One trait that all humans possess is the conversational nature. We tend to get in a conversation on topics with like-minded people. UX designers implemented this conversational style in their design of digital assets, thus providing for a better user experience.
Slowly, with the advancement of technology, this conversational style spilled into the chatbot universe, with the core being a humanised approach. But before I delve into the topic, let me throw some light on what exactly is a Chatbot.
Chatbot is a computer program which conducts conversations via auditory or text messages. It is built in a way to simulate a conversation experience through a dialog system for the user. Some chatbots use sophisticated and complex language processing systems, but some use simpler systems.
Chatbots are used by many websites and instant messaging platforms to assist in generating and passing information to the users. Eg: Siri for iphone users and Eva for HDFC bank customers. Thus, you can start a conversation with the chatbot to get the desired information and in turn, the chatbot will engage with you in an informative conversation.
However, to get that informative and meaningful conversation going, there has to be a conversational design approach. So below are the effective design tips to give a human approach to your chatbot.
1. A catchy welcome
Namaste! How amazing it is to be greeted upon visiting any store, isn't it? Well, same should be the case with chatbots. There has to a kickass welcome message which will depict the functionality of the chatbot, the scope (although it is very specific and limited) and set the user expectations. By doing so, the user will get an idea of the things to be expected from the bot and prevent them from asking any irrelevant questions.
The personality of the bot is one of the most important characteristic, but majority of times, it is being ignored. The conversation or chat that is happening is real time and thus it becomes important to give a tone, voice (either humorous or formal) and a specific look, which makes it more human. Asking the user to fill the chatbot profile at the beginning of the conversational journey will go a long way in fostering a fruitful, engaging and informative conversation.
3. Interaction Styles
There is a difference in a way two people react and interact to a same piece of information. Similarly, even chatbots need to have an interesting and unique interaction style. Having 'text' as the only means of communication is passé. You need to think beyond words. So create interaction styles that involve text + images, videos, images and gifs etc. This will not only keep the user engaged and hooked, but will also indulge the user in some entertainment. Thus, keeping alive the human aspect of the chatbot.
EDesigning a well thought navigation flow for the chatbot is one of the most critical aspect, as it will define the success or failure of your bot. You need to figure out what will happen in each step of the information journey. Think of all the scenarios and interaction the user will be using, including an incomprehensible interaction by the user, skipping of the steps, going backward etc and accordingly implement a navigation flow.
So, as a UX designer you are already aware of ensuring a design which gives the user an enhanced user experience. If the user is disappointed, probably he will not return again. Similarly, even the design structure of the chatbot needs to be user friendly and thereby, ensuring that the user loves interacting.
Chatbot is a buzzword now-a-days and most of the apps and websites will adopt to chatbots sooner or later. So as a UX designer and strategist you need to ensure the conversational design structure is in place for an effective and efficient chatbot.