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June, 2024

Mastering Conversational Design

What is Conversational Design

Conversational Design is a human-like-filter that’s layered on top of bots. Conveying information to the users fulfills the objective, but being conversational brings a natural touch and boosts user engagement.Conversational Design is a rapidly growing field as it mimics real-life conversations, allowing users to interact with technology in a more intuitive and personalized way, imagine a bot that can be just as silly, smart or humourous as the user. Conversational design makes the interaction seem organic, even if it’s just a system of networks. Though we know it’s a machine on the other end, tailoring these interactions for users makes it feel more human, natural and effortless.

Forms of Conversational Design in our everyday lives

1. Digital voice assistants 

Voice assistants are one of the most advanced implementations of conversational design. They can do everything from telling jokes, stories to informing us about the weather and much more. Experts predict that by 2024, there will be 8.4 billion digital voice assistants in use worldwide, outnumbering the global population. And by 2025, the transaction value of purchases made through these devices is expected to reach $164 billion!

So, it’s safe to say that our AI friends are here to stay.

Hey Siri, tell us what you can do!!

Siri can perform various tasks such as making calls, sending messages, setting reminders, providing weather updates, searching for information on the internet, playing music, controlling smart home devices, and more. With advanced features such as voice recognition technology, it recognizes individual voices and provides customized responses based on individual preferences. Siri can also integrate with third-party apps to provide personalized and relevant responses to users. It can even entertain you by telling jokes, singing songs, and providing live sports updates.

2. Chatbot

A chatbot, on the other hand, is designed to understand and respond to a conversation in a natural, human-like manner. The chatbot is equipped with artificial intelligence and access to knowledge databases to become ‘contextually aware’. It can then pick up variations in a customer’s question and give relevant answers to numerous users simultaneously, thanks to the incredibly short reaction time.

Chatbots will Now Book Tickets To Events & Shows for you

The chatbot of a Cinema theater website lets visitors book tickets and view the trailer for the movie they want to watch – which helps them make a buying decision. The chatbot, in addition to providing support, also helps increase sales.

This application of chatbot isn’t just limited to movie theaters. Performers, sports teams, organizations, nonprofits, and anyone creating an event can use chatbots to smoothly sell tickets to their fans and audiences.

3. Interactive applications

In the online world, you’ll find various conversational design examples. From ecommerce platforms to news websites, modern technological solutions are being adopted by all leading organizations, particularly when it comes to customer service and improving the user experience.

How Duolingo interacts with users who come to learn languages

Duolingo helps users learn a language with small conversational exercises. The number of downloads for Duolingo has surpassed 500 million, which speaks for its good conversational design and ease of use.

Duolingo has made a partnership with Open AI. GPT-4 deepens the conversation on Duolingo. It will now offer English-speaking users AI-powered conversations in French or Spanish, and can use GPT-4 to explain the mistakes language learners have made. With the help of GPT4, they have introduced 2 new features – Role Play, an AI conversation partner, and Explain my Answer, which breaks down the rules when you make a mistake.

Ever chatted with a bot or voice assistant and thought it was a human on the other end?

That’s the magic of conversational design! It’s all about creating a conversation that’s structured yet engaging between you and your digital friend. It typically involves creating a script of potential user interactions and identifying the intents and entities that the chatbot or voice assistant should recognize.

Phases of the process :

  • Converts speech to text using Automatic speech recognition (ASR).
  • Interprets the meaning of the user’s request by using Natural language understanding (NLU).
  • By leveraging machine learning, it generates a response that simulates human-like language –Through Natural Language Generation (NLG).
  • Finally, it converts the response into speech using text-to-speech software

Fundamentals of Conversational Design

  • Responsiveness – Quick response is expected out of bots. It also means that the design can be interacted with using different devices and platforms.
  • Availability – With conversational services like chatbots, the users can get issues resolved at any time of the day. Time is precious, speed is everything.
  • Simplicity – Language that is simple and easy to understand is extremely crucial. This is what makes it conversational.
  • Error tolerant – To err is human. It becomes important for machines to understand imperfect information from users and still provide them with relevant answers.

Conversational design Vs Conversational UX

Conversational design and conversational UX are two related but distinct concepts in the field of conversational interfaces.Conversational design is all about creating a chatbot or voice assistant that can have natural and engaging conversations with users. It involves designing the conversation’s structure, content, and flow to meet users’ needs. On the other hand, conversational UX focuses on the overall experience of using a conversational interface. This means designing the conversation to meet user goals, understanding their preferences and limitations, and making the interface intuitive and enjoyable to use.

Best Practices

  • Understand the balance between technology, psychology, and language  – Structured data like variables, and entities are necessary for the artificial brain. Whereas the human brain functions with empathy, direction, and encouragement. And the common factor that unites them both is language. Understanding these three dimensions gives users a better experience.
  • Design a persona for trust– Create a strong persona that enables you to use a consistent vocabulary that speaks to the users. This ensures likability and trust.
  • Have a human-centric design process – The foundation of a positive conversational experience is human centricity.When there is a lack of empathy, the user feels lost and unimportant. Understanding users’ concerns, motivations, and context builds trust. It makes the conversation natural and  human-like.
  • Use role-play and sample dialogue – One will play user and one will play the role of voice assistant or chatbot. They talk for the most part while seated back to back from one another. This enables them to eventually reach their most natural conversation after a few iterations.
  • Keep it simple with edge cases – Avoid wasting too much time attempting to resolve rarely occurring situations. 80% of your time should not be spent on 20% of your users in all those strange exceptions. Instead, it’s better to direct them to  an agent or a website for more information.

Chat GPT empowering the specially abled

Be My Eyes uses GPT-4 to transform visual accessibility.

With the new visual input capability of GPT-4 (in research preview), Be My Eyes began developing a GPT-4 powered Virtual Volunteer™ within the Be My Eyes app that can generate the same level of context and understanding as a human volunteer.

It helps to analyze and respond to images that are submitted alongside prompts and answer questions or perform tasks based on those images. The advantage of using GPT4 is the ability to have a conversation and the greater degree of analytical prowess offered by the technology.

What the future holds for Conversational Design

  • Increased personalization – That could include chatbots and virtual assistants that understand individual users’ preferences and can adapt their responses accordingly.
  • Multimodal interfaces – We can expect to see conversational interfaces that incorporate other modalities such as gesture, touch, and even brain-computer interfaces.
  • Emotionally intelligent interactions – As conversational agents become more human-like, they will need to be able to recognize and respond to users’ emotions.
  • Integration with other technologies – Conversational design will become more powerful as it is integrated with other technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet of things. This could enable conversational interfaces to interact with physical environments in new and exciting ways.
  • Greater accessibility – Conversational design has the potential to make technology more accessible to people with disabilities. 
  • Natural Language Processing – As NLP technology continues to advance, chatbots and virtual assistants could become even better at understanding and interpreting complex language structures and idioms.

The demand for conversational design is expanding, and the underlying technologies are becoming more advanced. It will be interesting to see what the future holds and what new use cases and experiences we start to see as technology advances and more businesses use conversational design.

Our Design Perspective

The opportunity for conversational design is immense. Users’ use of different platforms such as websites and mobile applications may be simplified due to this technical advancement, which can also help businesses increase the quality of their services. Customer support, marketing, and online information design can all be made more valuable with the implementation of conversational design. Conversational design involves creating engaging, natural, and interpersonal interaction between computers and users. Conversational designers must consider how users will engage with them, what the interface will say or do in response, and how to provide an intuitive and efficient user experience.

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