2021: Year In Review

Braden Ream
December 22, 2021

2021 was a year of growth, one where companies & people challenged business practices, introduced new forms of work flexibility and reimagined teamwork across the globe. Here at Voiceflow and within our community, we've seen an incredible year of evolution, from collaboration to increased feature functionality, learning, and skill-sharing across the world. Not to mention a new focus on the world of Conversation Design rather than focusing simply on Alexa and Google.

Before we can tell the market, the world, and you, the reader, about what's coming next from Voiceflow, we always like to take a step back to reflect on the past year's work. So without further ado, here are our favourite moments from Voiceflow and the community in 2021.

2021 for Voiceflow by the numbers

  • We raised a $20 Million Series A to build better conversations – together
  • Grew to 80,000+ users across 100 countries
  • Shipped 100+ new updates & features
  • 550 million utterances hosted through Voiceflow for Alexa, Google, and homegrown applications, up from 200 million last year
  • The Top 100 Voiceflow users have spent 2,452 hours (over 100 days) working on their designs in Voiceflow this year.
  • Launched 2 brand new ebooks for conversation design teams
  • 2581 Conversation Designers joined us for 45 virtual webinars, not including our first ever virtual product event V2 which had over 2,000 attendees.
  • We launched our templates library with 16 templates to choose from to get started with your conversation design journey.

2021 Highlights

We made prototyping "smarter"

A smart assistant can't level up until it starts to learn. With Smart Prototyping, we enabled teams all over the world to design and teach their assistant how to handle complex conversations – at scale.

Smart prototyping puts NLU/NLP at the forefront. Allowing users to train their high-fidelity experiences with a click of a button. Whether you're evaluating your conversations as you design, running user testing sessions, or demoing for stakeholders, the Smart Prototyping can help you easily mimic a production-level conversational experience.

Smart Prototyping in Voiceflow

2,000+ Conversation Designers Joined Us for Voiceflow V2

Voice and conversation design have only continued to grow, and with Voiceflow V2 we were able to show the world just how big the opportunity was becoming. From expanding into new channels like, IVR, In-Car, Chat and Custom Assistants to revealing more powerful prototyping features and our Open-Source Dialog Manager API – V2 was our largest and most exciting product event to-date. Thank you to the 2,000+ conversation designers around the globe who joined us for our first-annual product event, we look forward to celebrating with you all in the new year.

We Made Designing Conversations More Scalable with Reusable Components

Flows and reusable components are more than just an organizational tactic; they're a powerful function for increasing speed and maintaining quality as your conversation design expands.

As conversations become more complex, it's important to enable teams to break their designs into re-usable parts for quick and organized work. "Flows & reusable components" allow teams to standardize the parts of their experiences that matter across their organizations – going from design to production, even faster.

Reusable flows and components from Voiceflow
Reusable Components in Voiceflow

We Made it Easier to Design with "Human" Context

With context switching in Voiceflow, teams can transform their flows to be more conversational and fluid. No more strict linear flows and user experiences, using the 4 types of context design in Voiceflow, you can create the most natural, and delightful user experience in your chat or voice assistant. Oh, and not to mention – we made canvas markup, free for all!

Context switching in Voiceflow
Context in Voiceflow

We Introduced Shared Workspaces & Collaboration

Voiceflow's shared workspaces allow any team to manage their workflow with a built-in Kan-ban system to see an at-a-glance status of all projects. Inviting stakeholders or clients directly to a workspace makes it easy for viewing and commenting. Users can even build an internal component system or template library to manage design consistency across all of their projects. For larger organizations, users can manage multiple team workspaces to ensure no one workspace becomes too crowded.

shared workspaces in Voiceflow
Collaboration in Voiceflow

We Launched Project Code Export

Going live can mean a ton of different things for teams. By introducing Dialogflow Export, along with several other options like Luis, RASA, and .VF, we give teams the flexibility they need to bring their conversation to life – wherever they choose. The interaction model which houses all of a project's intents, slots and variables can be exported in several formats, including exports for Dialogflow, Microsoft Luis, or IBM Watson.

Dialogflow export in Voiceflow
Export in Voiceflow

We Released the Voiceflow Dialog Manager API

We launched the Dialog Manager API that allows developers to repurpose a designer's work while also having full customization of the experience. Now your Voiceflow designs can live in any production environment. And did we mention the API is open-sourced?
Check it out for yourself.

Voiceflow Integrations through Dialog Manager API
Deploy Code using Voiceflow

Voiceflow Ranks #3 Product of The Day On Product Hunt

Voiceflow V2 wasn't just about launching new features but also about creating new opportunities for designers everywhere. To celebrate our launch, we launched Voiceflow 2.0 on product hunt and won the #3 Product of the Day thanks to our amazing community. Thanks to all 660+ of you who voted!

Screenshot from Product Hunt

Prototyping went Multi-Modal

A great voice experience isn't limited to voice-only experiences. Just like chatbots can include visuals, so can your IVR and voice experiences.

To help conversation design teams get visual, we added a variety of multimodal features to expand conversation designs everywhere – Alexa Show, Google Nest, or even your custom screened-device.

Multimodal Experience Design in Voiceflow

Voiceflow Hit 550 Million Messages Powered

When we first launched Voiceflow we were focused on helping customers create Alexa and Google skills. With the launch of the Voiceflow Dialog Manager API, customers were now able to host their Voiceflow designed conversations anywhere, on any platform. This update allowed us to not only hit this milestone but continue to see growth across platforms month-after-month!

We Launched Branded & Protected Prototypes

User testing is an incredibly important part of conversation design. To ensure the best possible experience for teams and testers alike, we wanted to introduce features that allowed teams to make the most 1:1 experience possible. Introducing branded & protected prototypes enabled teams to match their internal UI, while also securing their project for specific viewers only. These features made strides toward improving unguided user testing and internal sharing.

We Published the Guide to Conversation Design

As the world of conversation design continues to gain steam, it's important designers understand the basics to create great conversation experiences. The Guide to Conversation Design is focused on introducing designers and developers to industry guidelines, processes, and language we can all agree on. Based on our conversations with designers in the space, we compiled best practices and learnings into one place!
Grab your free copy here.

2581 Conversation Designers joined us for 45 virtual webinars & conferences

It's no secret that the conversation design community is strong. Conversation Design is a global problem with global opportunities. With our team located all over the globe, we were blessed to have hosted over 45 events, and have spoke at over 15 conferences across the world. Joined by incredible minds, working on the next generation of user experiences, we're humbled and thankful for each of you who joined us this year – and can't wait to continue to partner, work, and scale with you all!

A special shoutout to RASA, The Conversation Design Institute, ProjectVoice, Women In Voice, VOICE Global, and all the amazing partners we had a chance to work with & host.

We Launched Start With Sam

Conversation design is exploding in popularity, and while there are plenty of incredible thought leaders in the space – we knew it was important to create a space for beginners to thrive. That's where Start with Sam fits in. Start with Sam is geared toward breaking down the barriers of conversation design, allowing new designers to learn how to build an experience in 30 minutes or less. If you're just started out in voice, chat or Voiceflow – we highly recommend you check out some of our past streams here.

We Raised a $20 Million Series A

We were so excited to announce our Series A funding, where we raised $20 million USD to continue our pursuit of building the best-in-class tool for conversation designers and to aid in our mission of becoming the industry-standard collaborative tool for conversation design, prototyping and user testing. A big thanks to Felicis Ventures, Craft Ventures for leading our newest round, and thank you to True Ventures, Ripple Ventures

The Book On Alexa Skills Dropped

The Alexa Revolution, written by our very own Xavi Portilla Edo and Vicente Guzmán, is one of the first books printed in Spanish and English that offers a comprehensive guide to designing, building and deploying voice-based apps for Alexa!

We Launched Transcripts

Conversation design is rarely linear, and it's hard to anticipate what your chat or voice assistant should cover without user testing. Transcripts captures every user's conversation in one place, empowering teams to easily parse through user test logs, and achieve better, less biased data. Transcripts enables teams to perform unguided tests, at scale while unlocking opportunities to improve conversational experiences regardless of timezone or proximity.

Transcripts in Voiceflow

We Released the Voiceflow Templates Library

Starting from scratch isn't always easy – that's where Templates come in. We took dozens of popular use cases and packaged them up in easy to understand templates for all levels and platforms. With over 16 templates to choose from (and many more to come) we're striving to make it even easier for designers to discover new ways to build, no matter their technical ability.

Snapshot of Voiceflow Templates

We Made Product Releases Hands-On

It can be tough keeping up with everything that's new in a product that's changing so rapidly. So Nico, our incredible product advocate started Product Roundup, a monthly breakdown of everything that's new in Voiceflow so that everyone can keep up to speed on everything they can do with Voiceflow.

We Published Our Second eBook: The Guide To Building a Customer–Centric IVR

The world of IVR needs an upgrade, and your team can be on the forefront of creating better, more natural IVR experiences with Voiceflow. The Guide to Building a Customer-Centric IVR is jam-packed with tips on how modern teams are creating better IVR experiences and how you can do the same.

The Guide to Building a Customer-Centric IVR, written by Voiceflow, Inc.

The Voiceflow Team Met With Hundreds of Community Members (Finally)

To say that our team was thrilled to be in person together again is an understatement. To put a cherry on top, we got to meet hundreds of members of the CxD community at Project Voice X this year!

The Voiceflow Team in Destin Florida at Project Voice X 2021

A Final Release Before End of Year: Versioning, Previews, and Rollbacks

Looking back on your work is an important element of the conversation design experience. As the year comes to a close, it seems almost fitting to release a feature that allows team s to take a look back while they build for tomorrow.

When you're collaborating on a project, it's not always clear what's been changed and what still needs to be updated. That's why we rolled out versioning, previews, and rollbacks. So you can see the different states of your project, preview what they looked like, and rollback any mistakes!

Our Focus For 2022

This year, we focused on expanding out into the larger Conversation Design landscape with updated tools and functionalities that allowed our users to design, prototype, and launch conversation experiences outside of just Alexa and Google with the use of our Dialog Manager API and Voiceflow SDK.

As we look to next year, we're focused on expanding the number of channels, collaborative design features, and more ways for teams to go from idea to production. Whether you're looking for new ways to streamline your publishing or simply looking to level up your conversation designs as a whole – 2022 will have plenty for you to explore.

Next year, we want to take this one step further and expand our channel integrations to make it even easier to go from prototyping to production directly from Voiceflow with more one-click integrations.

Be the first to know by signing up here.

Cheers To 2021

2021 forced flexibility and innovation across all teams, and we feel excited and honored that more and more businesses are prioritizing voice and chat experiences to power even more natural customer interactions.

There's nothing that gets me more excited than working on a tool that empowers customers to build their own products. So thank you to every single one of our customers and community members for choosing us to bring your creations to life.

— Braden & The Voiceflow Team