Inspiration

I wanted to participate in WWPHacks and since there is no project theme I was thinking of what to build. Since the hacking time was only 24 hours I needed to come up with an idea fast and also an idea which can be implemented fast. When I was thinking I got an idea of a challenge taking project. Later the idea of challenges turned into good habits. From a month or two ago I've been very interested in Alexa skills and the industry of voice skills is growing fast. So, I created an Alexa skill for the idea I got.

What it does

One Week Habits is an Alexa Skill. In One Week Habits you find different good habits like waking up, cleaning the house etc. These habits are implemented in a challenging way, you need to follow them for 7 days at the same time everyday. From the list of habits you can choose one, then you are asked for the time which is most suitable. Then the One Week Habits Alexa skill sets reminders for the next 7 days. Furthermore, information will be provided on how to implement the habits.

On the specific days at the specific times Alexa will remind you with - "Here's your reminder, Today is Day 1 of your new habit, tidying up."

Then you need to follow it.

Also the number of weeks you follow these habits will be tracked and you can find the statistics. This way it's like a game with yourself which benefits your physical and mental health, qualities and much more.

How I built it

The skill was built using Voiceflow, Google sheets and Alexa Developer Console.

The basic features in voiceflow was used for the basic functionality of the skill. In addition, the Alexa Reminders API was used to set reminders.

The statistics count, and also calculations of the 7 day timers are done using Google Sheets. The data captured in the variables in voiceflow are created in Google Sheets. Then are later retrieved when needed.

The APL (interface on Echo show devices) was created using Amazon Developer Console's multimedia response editor.

Use of Project

One Week Habits help in self-improvement. Anyone can follow these habits and improve their lifestyle and good qualities. All these habits are beneficial and would bring better results if followed everyday.

Visuals

This skill does have a visual interface (APL). It was created in the Alexa Developer Console. Some of the APL Design images can be seen in the images above.

How to use it

This Alexa skill can be used by just saying, "Alexa, open One Week Habits" However this skill is not yet available in the Alexa Skill Store as Amazon takes few days for the process of reviewing the skill, certification and publishing on the skill store. So, within the next week it will be available on the Alexa skill store in the locales: en-US, en-UK, en-AU, en-CA and en-IN.

The basic processes can be tried out as a Voiceflow prototype (link below). Please note setting up reminders won't work in the Voiceflow prototype as it needs to run on an Alexa device for it.

Challenges I ran into

I ran into many challenges.

  1. Creating and Retrieving data in Google sheets is a difficult process, therefore recurring processes leads the skill to crash. So, I had to do many calculations using javascript and only send the most necessary data to Google sheets.

  2. Timezone issues. I faced an issue when setting reminders. When reminders are set the reminders had to be set based on the user's timezone, however in my skill the reminders were set based on my timezone. So, I had to find a method to get the device id and get the device's timezone using an API. This was a difficult process and it took a lot of time.

  3. The hacking time was small and I had to create a video, make the submission form etc. I also worked on another project for another hackathon and it took few hours too. So, it was really difficult to manage time.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud of being able to successfully build a working skill. Also I am proud of all the API's and code I wrote to do difficult processes which I've never done before.

What I learned

I learned regarding a lot more that I didn't know about Alexa skill development including the use of integrations to make the skill better.

What's next for One Week Habits

I need to get the skill certified. Also I am expecting to add more habits that varies in different categories.

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