Dustin Coates in Alexa

Quick Tip: Inverted questions on Alexa skills

A quick tip today, but it covers something I rarely see discussed.

How are skills launched? Something like, “Alexa, ask Houston Baseball to tell me the next time Houston plays.” Maybe the user says “talk to Houston Baseball for…” or “tell Houston Baseball to…” But that’s the general gist. Except, that would make for a boring blog post.

In fact, users can also invert the questions. Here are some examples:

- Alexa, get the latest score using Houston Baseball
- Alexa, what are the standings from Houston Baseball?

With this form, we’ve got wake word, action connecting word invocation name. The connection word must be one of using, from, by, in, or with.

In seeing people use Alexa, I can’t remember a time I’ve seen someone ask a question in this way. On the other hand, I know that I’ve never seen a developer take this into account when building their sample utterances. Next time you are, ask youself if you’re considering all the different skill launch formats.