If video killed the radio star, what does that mean for voice interface, streaming, and virtual assistant skills? In 2018, digital streaming accounted for half of all radio listening. The rise of home assistants, like Amazon's Alexa and Echo devices, represents a new channel beyond the traditional radio dial, mobile application, or streaming site. With more than 1.2 million streams of its stations in 2018, Moody Radio sought an Amazon-specific skill to reach this fast-growing segment of listeners. Desired functionality included the ability to listen to and configure any Moody Radio offering, including five internet stations, 10+ local radio stations, and on-demand programs with a simple voice command.
Building a great digital assistant skill requires teams to anticipate, map, and test how different users may engage through voice commands. Maps were created for each possible Alexa request, including opening the app, playing a specific station or program, information about what is playing on the current station or program (as well as those stations themselves), setting a default station, location-specific requests, and user assistance. Each map further explored different combinations of words or natural language that would trigger Alexa (launch words), serve a request (intents & utterances), and illicit further interaction with the skill.
Moody Radio delivered a functional, test-validated Alexa skill that opens new opportunities for its audience to engage their favorite stations and programs -- and they're taking advantage. While voice skills continue to drive strong adoption, they fall short in repeat usage. Available research shows that, in 2017, Alexa skills that acquired users only saw 3% retention the following week. By holding utility and ease of use at the forefront of the VUI, since its December 2018 launch, the Moody Radio Alexa skill has averaged 36.9% retention rate within the first six months.