We’re thrilled to announce the Alexa Skills Challenge: Multimodal with Devpost, an opportunity for you to build an Alexa multimodal skill using the Alexa Presentation Language (APL) and compete for cash prizes and Amazon devices. We invite you to build a voice-first multimodal experience that customers can enjoy across tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices with screens. In addition to helping push the boundaries of what's possible with voice-first visual experiences, you can compete for cash prizes. You can also earn a new Amazon device by just publishing an eligible APL skill. Start building APL skills and enter the challenge by January 22.
What Makes a Great Multimodal Skill?
People embrace voice because it’s simple, natural, and conversational. Multimodal skills add additional input and output options when a screen is present in order to:
- Adapt skills to work on different devices. You can optimize your designs and experience based on the type of device to deliver the right experience, from focused personal information delivery on Echo Spot to communal, larger screen experiences on Fire TV.
- Add easily glanceable, complementary information. You can display images, text, and overlays to communicate requested information at a glance, and provide more detail than is possible with voice alone.
- Simplify navigation of large data sets. You can display large amounts of information and help people quickly review options and choose – using scrolling and selection by voice or touch.
- Create immersive and delightful experiences. You can build engaging experiences that your customers can sit back and watch, or lean into to get things done.
Build for Voice, Visuals, and Touch with the Alexa Presentation Language
APL is a new design language built from the ground up for creating voice-first, multimodal Alexa skills. Optimized for Alexa-enabled devices, APL also ensures that your skills can reach tens of millions of customers on Echo Spot, Echo Show, and Fire TV. With APL, you have the flexibility to enhance your skill experience for different device types, control your user experience by defining where visual elements are placed on screens, and choose a variety of components available with APL that are best suited for your content. You can build reusable layouts, apply reusable styles, and use multimodal features such as speech synchronization, slideshows, and more. Starting in December, you’ll be able to use the Video components in your APL documents. If you’d like to include videos in your APL skill, start building now and plan to add videos later in December. We’ll let you know on the blog when the Video component is available.
Challenge Judging Criteria
Please note that your skill must use APL and include at least one APL document. Skills that use the display interface or include any display templates will disqualify. To disable the display interface, go to the skill developer portal, select your skill, select the Interfaces section in the Build tab and turn off the Display interface. Additionally, the challenge judges will evaluate each submission on the following criteria:
- Quality of the Idea, including originality of the idea and how creatively the developer optimized the skill experience for multiple devices
- Quality of the User Experience, including the visual design, whether it performs as expected, works well across device types, and more
- Potential Impact of the Idea, including the extent to which the skill is widely useful, might be customizable, might be extended to other scenarios, and more
- Quality of the Submission Package, including quality of the description, video demo, and any other materials submitted to Devpost
Read the rules section on Devpost for more details.
What You’re Competing for
All eligible participants will take home an Amazon Echo Dot and a Fire TV Stick 4K bundle for a brand new skill and an Amazon Echo Dot for updated skill (participants from outside of the US will receive an Amazon gift card of equivalent value).
After the submission period ends, we will select 10 finalists who will each take home $5,000. During the final round, Amazon will promote the finalist skills to Alexa customers across multiple channels to get customer feedback and drive engagement for your skills. The best skill from the finalist pool will take home the grand prize of $20,000, in addition to their finalist prize.
More Ways to Win: Bonus Prizes
In addition to the grand prize winner, we will select 14 additional bonus prizes winners across two categories—Content and International. You could be eligible to win up to one bonus prize in each category.
Content Bonus Prizes – Winners of these bonus prizes will receive $3,000 and need not be a finalist:
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Living Room Experience (examples: Fire TV, home entertainment, family games, etc.)
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Kitchen Experience (examples: cooking demos, appliance integrations, etc.)
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Bedtime Experience (examples: bedtime stories, sleep meditation, etc.)
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Morning Experience (examples: alarm clocks, traffic report, etc.)
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Kids Skill Experience (examples: educational, entertaining, interactive skills aimed toward children 13 and younger)
- Bonus Prize - Best Multimodal Experience with In-Skill Purchases
International Bonus Prizes – Winners of these bonus prizes will receive $3,000 and need not be a finalist. Skills competing for International Bonus Prizes must be entered on the competition website, submitted for certification in that country’s skills store before the end of the submission period, and support the primary language for that country or region.
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, Germany Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, France Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, India Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, UK Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, Australia Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, Mexico Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, Spain Skills Store
- Bonus Prize – Best Multimodal Experience, Italy Skills Store
All prizes are split between team members, or hoarded if the winning skill was built by just one person. To be eligible, skills must be built using APL, submitted in English for the US Alexa Skills Store (excluding International Bonus Prizes), and accompanied by a complete submission package.
Resources to Help You Get started
Check out the following resources to learn APL and prepare for the challenge.
- Live Webinar: Register for our upcoming live webinar Build Winning Multimodal Skills with the Alexa Presentation Language. We’ll share tips and best practices to help you kick-start your challenge submission, and we’ll show you how to migrate your existing multimodal skills built with display templates over to APL.
- Sample Skill Repository: Check out the Alexa skill-building cookbook for a new APL sample skill a called “Space Explorer.” Use Space Explorer to jumpstart your APL skill creation. In the cookbook, you can access all of the skill’s APL documents with notes sharing best practices.
- Find Partners: If you are looking for a team member, visit the Alexa Skills category on Fiverr.com to find designers and developers that are excited to build APL skills.
- On-Demand Webinar: Watch Getting Started with the Alexa Presentation Language to learn the basics of APL.
- On-Demand Webinar: Watch Advanced Template Building with the Alexa Presentation Language to watch an Alexa evangelist build an APL skill live using advanced techniques.
- Read technical documentation
Enter the Multimodal Skills Challenge Now
Round 1 begins now! Publish your APL skill and submit your challenge entry to Devpost by January 22. Submit sooner and take advantage of more time to get customer ratings and feedback from friends and family to improve your skill as needed. In round 2, we will promote the 10 finalists’ skills and customer engagement will become part of the judging criteria. We’ll announce the winners in March 2019.
We can’t wait to see what you build with APL!
Source: Alexa Developer Blog