The idea for the skill, comes from everyone in the team. We are all working from home and work has really started to take over our lives, most of us are working longer now than we were when prior to lockdown. We wondered what we can add to our daily routines that can help boost our moods a little. So we started to do our research, and found a number of articles around Smiling and how that can provide a natural remedy to boost your mood.
What it does
Happy Index, is a simple mood tracker. We wanted you to be able to measure your progress, the more you use the skill the more you learn how to focus on giving your self some time to pause, smile and remember the great times in your life. All proven to help improve your mood. As soon as you start the skill, it will ask you how you feel today and based on that response give you a custom "smiling experience". The smiling experience is simply a 1 minute task, ranging from simply smiling to listening to different music that remind you of happy moments in your life. We wanted to keep the experience short, so you can add it to your daily routine.
How we built it
This experience is really only possible with the full capabilities of APL and combining the screen, audio and TTS to create an immersive experience that will help the user focus for that 1 minute. You can use it on a headless device but to focus without distraction we needed to activate more senses, beyond voice. We also did some research to identify what type of characters we can use to amplify "happiness" out of 5 different characters we identified the simple 2D smiling clouds you see through out the game.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge is curating the content for the experience, we need to test it out with as many people as possible. And we wanted to really leave the person "happy" after they had engaged with the skill. Then we had to find the right visual and audio experience and work out how to merge all of this together using APL. We are super excited with what we can do with APL to create immersive experiences.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The whole team is really proud of the end experience. We feel having simple reminders in your life, to help you focus on your self and become more happy is what we need more of in this world.
What we learned
We are a team of Alexa people, so we knew a lot about how to build experience. What we learned during this process is the creative steps needs to build something delightful. How important it is to get alpha and beta testers to provide input. Even on little things like colours and sounds.
What's next for The Happy Index
We want to make this skill something that you can add to your daily routine, thats our goal. Just give yourself 1 minute a day. To do that, we will keep on testing and improving.