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Watch your step: the little pitfalls to avoid when developing your Alexa skill

As mentioned in our Step-by-Step guide post which you can read here, our skills development and certification process wasn’t all a bed of roses- so after facing numerous rejections and tweaking before our skill finally went live, we’ve drafted this post today to list the pitfalls we found ourselves in- just so to make sure you won’t be joining us in them!

These are just those that we’ve experienced, and there may be many other pitfalls we’ve narrowly avoided; so feel free to holler at us to add in any others you’ve come across or experienced @wisqosmart!

#1: Inappropriate design elements of your skills landing page

This is absolutely important, as the skills testing by Amazon cannot proceed without a skills landing page that’s met Amazon’s standards.

Do note that the skills landing page should not include any Amazon related logo, and must include a working link to your privacy policy & terms of use.

All links included should also not open as popups or JavaScript to ensure that they open as per normal when the mobile app is used.

#2 Incomplete testing instructions

Within the Testing Instructions section, you must include a fully functional testing account for the Alexa smart home skills certification team to test your skill with.

You are not required to send any products over to Amazon to conduct the testing, which is where the testing account comes into play- ensure that the account is already linked to a set of your Amazon Alexa-enabled products and keep the linked devices online at all times during the timeframe set for the testing to allow for testing by the Amazon skills certification team.

#3 Error in the multi-language settings

You will be able to enable your published skills in all countries & languages which Amazon Echo supports, but do ensure that the Lambda function is correctly selected and stated: US East (N. Virginia) for English (US) skills, and EU (Ireland) for English (UK) and German (DE) skills. If the Lambda function is incorrectly selected, the skills certification team will not be able to locate the devices you have linked for the account to proceed with their testing.

#4 Timeframe set by Amazon for the testing

Amazon has stated that the results of the testing will be made known to developers within seven (7) working days, but note that this does not include the day the skill was submitted to Amazon and the day that Amazon will send you the email informing you of the results. This means that the total time taken for the results to reach is actually nine (9) working days. This has been the standard time which Amazon has taken to get back to us, with the exception of once out of our four contacts with Amazon where they had come back to us in three (3) working days.

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