Key concepts - Authoring Power Virtual Agents bots

When you create bots with Power Virtual Agents, you author and edit topics.

Topics are discrete conversation paths that, when used together within a single bot, allow for users to have a conversation with a bot that feels natural and flows appropriately.

Creating a bot with Power Virtual Agents is easy to do with the no-code authoring canvas, and there are a number of ways you can manage how topics interact, how you want the conversation to flow, and what it should feel like.

It's also easy to test the bot without having to fully deploy the bot whenever you make a small change.

There are also lesson topics that guide you through topic authoring - from simple to complex scenarios, as well as default system topics.

You can also choose what language you want your bot to use.

Prerequisites

Accessibility

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all customers, including customers with disabilities. The bot Authoring canvas is built to be accessible from the get-go.

In general, using the authoring canvas follows standard navigation patterns. For complex scenarios, we've built keyboard shortcuts tailored to help users authoring content using keyboard navigation.

Routing anchors

Press enter or space on a route anchor to go into editing mode for that route. Once in the editing mode, you can tab to other node anchors. Once the anchor is selected, you can:

  • Press Delete to delete the route, and make the target node of the route an orphan node if this route is the only route leading to that node.
  • Press Escape to take the user out of tab mode and resume normal tabbing.
  • Press Enter or Space on a different node to reconnect the route to the new node (same source node, new target node).
  • Press Tab to take you to the next available location to drop this route.

At any time, pressing these hotkeys on a route anchor will read out the properties of the route:

  • Alt + Shift + A will read out the source node.
  • Alt + Shift + B will read out the target node.

Note

If you are using a screen reader, note that the sidebar menu entry labeled Manage might not get read as "Collapsed", but it is an expandable control which can be selected and expanded. This is a known issue with our menu control which will be fixed at a future date.

In this section

Topic Description
Create your first bot Create your first bot in less than 30 minutes.
Use lesson topics Use a series of prebuilt topics that guide you through authoring topics - from simple to advanced.
Create and edit topics Create and edit topics using the no-code authoring canvas.
Use system fallback topic Use a system fallback topic for when your bot can't find an answer.
Manage topics Copy, edit, and manage which topics should be available in your bot.
Test your bot Test your bot directly within the Power Virtual Agents portal without needing to deploy or publish it.
Supported languages Choose from a number of languages when you create your bot, with user interface, system, and template topic localization.