Introduction

What you need to know beforehand.

The graph representation

A dialogue model can be represented as a graph structure, which can be viewed and edited in the Dialogue Designer. The structure consists of different types of nodes, which represent the stuff that happens during a conversation, such as speaking, listening, or decision-making. Nodes are interconnected by small arrows or "transitions", which define the possible paths of a dialogue. Such a visual structure will help you understand clearly the flow of the dialogue.

Before we continue, it must be mentioned that dialogue models can be interconnected (a model can be nested in another model) and create complex conversational structures. We will talk about this in another article. Here, we will describe the designing process within one dialogue model.

Work in the Dialogue Designer – basics

These are just the basics. If you want to know more about working with the Dialogue Designer, read this article.

Drag and drop & connect nodes

To insert an item (usually a node) into the structure, just drag it from the left panel and drop it into the canvas. You can then connect the nodes using transitions.

Drag, drop, connect – it's super easy!
  • The connection point on the top of a node is always the entrance to the node.

    • All node types have exactly one entrance point, except for Enter, which begins the flow.

  • The connection point at the bottom of a node serves as the way out of the node.

    • Most node types have just one way-out point at the bottom.

    • Functions and UserInputs, which can serve as forks, have two more way-out points on the sides. All 3 exiting points are equal, they can just help you design a more comprehensible structure.

    • Exit, End, and GoBack interrupt the flow, so they don't have any way-out points.

Most often, you will design the flow "falling down" through the graph - but that's definitely not a necessary rule! Your flow can move in any direction (see the illustration). Just keep in mind that the connection points on the nodes always work as described above.

You can arrange your graph just as you wish. As long as it... makes some sense.

Move, remove, copy & paste nodes

To MOVE a node, just drag it along the canvas. To REMOVE a node, click on it and then press Delete or Backspace on your keyboard. To COPY a node, select it and press Ctrl+C or click the Copy button. To PASTE from the clipboard, press Ctrl+V or click the Paste button.

To select more than one node and move/remove/copy all of them together, you can:

  • either select a part of the canvas: click in the graph and wait for half a second, then drag your cursor elsewhere -> the canvas in between will be framed in pink and after releasing the cursor, all nodes inside that area will become selected;

  • or hold Ctrl and select nodes by clicking on one after another.

Once a group of nodes is selected, you can perform the desired action on all of them.