Testing Tuesday: Box of Chocolates Alexa Skill 🍫



Yesterday @jan and I tested the ‘Box of Chocolates’ Alexa Skill by Amy (@Talks2Bots) of Tellables:

It turned out to be a great Skill, with original short stories from various writers, according to monthly themes (like mother’s day for may). One of the particularly strong points was the robust and delightful user interface, with neat sounds, the Chocolatier Coco character, the ability to access content from previous months and such. The weakest point was probably the fact that the texts were presented by synthetic voices, which are not easy to listen to with longer texts.

So, I would love to hear you thoughts on this! Some things I personally wonder are:

  • Is this a strong use case? And what’s the target group? I can imagine that it’s people who already love short stories anyway.
  • How would you solve discoverability? I think this Skill has great potential for CanFulfillIntentRequest, with utterance like "Tell me a story about {topic}", with topic having values like “Mother’s day”, “The joy of motherhood” and such, or utterances like “Give me candy”/“I want something sweet” etc.
  • I think another great marketing asset are the writers that contribute - They may have a community of their own, in which they can spread the word about the Skill, and these folks can thereby discover works of similar writers
  • Concerning the writers… I’d love to know (of @Talks2Bots, if this is no trade secret) how these writers are aquisitioned. Are they from the personal environment of Amy, or is there some writers’ association where the Skill was advertised?

Looking forward to the discussion! :smiley:


Updating this with some reactions and insights from Twitter, where Amy (@Talks2Bots) kindly received and replied to our announcement:

And to our utmost delight, she revealed that this wonderful Skill was built using the Jovo framework! :heart_eyes:

Also worth noting is that there is extensive information on the Skill and its current, future and past content on the Tellables website.


Thanks again for selecting our skill to test. I know it’s not an easy one to test, because the stories are on the longish side and if you’re not in the right frame of mind, they can be boring to listen to. It probably doesn’t make sense to get into the debate of TTS vs. voiceover, because I know I’m overwhelmingly outnumbered on that front! I just thought it worth mentioning that what Tellables is trying to do is to create a completely new form of storytelling, where virtual characters convincingly tell stories specifically designed to engage people in a conversation. To make it even more challenging, we’re trying to do all of this in a way that enables us to get story content from outside authors. So while the first efforts may be less than stellar, I feel with every box we’re getting a bit closer to our goal (though it may still be distant). And I can tell you that the authors I work with are all very excited to have their stories told and to have them appear on the platform. They tell me that after listening to just a few stories, they don’t notice the voices at all anymore. But I get that it’s not for everybody. And I agree that for most types of fiction, voice overs are preferred. Thanks again for testing it out and for all your Testing Tuesday episodes. They’re really great!