How to create an Amazon Alexa Skill with Blueprints
Creating an Amazon Alexa Skill with Blueprints is easy, as all it requires is starting from a Blueprint on Amazon’s own blueprints site. Heed the banner at the top as shown in the above screenshot, if your Amazon account is based outside the U.S., then navigate to your own country’s Amazon Blueprints site. You also need to make sure you’re logged into the account connected to your Echo, and you can then choose from a ton of different Blueprints to get started. You can create stories, greeting cards, trivia games, or even just set up custom responses to questions that you may ask Alexa at a later date. We’ll start by creating a custom “question and answer” Skill.
Step 1: Choose your skill
In this instance, we’ve chosen the “Custom Q&A” skill. You can read how it works, and even play back a sample to hear a sample question and a sample answer. We’re going to make it so that when we ask Alexa what’s the best technology website, she answers XDA-Developers. Click Make your own to begin.
Step 2: Add your question
The next step is to add your question so Alexa can understand what you want to ask. You should also add additional ways to ask the same question since you might not necessarily speak the same way all the time. “What’s the best technology website” and “what’s the best tech site” are two different ways to say the same thing, but without adding the extra one, Alexa will only understand one of them in the context of this particular Skill.
You can also add other questions within the same menu, so if you have other questions you think would be suited to the Skill you’re making, now is the time to do so. You can make Alexa answer anything that you want, to anything that you ask, so think outside of the box!
Step 3: Wait
You’ll now need to wait for Amazon to process and save your skill to your account, though this only takes a few minutes. If you didn’t previously have an Amazon developer portal account, you’ll be asked to create one here. Simply click “update account” and you’re ready to go. The above page will update to say, “your skill is ready to use and edit” when it’s ready to go.
Step 4: Test out your new skill!
You can now test out your new skill, and if all goes well, it should work perfectly. We’ve included an audio clip of our Skill that we created working below.
Other Skills you can make
This is merely scratching the surface. There are so many skills you can make and try out. If you’re particularly proud of the Skill that you’ve created, you can even publish it on the Alexa Skill Store. However, suppose you want to get your hands dirty and actually develop your own Skills rather than just using Blueprints. In that case, you can do so by following the company’s developer documentation. There are a ton of programming languages that it supports, so be sure to check it out to learn more. The beauty of Alexa Skills is that thousands of them are out there. You can easily search for them on the Alexa App or head to alexa.amazon.com to browse through a selection of categories.
To test out your own Skills, you’ll need an Alexa-powered device. There are a ton of great Echo devices on the market, but we recommend picking up an Echo Dot. They’re super affordable and are a great way to get started in the Amazon ecosystem.
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)
The new Echo Dot speakers have slightly upgraded speakers for better audio quality, a new temperature sensor, an accelerometer, and built-in Eero to add more coverage to a compatible network.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)
If you want a bit more functionality with your Echo Dot, this option comes with a clock. This model features an improved LED display and upgraded speaker.