Symbol Library

The CAVE Language library is divided between the Core library and a series of extensions. The extensions are meant for more specialized purposes, and are kept out of the core because they are less likely to be of use to everyone.

Core Collection

Connector Symbols

Connectors are used to connect symbols together. They are simple lines and come in two flavors, associative and causal. Connectors may optionally be labeled in order to clarify their meaning.

Icon Symbol Description
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.

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.

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.

Data Symbols

Data symbols have to do with the identification, sourcing and handling of data.

Icon Symbol Description

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.


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


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.


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

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.

Context Symbols

Context symbols have to do with the extraction of meaningful knowledge about a user. Generally context is inferred from data.

Icon Symbol Description

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


The circumstances under which the interaction with the user occurs.


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


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


The emotional timbre of the interaction.


Conditions and assertions are more general ways to express both requirements and outcomes for inferences.

Icon Symbol Description

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


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


A modal response is comprised of mode elements, which describe different aspects of that modal response.

Icon Symbol Description

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.


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.


A reference symbol for a mode.


A particular business rule that should be applied.


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.


Containers group several elements together, allowing them to be treated as a set. Containers come in two forms, Optional (OR containers) or Mandatory (AND containers). Note that it is not always necessary to explicitly detail a container just to show a set of elements. Containers are used to clarify the nature of the element set, if the nature of the set is already clear then they are unnecessary.

Icon Symbol Description
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.

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.

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.


Data Processing

For describing manipulation of data.


Boolean logic.


For systemic depection of ethical systems. Has applications for Artificial Intelligence.

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