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The Potential of Voice

As voice capabilities begin to establish their presence in office settings, Sidebench wanted to build a simple skill that had the potential for frequent use. One of our favorite slack integrations has been the plus plus “++” slackbot - a tool that allows team members to react, in a lighthearted manner, either positively or negatively to their peers’ messages by adding or subtracting points from an individual’s point total.

Business Case

Sidebench wanted to use this concept to build an MVP voice skill that would allow people to add or subtract one’s ++ points without typing. ++ was selected because it was something fun and easy to interact with, but also enhanced office life and helped coworkers establish camaraderie. Examples include “++ to [name] for the donuts in the kitchen”, “-- to the design team for stealing the best La Croix flavors.” The team viewed developing this Alexa Skill as a learning opportunity to build a tool that could be used to add value to client offerings.


  • Sidebench researched and analyzed the industry landscape and the market, and used internal user interviews and user testing to understand peoples’ existing interacting with voice technology and ++.
  • Sidebench used ‘Storyline’ to make a user flow and then tested inputs with a computer microphone. Storyline allowed us to experiment with different inflection rules so, for example, the team could ad “excitement” to a phrase.
  • From this testing, the Sidebench team built a story map and user journey. The next step is a Slack integration phase as a third-party API integration, with the potential to integrate an e-commerce feature depending on feasibility.

“We had thought of making sure the utterances that Alexa expected from users were natural, but the team was not expecting user testers to really like the inflections as much as they did. Without them, people didn’t know how to feel about some of the things Alexa said.”

Cassy Gibson UX Designer

SidePlus Skill Launch

Get SidePlus from the Alexa Skills Store Here

We have recently completed our Slack integration phase as a third-party API integration, and after undergoing a thorough certification process, our MVP skill has launched on the Alexa Skills Store.

The certification process included a policy check to ensure that our skill was appropriate for all customers, a consumer data security check, and functional, voice interface and user experience tests.