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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta asked

Anyone else getting bad advice from the app certifiers?

I put in the "Knock, Knock" sample for certification. They came back with a few pedantic things, but some of the "advice" they gave was just plain wrong or misinformed. I had utterances for all the expected joke responses, but since it's easy for the user to mis-hear something, I also had a generic utterance that matched anything said to a slot. They said that since I didn't pay attention to it anyway, I should remove it. When I did, all unknown utterances got mapped to the QUIT slot, giving a terribly user experience. One of their suggestions was to just read the joke to the user if they get confused, instead of call and response. I had to inform them that, unlike Alexa's own built in jokes, us poor skill developers can't insert pauses into our text stream. Therefore the cadence would be off and their suggestion was unimplementable. The most annoying thing is that there was no information about workflow or "what to do next". I couldn't make the edits they requested because the fields were locked. Was I supposed to "remove from certification"? They never answered the e-mail I sent back. But eventually the skill randomly popped back to "Edit" mode. So I've made the possible updates, but I still have no answers to the questions I asked. I feel like I'm just rolling the dice and hoping I get a cluefull auditor next time. What are other people's experience?
alexa skills kitsubmission testing certification
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Matt Kruse avatar image
Matt Kruse answered
I haven't submitted an app for cert yet, because I don't have anything ready yet that I feel is truly novel or useful. Are you (and others) submitting novelty apps, like knock knock jokes? I mean, that's a fine thing to play around with, but is it really something someone will want to install? I'm not criticizing. I'm just wondering if I'm thinking about certification in a different way than others. Maybe I should write some "simpler" apps and push them through certification, just to learn the process. I've been holding off until I have a few apps that I feel are really robust and unique and that others would really want to use.
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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
I'm working on a "serious" app. It's just there was a July 16th deadline to get apps in to get a $25 reward. My serious app wasn't going to be ready in time so I figured I'd put in knock-knock. It's a toy, to be sure. But it might be vaguely amusing. Of course it looks like I'll miss that deadline anyway, because of their unclear and unhelpful certification process.
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memo@amazon avatar image
memo@amazon answered
Hello jjaquinta, We appreciate the time you have invested in your Alexa Skills. Thanks to your feedback, we are actively improving thecertification and communication experience. In the near future, we will be releasing Alexa Skills certification and submission guidelines.
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April L. Hamilton avatar image
April L. Hamilton answered
@jjaquinta - I've been through several cert rounds on all three of the Skills I've scripted to date. While no specific direction was given, since I've also got Android apps listed in Amazon's Android App Store and the overall workflow seemed similar, I just assumed the next step after getting a change request was to "remove from certification", make the changes, then re-submit. @MattKruse - RE: "play around with" Skills, I think you're overlooking the truism that early adopters want to be able to show off their new toys. How many of the early hit iPad apps, and particularly the apps shown in the first iPad ads, were very practical, or productivity-based? Oh sure, in those early ads there was a token nod to "hey, you can look at your spreadsheets and documents, too!" but nobody I know among early iPad adopters were using the device that way. No, what they all wanted was to get that virtual guitar app and The Elements app so they could show all their friends that they had that cool new thingie from the new Apple ad, and could do the same cool stuff that was shown in the ad. "Dumb Alexa tricks" posts are consistently the most popular on my Echo site. It seems one of Echo owners' favorite things to do is ask Alexa a question just to hear a funny or unexpected response. Total waste of time, but it's [i]fun[/i] and it's [i]show-offable[/i]. To the engineer's mindset the Echo is a wellspring of tech inter-connectivity and productivity potential. But it's important not to lose sight of why most people are buying these things: because they want the Star Trek computer, they want Tony Stark's Jarvis. So when your friends come over, how do you create the illusion that you've got an actual AI device in your home, in the absence of all those pricey, smart-home, IoT devices to hook your Echo into---and in light of the fact that there are so few IoT integrations to date? You ask Alexa to tell you a knock knock joke. Or to play rock paper scissors lizard spock. Or to give the correct response to a Monty Python quote. And your friends go, "Wow! That's SO cool!" And then at least a few of them go order an Echo. It's the "playing around" Skills that are going to sell more Echos, just as "playing around" apps sold the first generation of iPads. Message was edited by: April L. Hamilton
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