8 Tips for Designing Awe-Inspiring Conversational Interfaces
Design is almost synonymous with conversational interfaces, which are used left, right, and center from natural language messaging to voice-based action. Biggies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon are neck-and-neck when it comes to taking conversation as a platform to the next level with their virtual assistants, that make it easy for users to take the next course of action. It is no different than talking to the next person beside you. One-on-one. Sample these scenarios: Need to buy a product? Ask a bot to guide you. Want to download an app but need to know more about its features? A bot will answer all your queries. Looking for a discount code during checkout? Fret not, as the bot will help you search and apply the best deals! As more number of sites, apps and other platforms go conversational, it becomes mandatory for web designers to know how to make the most of it. Those of you who are just getting started in this direction will benefit from these eight tips for designing awe-Inspiring conversational interfaces.
1. Pay Attention To User Reactions
When you want to design a conversational interface, the first thing you need to take into consideration is the target users and how they are most likely to react in specific situations. Getting this perspective is mandatory before you start working on conversations that fit their interests and requirements like pieces of a puzzle. Address their issues in the first screen itself and take it from there.
2. Provide a Unique Personality
One of the major characteristics of conversational interfaces is that they are as different as chalk and cheese. If you take the example of Alexa, Siri, Cortana and OK Google, you’ll find that each of these speak to the user in a different manner and yet, serve their ultimate purpose. It is the best way to humanize them even if they can never replace a human. It will not only set your interface apart from competition, but also hook the users.
3. Break the Ice
Everything will be futile if you leave the users playing the guessing game about the features and functionalities your bot is about to serve. You need to make it clear to them at the very beginning itself, maybe as an introductory message, animation or speech bubble. Let your creativity do the talking! The more you work on the onboarding, the easier it will be for them to interact with the interface.
4. Use Conversational Text
Make your chatbots as human as possible. On a virtual level, this is possible by using conversational text. It should be as seamless and as natural as possible. Even for questions as random such as “are you a bot or a real person?” the bot should be able to handle the query like a human and take the conversation further. Ergo, make the tone of the conversation as informal so that it gives incentive to the reader for responding back. If they don’t understand the conversation in the first place, the chances of them replying back are bleak. You’ll need excellent copy for this as the main purpose is to increase user engagement with colloquial language. For instance, if your target audience includes Millennial and Gen Z, you may use phrases or abbreviations like On Fleek, Lit or SMH, which they can easily relate.
5. Write Short Texts
Say goodbye to long strings of information and use short texts to retain your target audience’s attention span. The texts should be easily skimmable and if the reader wants, they can directly take a call-to-action without having to go through large chunks of text using smartly designed buttons. One of the best ways to do this is to take the help of visual feedback, which is the next point.
6. Offer Plenty of Visual Feedback
Web designers cut down on text and include whitespace on the websites to improve readability for visitors. Something similar also applies to conversational interfaces. In this case, the whitespace is replaced by visual cues. Use several graphics, charts, images, GIFs and maps to relay bite-sized information. Alternatively, you can even go a step ahead and add infographics, slideshows or videos to explain features and functionalities of a product or a service and even to guide them to a physical store. If they ask for a recipe, maybe you can give them recipe cards straight from the website. These are the best options to reply to the queries put forth by the users. You get the drift!
7. Don’t Forget The Emojis
Emojis are used for a reason. Various chat-based applications have their own emoji sets to assist users in expressing a varied range of emotions, which are difficult to pen down in words. In this digital age, emojis are an integral part of our lives and it’s a given that emojis or emoticons need to be a part of your conversational interface.
8. Give Users Plenty of Choices
If you don’t want users to leave midway from a conversation, give them plenty of choices, which include but are not limited to buttons, shortcuts, quick reply options so that they can reply/respond speedily. Remember the automated replies by LinkedIn messenger? Work on something similar and make them type less. Give them the option to select from sending texts, attachments, stickers, videos, photos and so on and so forth. Conversational interfaces have skyrocketed and there is no coming back. To keep up to speed, use these tips to offer the best AI experiences to your users on a design level.