Echo Look (Product and VUI Design)

Echo Look (Product and VUI Design)

I was hired to help a fledgling product team transform their initial concept lab pitch into a production-worthy multimodal design for an entirely new hardware product category at Amazon. Problem statement How might we create a completely new experience that helps customers manage their wardrobes, combining natural user interfaces with traditional user interfaces and Amazon shopping technology? At the time I was hired, a concept lab team had identified a product opportunity combining fashion with natural user interfaces, and had received funding for a small pod of full time employees to work on the concept as a secretive, "tented" project team.…
Read More
Alexa Skill: My Countdown

Alexa Skill: My Countdown

My second published Alexa skill was born from a request from a dear friend. We were planning a joint family trip to Disney World, and my goddaughter wanted to know how long until the big day. Wouldn't it be nice to have a skill to make it easier for her mom to answer that question? Have an Alexa device? Enable the My Countdown skill for free today! The design process for this skill was somewhat unique. I initially designed the skill as the core example around which I built the sample deliverables for my now world-renowned voice design workshop, Giving…
Read More
Alexa: Do Not Disturb

Alexa: Do Not Disturb

In parallel with our efforts on Alexa Notifications, I was asked to drive the completion of the Do Not Disturb feature. DND applied not just to Notifications but to Communications (calls/messaging), which meant a separate team of stakeholders and faster deadlines than the longer-term Notifications project. As with Alexa Notifications, I led the design side of this effort in partnership with Carl Mekala (and Sharbani Roy) from the product management team. This was my most "traditional" VUI design engagement during my time on the Alexa team - while some was new-product (Echo Look) and some was more systems design (Notifications/Interrupt…
Read More
Alexa Skill: Trainer Tips

Alexa Skill: Trainer Tips

When I joined the Alexa team, the Skills store was still in its infancy. One of my first responsibilities on the team was to perform skill submission reviews, which gave me a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the early Skills platform. Still, I wanted to learn more deeply, and the best way to do that was to dive back into coding and develop my own Alexa skill. Do you have an Alexa device? Install the Trainer Tips skill for free! I developed Trainer Tips in early 2016, and it was one of the first 1000 skills approved…
Read More