The complete guide to Conversation Design terminology

Everything you need to know to speak like a bot

Tess Tettelin
10 min readFeb 5, 2021


Intents, expressions, NLP, context, entities, values,… So much to learn, so much you don’t understand — yet. In this article, I will explain to you the most important terminology in plain English, so you too can learn how to speak chatbot fluently.

Let’s go!

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is an extensive field, one I couldn’t dream of covering in this article. So I’ll keep it short and simple:

AI technology makes it possible for bots to “learn” by discovering certain patterns in user data. Bots can apply these patterns to similar but different problems without needing extra training from a human. This ability gives them the “intelligence” to perform tasks, solve problems, and manage information without human intervention.

AI ethics

AI will have a significant impact on how humanity will develop in the near future. Or in short: AI has the potential to “change the world”. From self-driving cars to predictive policing and autonomous weapons that can kill without any human intervention — With these applications come complex ethical issues that are the subject of ongoing debate.

What should we humans do with these systems? What should these systems do themselves? What risks do they involve? And how can we control these risks? Do we really trust companies to do the right thing? Do we trust governments to do the right thing? How do we make sure these technologies cause no harm?

AI ethics seeks to deal with the ethical dilemmas this new tech is introducing.

Bot dialogs

A bot dialog contains a bot response, which is usually connected to an intent. There are different types of bot dialogs, each with different functionalities:

  • Bot Message: Any message a bot is sending to a user. It can include text messages, buttons, quick replies, video, etc.
  • Go To: If you want to add rules to determine which dialog is triggered when, you can do so with this bot dialog type.
  • Action: Actions allow you to configure the settings of a user session, call an API, add custom code, etc.
  • Input Validation (or User Input): Use this bot dialog type to…



Tess Tettelin

Conversation Design Lead at Sinch. Writing about technology, human behaviour and anything else that crosses my mind.