Voiceflow's new blocks: making it easier to design great conversations

This week Voiceflow released the latest version of our canvas. This article will walk through how you can take advantage of the newest changes to create better conversations with Voiceflow.

To see the everything that’s changed you can check our changelog.

During the onset of this features scoping our team created these four guiding principles to align product vision, and make sure everything we built adhered to these goals:

  1. Let your canvas tell the story of your conversation
  2. Increase speed and organization
  3. Bake in Conversation Design best practices
  4. Design a system that can be used across all current and future channels

1. Let your canvas tell the story of your conversation

Voiceflow is seeing increased adoption from teams with many stakeholders, (Design, Engineering, Product, Legal etc.) It’s becoming increasingly important that at a glance, any team member can look at a Voiceflow project and understand the general flow of conversation (similar to how you can gather the UX of an on-boarding flow through Sketch mockups in visuals design).

Within these teams, projects created on Voiceflow are becoming the core design artifact used to communicate, gather feedback and iterate upon. Allowing your Voiceflow canvas to tell the story of your conversation will streamline the collaborative portion of your workflow- creating a better product development cycle within your team, and better conversational products for your customers.

2. Increase speed and organization

Combine steps directly from your Step Menu

With new linking, merging & custom color coordination Voiceflow’s new canvas aims to speed up your creation workflow. We’ve drastically decreased the time and precision needed to complete routine tasks. For a full overview be sure to check our latest changelog.

With the new block structure and increased UX- these enhancements lay the foundation for future product improvements. Similar to symbols in Sketch or Figma, we plan to allow users to create conversational components- that can be accessed across teams, and used in any project. Stay tuned.

3. Bake in Conversation Design best practices

One of our goals at Voiceflow is to make Conversation Design best practices accessible and simple. A helpful concept of good Conversation Design is thinking about our conversation in terms of ‘Turn Cards’.

Turn Cards often follow the same flow:

1. Intent: the user says a phrase (utterance) that triggers an intent
2. Situation: we run logic to understand the context of the user
3. Response: we contextually respond to the user
4. Prompt: we prompt the user and keep the conversation moving forward

With the new Voiceflow blocks we’ve made it easier to use this mental model when designing your conversation. To learn more we highly recommend checking out these materials from the Amazon team around situational design.

4. Design a system that can be used across all current and future channels

As Voiceflow matures, one of our most requested features is to support more conversational channels- voice and beyond. We still have a lot of work to do in our current domain (Alexa & Google Assistant). However, we wanted to ensure that our system will be able to scale across channels in the future. Making omni-channel Conversation Design collaborative and simple.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support and we can’t wait to see what you’ll create with this newest release.