IBM Watson Assistant

Description

Add this plugin to your site and let IBM Watson help you better support your customers. In a few minutes, you can train Watson to answer frequently asked questions, provide useful information and help them navigate your website. And if they want to talk to a human, the plugin can connect them to a real operator via telephone.

This plugin uses IBM Watson Assistant (formerly Watson Conversation) on the IBM Cloud. You can use it with an IBM Cloud Lite account free of charge and without a need to provide a credit card. If you take this free course you may get a special offer of US$1200 of IBM Cloud usage to deploy chatbots for much higher usage. If you build web sites and chatbots as a business you may qualify for a special ISV program.

Currently supported features:

  • New: Take advantage of Rich responses to add images, pauses, and clickable responses to your chatbot
  • Use user’s account data such as name in chatbot dialog
  • Easy VOIP calling powered by Twilio for users to contact a real person if they wish
  • Simple plugin setup to get your Watson Assistant chatbot available to users as soon as possible
  • Control usage of the Watson Assistant service directly from the plugin settings page
  • Choose the pages and posts you want the visitors to see the chat bot on
  • Customize the appearance of the chat box to your preference

Screenshots

  • An example of your chatbot greeting a website visitor.

Installation

Requirements

This plugin requires the WordPress REST API Plugin to be installed. If you have WordPress 4.7 or later, this is installed by default.

Installing the Plugin

  1. Log in to your site’s Dashboard.
  2. Click on the Plugins tab in the left panel, then click the Add New button.
  3. Search for “Watson Assistant” and the latest version will appear at the top of the list of results.
  4. Install the plugin by clicking the Install Now link.
  5. When installation finishes, click Activate Plugin.

This plugin can also be installed manually.

Note:
If your WordPress site is hosted by WordPress (with a URL like websitename.wordpress.com), you need a paid plan to install plugins. If your WordPress is hosted separately, you should have no issue.

Building Your Chatbot

  1. Learn how to set up your Watson Assistant chatbot with this quick free course.

  2. Sign up for a free IBM Cloud Lite account.

  3. You can see the Watson Assistant documentation for more information.

Once you’ve created your workspace using the course or the link above, you must connect it to your WordPress site.

Setting up the Plugin

  1. From the Deploy tab of your workspace, you must obtain your username and password credentials in addition to the Workspace URL of your new workspace.

  2. Enter these on the “Main Setup” tab of your settings page. Once you click “Save Changes”, the plugin will verify if the credentials are valid and notify you of whether or not the configuration was successful.

  3. (Optional) By default, the chatbot shows up on all pages of your website. In the Behaviour tab of your settings page, you can choose which pages to show the chat bot on. You can also show the chat box inline within posts and pages using the shortcode [watson-chat-box]

Note:
If you have a server-side caching plugin installed such as WP Super Cache, you may need to clear your cache after changing settings or deactivating the plugin. Otherwise, your action may not take effect.

FAQ

Installation Instructions

Requirements

This plugin requires the WordPress REST API Plugin to be installed. If you have WordPress 4.7 or later, this is installed by default.

Installing the Plugin

  1. Log in to your site’s Dashboard.
  2. Click on the Plugins tab in the left panel, then click the Add New button.
  3. Search for “Watson Assistant” and the latest version will appear at the top of the list of results.
  4. Install the plugin by clicking the Install Now link.
  5. When installation finishes, click Activate Plugin.

This plugin can also be installed manually.

Note:
If your WordPress site is hosted by WordPress (with a URL like websitename.wordpress.com), you need a paid plan to install plugins. If your WordPress is hosted separately, you should have no issue.

Building Your Chatbot

  1. Learn how to set up your Watson Assistant chatbot with this quick free course.

  2. Sign up for a free IBM Cloud Lite account.

  3. You can see the Watson Assistant documentation for more information.

Once you’ve created your workspace using the course or the link above, you must connect it to your WordPress site.

Setting up the Plugin

  1. From the Deploy tab of your workspace, you must obtain your username and password credentials in addition to the Workspace URL of your new workspace.

  2. Enter these on the “Main Setup” tab of your settings page. Once you click “Save Changes”, the plugin will verify if the credentials are valid and notify you of whether or not the configuration was successful.

  3. (Optional) By default, the chatbot shows up on all pages of your website. In the Behaviour tab of your settings page, you can choose which pages to show the chat bot on. You can also show the chat box inline within posts and pages using the shortcode [watson-chat-box]

Note:
If you have a server-side caching plugin installed such as WP Super Cache, you may need to clear your cache after changing settings or deactivating the plugin. Otherwise, your action may not take effect.

What is the best place to learn how to create a chatbot?

Check out this free course to learn how to build your own chatbot.

Why should I use this?

Watson Assistant, when used with this plugin, allows you to build and deploy a fully customized chat bot with little technical knowledge. It can talk to your website’s visitors about whatever you choose, from helping navigate the website and providing support with common questions, to just having a casual conversation on a topic of interest.

Do I need to know how to code?

Nope. This plugin allows you to easily deploy chatbots that you create using the Watson Assistant service on IBM Cloud. This free course will guide you through this intuitive process – no prior technical knowledge necessary.

How do I see my chatbot’s conversations with users?

On the same page where you build your chatbot in IBM Cloud, you can click on the Improve tab to view and analyze past conversations with users.

Reviews

Great Potential, Awful Support for Developers

When I first read about the Watson Assistant Conversation plugin, I was impressed with what I saw. Generally speaking, the Watson has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, that potential seems severely limited by the actual support that IBM and Cognitive Class offer for the Watson plugin.

I have a support thread on this page that has received no response in 7 days. I have finished building my chatbot, but am having a “minor” deployment issue (minor in terms of scale, but significant in terms of user experience issue on the deployment side ). I haven’t even received a “we are looking into this” response, despite two follow up messages from myself.

Long story short, I am impressed by the potential, but the poor support is forcing me to explore competitors’ options for a chatbot.

Plugin setup doesn’t match IBM’s Workspace Credentials

***
Update #2
The plugin has been updated to support the API credentials for Sydney!
***
Update #1
Ok, so apparently if you set your cloud location to Sydney rather than the default US South, you can’t use this plugin. I switched to US South and the credentials page is now totally different.
***

I’ve done the course, and the Workspace Credentials within the Deploy window do not match the WordPress plugin’s config options: username and password. I guess the username is the Workspace ID or similar, but there’s no password to be seen. Running the Assistant in the Sydney cloud, not US.

First good impression is gone – buggy, instable plugin

At first I very much appreciated the possibility to integrate Watson Assistant on my website for free and have some configuration options and even support for it.

However, it seems like in every new release they put in a new big bug when they tried to solve another (e.g. first the chat window opened full screen in any browser width and now it doesn’t in phone view where it is absolutely needed for good usage. They even limit font size at 9 so one cannot see much of the dialog flow now).

The worst part of all is that the plugin is completely instable since a couple of weeks already. That means, it randomly appears and disappears (most of the time just not displayed – especially at weekends(?)). And no support is answering to this issue. So what use does the plugin actually have then?

Thus, it got really annyoing and I am about to switch to competitors like google’s dialogflow.

Not what I was expecting I guess..

Turns out you have to create multiple accounts so you can take a class to learn how to develop your own chat bot. Although it’s made much simpler than totally learning and doing it all on your own this is not a good solution for one person with limited time and knowledge. I read the description “In a few minutes, you can train Watson to answer frequently asked questions” this is simply not the case with this plugin thus I’ve just wasted plenty time.

This is great!

Great plugin, works perfect. I took the course on Cognitive class as well, very useful. Great work and thanks, very impressed.
Some adjustments to the layout possible (position, color, size, …), which is totally acceptable and it accepts HTML code!!!

But I’m also looking for (a paid version) for a total customisable version for meeting clients needs. There seems no WP plugin for Watson Assistant available yet (besides this great one).

Thanks Antonio! Great work.

Read all 16 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“IBM Watson Assistant” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

Translate “IBM Watson Assistant” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.

Changelog

0.7.5

  • Added support for new Watson response types (Images, Options and Pauses)

0.7.4

  • Fixed issue with new users entering workspace URL with username/password credentials
  • Fixed “Enabled” setting bug

0.7.3

  • Fixed compatibility issue with PHP versions lower than 5.6

0.7.2

  • Added option for new type of credentials, used by services in Sydney
  • Fixed small styling issues

0.7.1

  • Fixed critical bug caused by missing files

0.7.0

  • Reorganized and moved settings to top-level menu
  • Fixed chat box minimize bug
  • Fixed issue with chat box disappearing sometimes

0.6.10

  • Added option for message delay with “typing” ellipses animation

0.6.9

  • Fixed chat box preview in Appearance settings page
  • Fixed issue with old credentials migration in some installations

0.6.8

  • Fixed Context Variables bug
  • Moved Clear Messages button to header
  • Added timezone context variable

0.6.7

  • Added example values to Context Variables page
  • Added settings for FAB icon and text size

0.6.6

  • New Context Variables Feature for using user account data in chat bot dialog
  • Added full-screen specific font size
  • Fixed chat box rendering bug

0.6.5

  • Small UI improvements

0.6.4

  • Fixed full screen caching issue
  • Fixed issue with rendering lists in messages
  • Added PHP compatibility check upon activation
  • Small CSS improvements
  • Fixed transient checks
  • Decreased lower font size limit

0.6.3

  • Added setting to control message displayed after API limit overage
  • Added setting to temporarily disable chatbot without having to deactivate plugin
  • Fixed compatibility issues with PHP 5.3

0.6.2

  • Rebrand from Watson Conversation to Watson Assistant

0.6.1

  • More detailed debug info for credential validation failure

0.6.0

  • Added chat box shortcode feature
  • Added more text customization to Appearance tab
  • Added CSS caching to reduce server load
  • Fixed bug causing some websites to have issues sending messages

0.5.10

  • Added tooltips to settings
  • Changed appearance of muliple-message responses
  • Improved full screen customization

0.5.9

  • Fixed appearance of send button for certain websites

0.5.8

  • Fixed styling issues for some devices

0.5.7

  • Improved spacing of chat box button
  • Added more customization for chat box minimized state
  • Added option for Send Message button
  • Fixed appearance of multiple-message responses from chatbot

0.5.6

  • Fixed issue with chat button remaining clickable when invisible

0.5.5

  • Fixed browser caching issue preventing chatbox from appearing initially after updates

0.5.4

  • Modified WordPress hooks

0.5.3

  • Fixed bug with credentials validation

0.5.2

  • Added WordPress hooks for sending and receiving messages
  • Added extra debug information for credential validation failure
  • Added Chat Button customization

0.5.1

  • Fixed bug with Advanced page showing on wrong tab

0.5.0

  • Added Preset Response Options feature
  • Fixed issue where typing in message box caused media in previous messages to reload

0.4.2

  • Added compatiblity with Internet Explorer
  • Fixed chat box rendering for some WordPress installations
  • Fixed visual bug with long words in messages

0.4.1

  • Fixed issue with voice call settings validation

0.4.0

  • Added settings tab to help introduce plugin to new users
  • Made some settings more intuitive
  • Settings on all tabs are submitted together now

0.3.3

  • Fixed bug with setting to start chat box minimized

0.3.2

  • Fixed bug in Voice Call UI customization

0.3.1

  • Removed font size cap, fixed font size issues for full screen

0.3.0

  • Added voice calling feature using Twilio
  • Improved compatibility with older PHP versions
  • Added setting for full-screen UI on non-mobile devices

0.2.3

  • Fixes bug causing links from chatbot to be same color as background.

0.2.2

  • Improves backwards compatibility with older PHP versions
  • Improves iOS support.

0.2.1

  • Fixes bug where settings changes do not take effect.

0.2.0

  • New UI for mobile devices.
  • Added ability to clear messages.
  • Fixed several small bugs.

0.1.4

  • Fixed critical bug causing chat box to stick to cursor on some browsers, on some pages.

0.1.3

  • Fixed some UI issues with the chat box being hidden and not staying minimized across pages.
  • Adjusted Show on Home Page option to Show on Front Page instead.

0.1.2

  • Changed UI to use floating action button for minimizing.

0.1.1

  • Added setting allowing admin to specify API base URL.