish the skill.

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