Amazon gears up on Thursday (Feb. 15) to roll out the largest overhaul of its Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console since it launched in 2015.
According to news from TechCrunch, the new console is being rebuilt to improve developers’ workflow by offering separate sections for developers to build, test a skill, launch it and then measure its response. The report noted the eCommerce giant’s move comes as third-party companies have been working to fill the gap where Amazon’s tools were falling short. TechCrunch pointed to one company, Sayspring, which created a visual interface for designers who want to make a mock-up of their voice app before coding. Storyline, another startup, also lets developers create an Alexa skill without coding.
“We’re constantly introducing new features for developers to enhance skill building and management, and one piece of feedback we received from developers was for a simplification of the workflow,” Amazon’s Paul Cutsinger, head of Alexa Voice Design Education, said. “We took developer feedback and used it to improve the site structure and information architecture. The new developer console makes navigation easier with an updated and integrated user interface.” TechCrunch noted the overhauled Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console is still in beta stage.
Amazon’s update comes as Alexa and her skills are growing in popularity. At the end of last year, the number of Alexa’s skills surpassed the 25,000 mark in the U.S. According to voicebot.ai, a news website, Amazon had been promoting the availability of 25,000 Alexa skills in the U.S. but was only able to surpass that mark thanks to Cumulus, which announced 300 new Alexa skills in Dec. 2017.
According to its data, Alexa’s skill count growth had been increasing until it hit 20,000, at which point it slowed down and took longer to hit the next 5,000 threshold. The growth rate increased from Nov. 2016 to Sept. 2017, but then slowed during the last three months of the year.