Advanced functionality in SUSI Tweetbot

SUSI AI is integrated to Twitter (blog). During the initial phase, SUSI Tweetbot had basic UI and functionalities like just “plain text” replies. Twitter provides with many more features like quick replies i.e. presenting to the user with some choices to choose from or visiting SUSI server repository by just clicking buttons during the chat etc.

All these features are provided to enhance the user experience with our chatbot on Twitter.

This blog post walks you through on adding these functionalities to the SUSI Tweetbot:

  1. Quick replies
  2. Buttons

    Quick replies:

    This feature provides options to the user to choose from.

    The user doesn’t need to type the next query but rather select a quick reply from the options available. This speeds up the process and makes it easy for the user. Also, it helps developers know all the possible queries which can come next, from the user. Hence, it helps in efficient coding on how to handle those queries.In SUSI Tweetbot this feature is used to welcome a new user to the SUSI A.I.’s chat window, as shown in the image above. The user can select any option among “Get started” and “Start chatting”.The “Get started” option is basically for introduction of SUSI A.I. to the user. While, “Start chatting” when clicked shows the user of what all queries the user can try.Let’s come to the code part on how to show these options and what events happen when a user selects one of the options.

    To show the Welcome message, we call SUSI API with the query as string “Welcome” and store the reply in message variable. The code snippet used:

var queryUrl = 'http://api.susi.ai/susi/chat.json?q=Welcome';
var message = '';
request({
    url: queryUrl,
    json: true
}, function (err, response, data) {
    if (!err && response.statusCode === 200) {
        message = data.answers[0].actions[0].expression;
    } 
    else {
        // handle error
    }
});

To show options with the message:

var msg =  {
        "welcome_message" : {
                    "message_data": {
                        "text": message,
                        "quick_reply": {
                              "type": "options",
                              "options": [
                                {
                                  "label": "Get started",
                                  "metadata": "external_id_1"
                                },
                                {
                                  "label": "Start chatting",
                                  "metadata": "external_id_2"
                                }
                              ]
                            }
                    }
                      }
       };
T.post('direct_messages/welcome_messages/new', msg, sent);

The line T.post() makes a POST request to the Twitter API, to register the welcome message with Twitter for our chatbot. The return value from this request includes a welcome message id in it corresponding to this welcome message.

We set up a welcome message rule for this welcome message using it’s id. By setting up the rule is to set this welcome message as the default welcome message shown to new users. Twitter also provides with custom welcome messages, information about which can be found in their official docs.

The welcome message rule is set up by sending the welcome message id as a key in the request body:

var welcomeId = data.welcome_message.id;
var welcomeRule = {
            "welcome_message_rule": {
                "welcome_message_id": welcomeId
            }
};
T.post('direct_messages/welcome_messages/rules/new', welcomeRule, sent);

Now, we are all set to show the new users with a welcome message.

Buttons:

Let’s go a bit further. If the user clicks on the option “Get started”, we want to show a basic introduction of SUSI A.I. to the user. Along with that we provide some buttons to visit the SUSI A.I. repository or experience chatting with SUSI A.I. on the web client.

The procedure followed to show buttons is almost the same as followed in case of options.This doc by Twitter proves to be helpful to get familiar with buttons.

As soon as a person clicks on “Get started” option, Twitter sends a message to our bot with the query as “Get started”.

For the message part, we call SUSI API with the query as string “Get started” and store the reply in a message variable. The code snippet used:

var queryUrl = 'http://api.susi.ai/susi/chat.json?q=Get+started';
var message = '';
request({
    url: queryUrl,
    json: true
}, function (err, response, data) {
    if (!err && response.statusCode === 200) {
        message = data.answers[0].actions[0].expression;
    } 
    else {
        // handle error
    }
});

Both the buttons to be shown with the message should have a corresponding url. So that after clicking the button a person is redirected to that url in a new browser tab.

To show buttons a simple message won’t help, we need to create an event. This event constitutes of our message and buttons. The buttons are referred to as call-to-action i.e. CTAs by Twitter dev’s. The maximum number of buttons in an event can not be more than three in number.

The code used to make an event in our case:

var msg = {
        "event": {
                "type": "message_create",
                "message_create": {
                              "target": {
                                "recipient_id": sender
                              },
                              "message_data": {
                                "text": message,
                                "ctas": [
                                  {
                                    "type": "web_url",
                                    "label": "View Repository",
                                    "url": "https://www.github.com/fossasia/susi_server"
                                  },
                                  {
                                    "type": "web_url",
                                    "label": "Chat on the web client",
                                    "url": "http://chat.susi.ai"
                                  }
                                ]
                              }
                            }
            }
        };

T.post('direct_messages/events/new', msg, sent);

The line T.post() makes a POST request to the Twitter API, to send this event to the concerned recipient guiding them on how to get started with the bot.

Resources:

  1. Speed up customer service with quick replies and welcome messages by Ian Cairns from Twitter blog.
  2. Drive discovery of bots and other customer experiences in direct messages by Travis Lull from Twitter blog.