With many new technologies emerging and many others that have been with us for a while, we interact with conversational interfaces regularly. Designing a good conversational experience between a machine and a human is not simple. It has to be natural, fluid, and simple. In this article, you’ll learn everything about Conversational UX and prototype conversations.
The conversational shift
We’re immersed in a digital era where the average global internet user spends almost 7 hours online each day. So if we consider that many of our daily interactions are through technological devices, it’s no surprise that they’re shifting into conversations that look more human and real.
This conversational shift we’re experiencing is based on what users want and demand. According to Facebook, the majority of users send messages to companies regularly and they expect a fast response. Consumers believe businesses should be available, contactable, and responsive through messaging applications. Companies are aware of this (or at least they should) and they use human-like chatbots to interact with customers.
In 2015, for the first time in history, we spent more time on messaging apps than on social networks. That tendency has grown in the following years, which evidences our desire of more personal conversations. In addition, 27%
of the global online population is using voice search on mobile, which evidences our desire of more natural ones. In order to create these conversations, designers use Conversational User Interfaces (CUI). A Conversational UI is any digital interface that uses text or voice to mimic human language. For example, chatbots and voice recognition systems.
In order to help you understand Conversational UX better, we created this guide to learn more about these 5 important concepts:
- Conversational Design
- Conversational UX
- How to design conversations
- How to prototype
- Conversation-Drive Design
What is Conversational Design?
Conversational design is the process of creating a natural, human-like interaction between a real person and a software system like a chatbot or a voice assistant. Conversational Design can be integrated into a website or app to develop conversations that benefit both companies and users. Those benefits include more engagement, lower human resources costs, faster responses, 24/7 availability, and more.
What is Conversational UX?
Conversational UX is a user experience that mimics human conversation through the combination of chat, voice, or any other language-based technology. It will use backend data and functionalities to make interactions between humans and technology easier and more natural.
Conversational UX needs UX designers to map the route a conversation may or may not take. It involves the use of helpful cues to let the user know what stage they’re at in a conversation.
How to design conversations
According to the philosopher H. Paul Grice, the key of any meaningful dialogue is cooperation. “Each participant recognizes in them, to some extent, a common purpose or set of purposes, or at least a mutually accepted direction.”
He expanded this concept also defining four maxims:
- The maxim of quantity: Make your contribution as informative as required, and no more than that.
- The maxim of quality: Don’t say things that are false or that are not supported by evidence.
- The maxim of relation: Be relevant.
- The maxim of manner: Be as clear, brief and orderly as possible to avoid obscurity and ambiguity.
These concepts are the perfect guideline to design meaningful and relevant interactions. Besides the technology, language recognition, and efficiency in automation, the key to a successful bot is good conversation design. It will ensure that users get the information they need, keep interacting, and engage to come back if needed.
Also, as part of the process of designing conversations, you’ll need to:
- Define the goal of the conversation
- Give your bot a personality to empathize with the audience
- Set a voice tone and define the vocabulary it will use
- Use a chatbot builder, such as Botsociety, to design the different paths that the conversation may take until users solves their problem
How to prototype?
Prototyping the conversation before it goes live is crucial to correct mistakes, consider all paths possible and make any necessary updates. With Botsociety, you can design any type of conversational interface, be it a chatbot or voice, even upload your own settings and animations, and create a pixel-perfect preview of your own platform, mobile app or website. You can see a tutorial on how to do it here.
With prototype mode, you can start testing your design as soon as you create it without waiting for engineering time, integrations, or logic. Once your design is complete, you can export it to Rasa, Dialogflow, or CSV format. Your engineers will be able to use your design as the starting point for their projects.
To make the process faster and easier, we can use Auto-testing with Botsociety, which is basically designing the conversation, testing it with OpenAI acting as the human, gather feedback and keep designing.
Ready to prototype your next UX conversation? Start with Botsociety