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Skill Functionality Essentials: Audio Core Functionality

Audio skills are some of the most sought-after skills by our users and it is essential that the core functionality of these skills is top notch to ensure a great user experience. An ideal audio skill should play error free and uninterrupted audio files. It should also fulfill the customer request and play content relevant to skill description.

Here is an example of a good user experience with an audio skill.

User: Alexa open mango music
Skill: Welcome to Mango music, to listen to live music say, play live music, to view all available playlists, say view play lists
User: play live music <skill plays live music>

It is essential that a skill plays music as per user request (in this case live music or playlists) and it should be relevant to the skill description. Let’s have a look at another example for this use case. For the below skill, the skill description states that the skill plays songs from the sixties.

User: "Alexa open sixties hits"
Skill: "Now you are listening to sixties hits" < skill plays the baby one more time by Britney Spears>

This is a bad user experience as even though the skill did play a song, it did not play the songs which are mentioned in the skill description. The user would have enabled the skill expecting that it would play sixties hits. However, the skill does not fulfill the user request completely in this case and is misleading. To offer a delightful customer experience, the skill must ensure that it plays content appropriate to the skill description, for example:

The skill description for this states that the skill plays Michael Jackson hits.

User: Alexa open MJ hits
Skill: Welcome to MJ hits, to listen to some of Michael Jackson’s best hits, say play

User: Play <skill plays Thriller by Michael Jackson>

This is a good example of fulfilling user request by the skill and will always ensure customer delight.


How to fix audio core functionality issues?

We can verify that the core functionality of audio skills is fulfilled by ensuring that the skill provides relevant audio content as mentioned in the description. Secondly, developers should also check if public access to the stream URL is consistently live, and served over HTTPS to establish a secure connection.

Below is a quick checklist to avoid core functionality issues while building skills:

  1. Skill should provide relevant, error free audio content as mentioned in the description.
  2. It should fulfill the user request.
  3. Ensure that public access to the stream URL is consistently live, and served over HTTPS to establish a secure connection.

Check out this link for further information on core functionality for audio skills, https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/audioplayer-interface-reference.html#audio-stream-requirements

Happy Skill Building!

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