Often when I'm working out or cooking, my hands would be busy and I would wish I could just ask Alexa to read me the most popular articles from the web from a particular topic.

What it does

Gives users the ability to ask for articles on any topic and the skill will find the most popular articles on the web on that topic and read it to them.

Users can say, "Read me an article about X." or "Read me an article about X that is about 5 minutes long." or they can simply say, "Read me an article." The skill will then search for the most popular article on that topic and within that time frame (if it was specified) and read it to them.

How I built it

I used AWS lamda, developed my own API. Write scripts to scrape the web for the most popular articles, did a lot of parsing, and wrote tons of tests to account for every interaction model path.

Challenges I ran into

There were quite a few challenges I encountered, considering this was my first foray into designing and developing a voice centered UX.

Some of the challenges included:

  • Accounting for as many interaction model path as possible.
  • Managing state and memory of previous actions was very interesting. I've developed frontend UX before, but the voice interface is very unique.
  • Over coming Alexa character limits
  • Over coming the lack of feed back data from users

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Although there were challenges, as listed above, I'm really proud that I was able to apply a good dose of creativity and technical savvy to overcome them and build a service I really enjoy using.

What I learned

Voice interaction is very different from what I was used to. It required quite a bit of change in thinking from a design and development process. But it's great. If it helps people save time, I'm all about that.

What's next for iconic media (ikhonic media)

V2. I'm really excited for V2. It's not ready for announcement yet, but it's going to be good :)

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