With the launch of Alexa Blueprints, Amazon Echo owners — as well as marketers looking to break into the Alexa space — are now able to build their own Alexa Skills.
With Alex Blueprints, you can produce family trivia games and tell stories to whoever cares to listen. You can even build Alexa Skills to engage employees and improve the customer experience. Oh, and you don’t have to write a single line of code, either. In this post, we’ll show you how you can create your own Alexa Skill via Alexa Blueprints in just 5 minutes.
What Are Alexa Blueprints?
Amazon have created an Alexa Skill building platform that enables you to create an Alexa Skill in the easiest way possible. All you need to do is log in to the Alexa Blueprints site with your Amazon account details and simply select the type of skill you want to build.
It follows a very simple process, similar to completing a short online form. Users can choose from a range of pre-filled templates and observe examples whilst they build their skill.
Related Article: Introducing Alexa Blueprints: A Codeless Way To Build Alexa Skills
Creating Your Own Alexa Skill Quiz in 5 Minutes
For the sake of this guide, we’re building a Quiz skill using the Quiz Blueprint. Let’s get started.
1. Choose a Skill
When creating your own Alexa Skill, you must choose a skill category. In this example we’re building a Quiz skill, so we chose the Trivia category.
Upon selecting the Trivia category, you will be directed to a page where you’ll see a sample recording of the Alexa Skill that you chose, along with the transcript underneath. This demo gives you an idea of how the skill will work.
2. Add Content to Your Skill
Once you have chosen your skill category, it is now time to add your content. On the Trivia category page, that we have chosen, you’ll see a button that says “Make Your Own”. Select this button and you’ll be directed to a page with a pre-populated template.
Now, you can add a custom intro to your skill, accompanied by a pre-set sound effect. Plus, we can change the pre-populated questions and answers and make a quiz about absolutely anything.
For our sample question, we wanted to ask our quiz participants:
“Who won the academy award for best actress in the year 2010?”.
The answer is Sandra Bullock, but we can also add an optional follow-up fact if the user answers the question correctly. In this case, we used the following:
"She won best actress for her role in the movie The Blind Side, which told the story of football player Michael Oher."
Related Article: 7 Things Businesses Should Know About Alexa in the Workplace
3. Customize Your Experience
Once you’ve added your questions, answers and optional fun-facts, it's time to customize. Click on “Next: Experience” on the top right-hand corner of the screen and you will be directed to the next page where you can customize the greeting message, sounds your skill makes, and how your Alexa Skill responds to both correct and incorrect answers.
Using this same interface, you can also add custom messages when somebody wins, and add background images for use on Amazon Echo Show devices, which have screens.
4. Name Your Skill
Once you’re happy with your content and skill experience, then you just need to name your Alexa Skill. Since Alexa is still learning how to compute first and last names, it is best to use general terms to enable your Echo device to open your quiz without experiencing any troubleshooting problems.
5. Create and Use Your Skill
Once you have named your skill, click on the “Create Skill” button located at the top right-hand corner of the interface, and Alexa Blueprints will create your skill. You may be prompted to sign back into your Amazon account where it will take you to the “Skills You’ve Made” page.
It will take a couple of minutes for Alexa Blueprints to create your skill, but once it has been made, it will be ready for you, your family, your friends, your employees or even your customers to use.
Some Drawbacks to Alexa Blueprints
Whilst Alexa Blueprints will reinvigorate some novelty back into Amazon Echo devices, there are some limitations. Due to its simplicity, users are limited to what skills they can create, and you can’t go too crazy with the responses you program. For example, if you want your Quiz skill to play a sound during the intro, you’re limited to the sounds Amazon makes available to you.
So, you’re definitely looking at limited functionality here, compared to an Alexa Skill built from scratch. Furthermore, for now at least, Alexa Blueprints can’t be shared, and can only be used on Echo devices registered with your Amazon account. However, we can safely assume that Amazon will look to change that in the foreseeable future.
Have you built an Alexa Skill yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.