What are Steps & Blocks

Tahsim Ahmed
Tahsim Ahmed
  • Updated

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An Overview on the Basics of Designing on Voiceflow

Designing on Voiceflow starts at the step-level, which includes adding, editing and connecting steps/blocks on the canvas and creating paths in your assistant. Steps are your toolkit to build powerful assistants on Voiceflow.

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Steps are located in the floating banner and represent different pieces of functionality for building your conversational experience. Steps are categorized under:

  • Event: represents a starting point for a conversational flow, usually triggered by an intent
  • AI: steps that leverage generative AI
  • Talk: allows the conversational assistant to convey information to the user through different mediums
  • Listen: includes different types of user inputs 
  • Logic: controls assistant decision-making between different conversational flows and stores relevant data
  • Dev: enables both executable and mocked code snippets for complex development needs
  • Library: stores block templates for easily replicable blocks and steps on the canvas
Tip: Sometimes, you will only visually see Talk, Listen and Logic appear in this sidebar, but you can hover over this sidebar and click the down arrowhead symbol (⌄) to have Developer and Library also appear.

When creating an assistant, you will notice that the start step appears by default. This is where your conversation will always start from. This step cannot be deleted, but you can rename and change its colour to suit your design workflow & organizational needs.

In a typical conversation flow, an assistant design should alternate between talk and listen steps, while using logic and dev steps as needed to program any complex decision-making and development needs. 

As an example, a support chat assistant might:

  1. Start with a text step (a form of talk step) greeting the user and offering help: "Hello! I'm Sally, your support chat assistant. How can I assist you today?" 
  2. Follow with a buttons step (a form of listen step) with two defined buttons "File support ticket" and "Check refund status". These buttons represent the defined functions of the support chat assistant, and each function results in a different conversation flow. 
    1. If desired, the buttons step can add a "No Match" path such that if the user types a response that matches none of the defined paths, the user will be routed to a live agent. As routing to a live agent is a complex development need, it can be represented by a custom action as a placeholder step. 
  3. Each function has a separate conversation flow. 
    1. "File support ticket" button path
      1. It is connected to a text step that asks the user to explain their issue in detail: "Please describe the problem that you would like to report:".
      2. A capture step (a form of listen step) is then used to capture the entire user response and apply it to a variable. 
      3. The response is recorded in the Transcripts of the assistant and can be accessed later. The assistant can now thank the user for providing feedback: "Thanks for reporting this issue, we will look into it as soon as we can." 
    2. "Check refund status" button path
      1. It is connected a text step that asks the user to provide their refund request identification number: "Please enter the id number of your refund request."
      2. A capture step is then used to capture the entire user response and apply it to a variable. 
      3. To search a database of refund requests to determine the status of one request in particular, you can use an API step to query a database using the user-provided request id. Alternatively, you can use a custom action as a placeholder step. The refund status is stored in a variable called {refund_status}. 
      4.  The assistant then relays the queried refund status (or a placeholder value) and thanks the user for using the assistant: "Your refund status is {refund_status}. Thanks for speaking with me today!" 

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