Application development is all about flexibility, so an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development, needs to be many things to many people:
- It needs to provide guidance to new users so they don’t get lost in a sea of functionality
- At the same time, it needs to give power users the ability to efficiently do their work unfettered
- It needs to be user-friendly and attractive, yet without choking on eye candy
- And it needs to be easily accessible without having to install bloated environments
These are a set of competing, if not outright contradictory, requirements that are challenging to meet. So for our CXP Capabilities series, let’s take a look at how CX Designer, the IDE for Aspect’s Customer Experience Platform, addresses these requirements.
Being a carrier-grade platform that our customers run a very wide range of different applications on, CX Designer faces all the challenges outlined above – and then some. Not only do users want to build everything from playing a single prompt to a full-fledged phone banking suite, they also need to do it across multiple interaction channels such as voice/DTMF calls, SMS text messages, or chat interfaces like Facebook Messenger.
To begin with, Designer is fully web-based as part of a cloud platform, so there’s nothing to install. Right within the web browser, it provides the full scope of expected functionality, from the drag-and-drop editing of dialog flows to dynamically configuring the objects that build these flows.
To provide better focus for new users, or when working with small applications, Designer offers a “simple mode” in which the interface is streamlined around the middle-of-the-road features that cover the most frequent use cases. Power users can switch to “advanced mode”, giving them access to all capabilities while of course staying compatible with previously built simpler applications. These modes provide a smooth growth path for both users and applications as experience and needs accumulate over time.
Likewise, Designer adjusts the way your application is presented for the respective interaction channel you’re working in: Different configurations and resources are required when you build a voice application using speech recognition, versus when it is an SMS text application leveraging Natural Language Understanding. Showing you exactly what is needed in the current context allows you to concentrate on the important parts of your application development work.
Designer’s overall UI paradigms also blend seamlessly with the web interfaces across the entire Aspect product suite – thus making it the natural fit for the application development environment in Via, our fully integrated Customer Engagement Center in the cloud.
Augmenting the core Designer interface are a range of tools that serve specific functions or user groups:
- NLU Browser is the developer’s interface to the rich knowledge and capabilities provided by Aspect’s Natural Language Understanding engine
- CX Commander serves Operations-related user groups to manage application deployments
- And the Business User Interface (BUI) allows non-technical users to safely make changes to deployed applications within a previously defined scope – e.g. to adjust messages, change configuration values, or influence routing decisions.
By combining these different capabilities, and by dynamically focusing them based on user role and interaction channel, Designer provides unparalleled flexibility in application development.
You can experience CX Designer yourself here. You’ll need an account on our Evolution self-service portal; if you don’t have one then simply register for free here. Just provide some basic information and your email, and we’ll send you the credentials to get you going.
Full documentation for CX Designer is available at: http://help.voxeo.com/go/help/vo.cxp17.designerguide.about