Testing, and dealing with problems

Problems happen! Here's how to check things are correct and working properly.

Problems can occur, and testing and understanding the system can help mitigate this.

All skills can have test versions, including Flash Briefings, to which the developer in charge will add you as a tester. Ask to be added on the email address you have registered your Alexa device. For example, I have both a personal account which I use for my Alexa at home, and a work account which is used for an Alexa in the office. They can both see our test Skills.

The following chart helps you understand common problems and their solutions:



Content published but not being read out by Alexa

There can be a small delay in new content being shown on Alexa. Ensure your publishing schedule on the Skill matches your real use case.

Text is truncated

Ensure that all text is in place, and that it doesn’t exceed the length limit for Alexa.

MP3 audio won’t play or is too quiet or too loud

Ensure that your MP3 file conforms to Alexa’s requirements. Standfirst will attempt to fix things if the option to compress and normalise audio is set in the options

No content publishing at all

Check your feed URL hasn’t changed and matches that on your developer console for the skill

MP3/video files won’t upload

Our cloud system, for stability and performance, terminates processes taking more than 30s. If you have a slow connection and a large Flash Briefing then you may struggle to upload the file in the time available. Try compressing the file more by using a lower bitrate. Although 128kbps is below the Alexa requirements, it usually sounds fine to all users.


If the problem is with the system and can't be corrected, simply contact us at [email protected] explaining the problem as clearly as possible, referring to where you’re experiencing the problem and we’ll do our best to help you.