Icon Symbol Description

Something that is liked, or is of interest to the user.


A required circumstance that has been met. Often used as part of the outcome of an inference.

Associative Connector

An associative connector indicates an association between symbols.

Causal Connector

A causal connector indicates that the source symbol is the cause or the origin of the target symbol. Causal connectors are the main operators in actors, wherein the modal response on the right is triggered by the context on the left.


A required circumstance. Can be used to indicate requirements in whatever context is appropriate.


Specific content that should included in the modal response.

Content Policy

Describes a policy for the selection or creation of content that should be included in the response.


A collection of data.

Data Source

An origin for data that is external to the application being described. Usually shown producing data.

Data Storage

A method by which data is stored in a non-volatile manner.

Delegates Connector

Indicates that the symbol on the left is delegating contextual control to the symbol on the right. Used to show, for example, delegation from a user facing interface to a service.


A physical device, capable of data collection or distribution. Often (but not always) a device is also intrinsically a sensor.


The circumstances under which the interaction with the user occurs.


An Exit represents the termination of the current mode and a return to whatever the higher level context was on the stack. It can be used to show the ending of flow-style CAVE diagrams.


A feature-set that should be activated when this mode is active.

General Container

A General container represents a grouping of elements. Whether the elements are optional or mandatory may be inferred by the context of the container in the diagram.


A user goal: something the user is attempting to accomplish.

Inference Connector

An inference connector indicates that the target symbol may be inferred from the origin symbol. Inference connectors are the main operators in inferences, where the context elements on the right are inferred from the data on the left.


An interview represents the system asking the user for more information. It can represent a single question, or multiple questions that must be satisfied before the system can proceed.

Mandatory Container

A Mandatory container represents a set of elements where all of the elements described within must be present. Represents an explicit expression that the elements are mandatory.


A reference symbol for a mode.

Optional Container

An Optional container represents a set of elements that may, but does not necessarily, contain any of the elements described within. Represents an explicit expression that the elements are optional.


A component that serves as an exit from the application for data or content. The touch screen on a mobile device could be an Output, as could be a haptic feedback device.


A facet of the user’s personality. Personas generally are stable: once established as being associated with a user, they are unlikely to change.


A potentially transformative algorithm, filtering or series of events that can be applied to data. Generally shown with data entering the process, and more data or context exiting it.


A particular business rule that should be applied.


A component that observes some aspect of the physical world and creates data. Usually associated with a device.


The emotional timbre of the interaction.


A service represents an online contextual service that can be delegated to from a user-facing front end, such as a voice agent or chatbot.


Describes the the manner (often the emotional timbre) of the application in this mode.

User Input

A special kind of data that has been explicitly created by a user. Unlike other kinds of data, User Input often has a tautological association with context (e.g. A user has the goal of opening a file, because they have explicitly said they want to open the file), so as a result it is differentiated from general data.

Voice Agent

Represents a natural-language processing voice agent, such as Siri, Alexa, Cortina, OK Google etc.

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