Publication Date: 12/12/16 – Today I’m sharing a cross-post from developer Mark C. Webster explaining Alexa skill prototyping with Sayspring, a new tool he created and is currently making available for free to individual developers.
It’s understandable when developers don’t want to invest a lot of time experimenting with the Alexa development platform. There’s so much it can do, but since devs can’t yet charge for their skills it can seem like too big a time investment and risk to stray very far from template-based skills the developer knows will work. A rapid prototyping tool like Sayspring can open a whole new world of possibilities while keeping developer risk and time investment low.
Mark, take it away!
A Prototyping Tool for Voice Apps, Starting with Amazon Alexa
A great product experience can be hard to put into words, but most people know it when they see it. This is why interactive prototypes have become an essential part of designing websites and mobile apps.
About a decade ago, I discovered the power of prototyping while doing consulting work. Instead of reviewing flat design comps with a client, it was helpful to create something that simulated what they wanted. Once we had iterated our way to the right end result, only then would development begin. It led to happier clients, less frustration, and better products. That experience formed a belief I’ve held onto ever since:
Effective product development requires prototyping.
A Proven Way to Work, For A New Platform.
The value of prototyping visual interfaces on web and mobile has been proven by the growth of products like Invision, Marvel, and Adobe XD. With the rise of voice, we’re now on the verge of having to create interfaces that have no screen. That are spoken to, not clicked on or swiped.
Much like we all had to learn how to move from the desktop to phones, we’ll now have to do the same for voice. We’ll need to apply what we’ve learned works for screens, but with new tools built for voice.
Voice UI/UX Design, Simplified.
Sayspring is a WYSIWYG prototyping tool for designing voice-based user experiences.
Creating a prototype in Sayspring requires no coding, and there is nothing to deploy. You enter some speech, enable the Sayspring Alexa Skill, and it just works. This hasn’t been possible to do with Amazon Alexa until now.
Since Alexa isn’t tied to just one device, neither is your Sayspring prototype. You can use it in a web browser, via a mobile app, or through any Alexa-powered device such as an Echo or Dot.
Voice is Going to be Big.
As transformative as devices like the Amazon Echo will continue to be, the economic impact of voice will go far beyond them.
– The wearables market will drive $20 Billion in revenue next year.
– There will be 46 Million smart homes in North America in 2020.
– Over 60 Million connected cars will be on the road by 2020.
Being the most natural and intuitive form of communication, voice will become the primary interface for devices in all of these markets.
Sayspring Wants to Drive Voice Forward.
Sayspring was created to play two different roles in the new voice-powered ecosystem.
First is to support the process of creation: Voice UX needs to be designed, put in front of users, interacted with, and iterated on. To do that well, designers, product managers, and developers need the right tool. Sayspring is that tool.
But Sayspring is more than that. It is a canvas for new ideas, built to help others demonstrate the power that voice can bring to a client project, an established business, or a startup. To get something “real” in front of users, customers, bosses, or investors as early as possible. Removing the technical barriers to voice prototypes will open a floodgate of creativity.
Voice is just getting started, and so is Sayspring. The initial focus is on Amazon Alexa, but the plan is to support more platforms in the future, so stay tuned.
“Alexa, let’s get to work.”
Experience the power of prototyping for voice using Amazon Alexa. Create an account at sayspring.com to get started.
If you have any thoughts or questions, give me a shout on Twitter.
This post originally appeared on Medium.