It’s been a long road but we’ve made it. The October 2018 Release is perhaps the biggest update to the Rocketbots platform ever! Both visually and functionally we have added more of what our users have been asking for.
The overall theme for this release was a remodel of the Message Module. The old Messages Module was a relic of Rocketbots was originally designed for, creating Hybrid AI with Dialogflow. Our product-market fit has adjusted since then and our platform has changed along with it. Before we go any further, here is a fairly comprehensive list of changes for this version:
- We’ve coated the platform with a fresh, new layer of paint!
- Improved Messages Module
- Contact Assignment was added
- Enhanced emoji support with emoji picker
- New Custom Field types
- Added basic contact info (phone number and email) as standard fields
- Improved filtering options for contacts
- Attach and send files and images to individual users
- Send surveys to individual users
If you’d like to see our previous release notes you can check those out here.
Overall Look and Feel
The biggest change you’ll see is that we’ve darkened the navigation bar and moved the Space dropdown from the top to the bottom left. We wanted to move the Space dropdown as a result of feedback from our users. We initially placed it front and center because it would be easier for users to test multiple Dialogflow agents. However, it was also somewhat confusing for the clients of Dialogflow developers who generally only had one Space to manage and didn’t have the need for switching from one space to another.
This gave us the opportunity to redesign the nav. We chose a darker version after checking out some of our favorite SaaS platforms. This is also how we decided we could put the Space picker on the bottom left.
The Messages Module
This release was all about the Messages Module. We’ve been planning a redesign to this module since the beginning of the summer but we had to get quite a few housekeeping tasks out of the way first.
It’s been the hardest module to design and implement. The design was crucial as it had to be agnostic enough to be used for any kind of conversation, allow teams of people to cooperate, enable enrichment of contact profiles with structured data and ensure it was possible to manage multiple connected messaging apps in an operational environment.
The biggest functional change is the addition of contact assignment or what others call chat routing. Assignment allows multiple operators to work together without stepping on each other’s toes. To keep things simple we decided to negate any auto routing for now in favor of the ability to easily pick up new contacts when desired. To allow this we have 3 actions that happen automatically:
- Anytime a contact is new or has already been Marked Done and they send a message, they will be Marked Pending
- Responding to any unassigned contact will automatically assign them to you
- Marking a Contact Done will also automatically unassign the contact from the operator
Together with the contact filters, auto assign and unassign create a simple workflow. All contacts that need attention appear in the unnassigned list. Once you’ve sent a message, they are assigned to you and you find them the Mine list. Once you’re done with the contact simply Mark them Done and they will be gone from your list until they send another message. With this workflow, any operator can pick up as many contacts as they want from the Unassigned list and manage them in their Mine list.
Rocketbots allows users to send broadcasts and surveys over messaging apps. Since everything happens in line in a messaging app we needed to give great visibility of these mass messages for each contact in line with the conversation. To do so we created Chat Events.
Chat events are annotations that appear in the Messenger along with regular messages. Chat events indicate Marking Done or Pending, Assignment, Broadcasts & Surveys. Chat Events give visibility to a contact Done & Assignment history and give an operator a users context in relation to mass communications like broadcasts or surveys. This can aid the operator to give a response in context to a broadcast or prevent them from interrupting a contact in the midst of a survey.
A new sidebar was needed to display newly introduced AI Smart Replies in a visually pleasing way and to allow operators to edit custom fields manually. Previously our custom fields were largely designed to enable auto updating from Dialogflow.
In addition to redesigning the Side Bar, we made a few changes to how Custom Fields work. Phone and email are now standard fields that exist for every contact. And we’ve created several additional types of custom fields that can now be used:
- Free Text
- List (Dropdown)
- Each Field type has their own validation and relevant picker.
Bits & Bobs
There are a couple of additional items added to round off the functionality of the Messages Module. At the request of many users, we added an emoji picker to let you add your favorite emojis to the chat easily. We’ve also added pickers for files and surveys. These enable you to send files or surveys to individual users, something you could previously only do in broadcasts. Last but not least we’ve implemented Facebook Echo, which allows you to respond to your Facebook contacts from Facebook Inbox or the pages manager app and your message will be displayed in Rocketbots and used to train your AI Smart Replies.
That’s it for release the October 2018 Release. If you’ve gotten this far the only thing left is to try it for yourself.