Conversation Design | DialogFlow

A MUST read article on Dialogflow training phrase quality

Recently, Google published a very interesting article on how you can assess the quality of the training phrases inside your Dialogflow agent. In my view, if you are at all interested in building a Dialogflow agent, it is a MUST READ. Note: You do need a fairly good programming background, plus some basic understanding of concepts such as “word vectors” to understand that article. So maybe the person who will read it is the programmer on your team. But here is the gist of it: you should maximize cohesion as well as separation in your intents. In this context, what is cohesion and what is separation? Instead of repeating what is already mentioned in that article, I will just highlight…

DialogFlow | Training

Using Collect.chat for preNLU bots

In a previous article, I talked about why it would be a good option to use a rules-based, conditional logic bot as a “pre NLU” bot before you build out your actual NLU-based website chatbot. A good option for this is Collect.chat. I tried out the Collect.Chat service for a month (I chose the Standard plan – $49/month so I could experience the entire set of features) and I really liked it. There are also other similar services, and while I haven’t compared them all, I have very little hesitation in recommending Collect.chat for creating your preNLU bot. Note: the link above is an affiliate link, but I am recommending the service because I believe it is best-in-class for the…

DialogFlow | Training

Reader Question: How to get some sample training data for Dialogflow?

Recently I got this question via my chatbot: How to get some sample training data for Dialogflow? This is actually an important question. The article below assumes you are building an FAQ style bot. If you are building a different kind of bot, please leave a comment below and I will write a different article based on your use case. Now, the obvious first thing is to ask: what does your chatbot replace? Is it acting as the first step for your customer support? Then just look at the existing customer conversation logs. If you don’t store them in a structured way, just analyze it manually. Sometimes it isn’t possible to do that, because you are trying to create something…

DialogFlow | Knowledge Connector

Getting the top 3 (or top N) intents in Dialogflow: An experiment

I occasionally see people asking for a way to get top N intents in Dialogflow. That is, Dialogflow already provides the “best match” intent for a user’s utterance, and includes a confidence score along with that match. Is it possible to also know the next 2 best intents and their confidence scores? (Note that this feature is already offered by other bot frameworks). An experiment In a way, the knowledge connector feature was created to solve this problem (or at least that is one of the benefits of using it). So here is one way you could implement this for intents: Create a new Dialogflow agent Turn every training phrase from your original agent into a knowledge base question. The…

DialogFlow | Entity

Dialogflow Regexp (regular expression) entity

Dialogflow recently introduced the regular expression entity. In the video below, I explain how to use it. Note: while the video is part of a mini-course, this specific video is completely self-contained. You don’t have to purchase the mini-course to follow this video. How to use the Regexp entity Testimonial for the mini-course: This course was invaluable for me and my team members to get hands on knowledge as to how Reg Exp works. Especially since DF documentation is so limited and this is a very new feature. I would (recommend this course) , especially for non-programmers. Aravind shows clear examples, and gives suggestions on what to be cautious of. – Christina A

DialogFlow | Use Cases

Using Dialogflow for educational bots

Recently, a few people asked me about using Dialogflow for educational bots. I don’t think the technology is quite there yet. This is, of course, a personal opinion. But it is backed by three things: I have a fairly extensive course website with a lot of material on Dialogflow. Students are requesting me for easier ways to find useful material, and if I could build a bot for that purpose, I would. I have already spent some time thinking about and building different kinds of automatically generated bots. I get plenty of questions from readers of this website. Reader questions provide a good insight into the kind of questions people ask and how they are structured. So this post is…

DialogFlow | Messenger Bots

Chatbot makes $3 million in sales in 1 hour

This was the topic of a recent interview on the Mixergy podcast. But was it actually a chatbot? Initially, I got a little annoyed after listening to the interview. A few things became clear to me immediately: this was for a heavily promoted event involving some well known internet celebrities, meaning the sales may have been just as good even if they had sold those products without using chatbots the 1 hour window was due to opening up the shopping cart even as a live YouTube event was happening they were talking about not just Facebook push notifications, but rather combining it with the mobile wallet to get a lot of responses. Plus a complicated/sophisticated backend system that required significant…

DialogFlow | Tools

Should you use Dialogflow from scratch?

Recently, a reader sent me a message in which he said: A lot people mention you as one of the (main proponents) of the Dialogflow from scratch movement. While it is a pretty succinct phrase, I don’t think I am a proponent of Dialogflow from scratch. I am a proponent of building better Dialogflow bots 🙂 I don’t think it is just an aspirational phrase. To be very specific, I recommend people build their bots in such a way that the bot maker (the person who wants the bot to be built) balances three different aspects of the bot development process. The missing third dimension when evaluating low code tools In my view, Dialogflow is the best low code bot…

DialogFlow | Rapid Prototyping

3 ways Airtable can speed up your Dialogflow prototype development

If you are building a Dialogflow prototype, there is a tool which can provide a tremendous boost to the speed at which you can create and manage your bot. The tool is called Airtable – which is like a combination of a spreadsheet and a database, and is easy to use for technical non-programmers. In this article, I am going to talk about how Airtable can speed up your Dialogflow prototype development workflow. Video table of contents with timestamps 1:02 | Airtable as database 2:30 | An example where I use Airtable as the database 3:08 | Airtable as CMS 4:00 | Example of using Airtable as a CMS 5:25 | Airtable is a better CMS for rich responses 6:30 |…

DialogFlow | Messenger Bots

Is Chatfuel/ManyChat a poor choice for AI (NLU) bots?

I had an online conversation with someone recently and they referred to Chatfuel as a “lesser” platform for Dialogflow bots. This got me thinking, and I have created a video to explain my views on this topic. Video Notes Yes, I agree that it is a poor choice for NLU/AI bots (but great for pure rules-based bots) You can do the same integration without Chatfuel, but it requires more effort to get feature parity (obviously) Designing NLU conversation flows is harder You need to learn a second UI specification You have less control over your bot There is a problem of lock in ManyChat I don’t have the same experience with integrating ManyChat, but I have seen tutorials on how…

DialogFlow

Why your Dialogflow questions go unanswered on StackOverflow

Recently, I took a look at StackOverflow questions on the topic of Dialogflow. A lot of them were unanswered. Here are some stats when I last checked: 17 of the last 30 questions have 0 answers 27 questions had 0 votes, and 2 had negative votes Exactly 2 answers (of the 13 questions which have answers) have at least one upvote That third point is actually a pretty interesting stat, as it says that even when questions receive answers, they are not very helpful for the asker (well, plus sometimes the asker doesn’t upvote the answer) I think there are some important reasons why these questions are going unanswered, and they may be somewhat inherently difficult problems to solve. The…