Chatbots must offer memorable conversational experiences, bridging the gaps between customers’ needs and business capabilities within seconds. An average prospect spends only 15 seconds on a website before bouncing. Therefore, your chatbots must be engaging and offer quick solutions to keep visitors hooked. This requires a human-like interaction design, taking users through a fun and exciting process.
Looking at Chatbots as a form of Conversational Design
Traditionally, Chatbots have been using decisions trees to reply to user inputs. Conversational chatbots differ from this. They converse like humans and can hold conversations by understanding the user’s intent and responding accordingly.
To design an effective chatbot, you need to understand how people interact with conversational agents. For example, people will naturally use short, partial sentences as they would when talking to another person.
Three essential elements make up a practical design for conversational chatbots:
Your bot’s personality should be carefully considered and defined. This will ensure your bot speaks the same language as your target audience and builds rapport quickly. In addition, different types of bots will require different personalities. For example, a customer service bot needs to be helpful and polite, whereas a quiz bot can be more playful and entertaining.
2. Conversation Flow
The conversation flow must be easy to follow and logical for the user. The chatbot should not ask too many questions at once or require multiple steps to get a solution. Keep it simple and ensure the user always knows where they are in the conversation.
3. Contextual Understanding
The chatbot must understand the user’s intent and respond accordingly. This includes understanding slang, abbreviations, and cultural references. It must also handle multiple inputs at once and switch between different topics easily.
Tips to Create Engaging Chatbot UI/UX
You can follow certain tips to ensure excellent user experiences (UX) and engaging interfaces (UI). Here are some key considerations:
1. Keep Content At the Heart
Witty responses to every question and machine learning as a capability do little than creating a bot that sounds mundane. A chatbot’s success is rooted in the content strategy you follow to make it sound more humane. You must keep a part of your customer base wondering if the chatbot is a person.
A great way to achieve this is to follow some best practices that include:
– Use short and simple sentences.
– Avoid using industry jargon.
– Be precise in your responses.
– Defining your actions.
– Separating the response types based on the emotions they evoke.
– Pre-defining the conversational tone for every scenario.
– Considering and designing for errors.
2. Impart A Contextual Sense Of Understanding
Chatbot interactions must be designed in a way that they feel natural and contextual. This can be done with the help of subtle cues such as emoticons, user’s name, location, and time. You can even use the customer’s purchase history to personalize the chatbot experience. In addition, just like in human conversations, chatbots must be able to revisit topics or user inputs based on the context of the conversation. This is a critical element of new-age chatbots and can be delivered by adding the capability of temporarily storing significant variables that come up in a conversation.
You can add context to chatbots with user personas to steer the flow of conversations around user needs. You can also use small talk to build rapport with the customer and make them feel comfortable.
3. Have Multiple Interaction Designs
Keeping the conversation design to a single type can hamper user experience significantly. For example, having a monotonous list of questions for users to select from. In addition, it can interfere with the natural flow of conversation, making it feel more like an interrogation than a chat.
Instead, you should have different types of interactions for various purposes. You can use:
– Free-text input: to get user feedback or review.
– Multiple choice question: To know what the user wants or direct them to a particular page.
– Rating scale: great for getting customer feedback.
4. Make Use Of White Spaces
White space is an integral part of any design, whether a website or a chatbot interface. It gives the eyes a place to rest and makes the overall design look clean and organized. In chatbots, where most interaction is text-based, white space can play a significant role in making the chatbot experience more engaging.
For example, you can use white space to:
– Create a visual hierarchy: You can use it to highlight the most important parts of your chatbot conversation design.
– Guide the eye: You can use it to direct the user’s attention to a particular part of the conversation.
– Improve legibility: It can make your text more readable and understandable.
5. Selecting The Right Colors
Color is one of the most important aspects of any design, as it can influence the user’s emotions and perceptions. The same holds when designing the UI of chatbots. The colors you select must be in line with your brand identity and should be able to evoke the right emotions.
For example, if you want your chatbot to appear friendly and approachable, you can use warmer colors like orange and yellow. Similarly, if you want it to look more professional, you can go for cooler colors.
In chatbots, colors can be used to:
– Set the tone of the conversation: You can use colors to make the chatbot experience more fun and engaging or serious and professional.
– Highlight essential elements: You can use colors to draw attention to certain key elements, such as calls-to-action.
– Facilitate navigation: You can use colors to help users navigate the conversation by using different colors for different sections.
6. Use Visual Aids
Images, videos, and other visual aids can make a conversation more engaging by breaking the monotony of text-based interactions. They can also explain complex concepts or products simply and concisely.
In chatbots, you can use visual aids to:
– Illustrate a point: You can use images and videos to explain a point in a conversation.
– Make the chatbot more engaging: You can use images and videos to make the chatbot experience more fun and exciting.
– Educate the user: You can use interactions and visual elements to educate the user about your products or services.
7. Leverage The Power Of Gamification
Gamification uses game mechanics and design in non-gaming contexts to engage users and motivate them to achieve a goal. For example, it can be significantly used in chatbots to keep users engaged and motivated.
Some ways in which you can use gamification in chatbots are:
– Offering rewards for completing tasks: You can offer rewards, such as badges, points, or virtual currency, for completing tasks or interacting with the chatbot.
– Providing feedback: You can use gamification to provide feedback to users about their performance in the chatbot.
– Using game mechanics: You can use game mechanics, such as levels, quests, and challenges, to keep users engaged and motivated.
– Adding a social component: You can allow users to compete against each other or collaborate on tasks to increase engagement.
8. Test, Test, and Test Again
Testing is an essential part of any design process, and chatbot design is no different. Chatbots are complex systems, and it’s essential to test them thoroughly before launch. Testing allows you to identify and fix UI elements, improve user experience, and fix bugs.
In chatbots, you can test the following:
– Conversation flow: You can test the flow of the conversation to make sure it’s easy to understand and navigate.
– User interface: Testing the UI elements will help ensure that they are intuitive and easy to use.
– Interaction design: How users interact with the chatbot to identify any issues is critical.
– Chatbot’s language: The chatbot’s language must be clear and easy to understand.
– Tone of the conversation: You can test the tone of the conversation to make sure it is appropriate.
Steps To Design The Perfect Conversational Interface
A conversational designer teaches the bot to converse humanly. Their role is to predict the difficulties users can face and design to solve them even before they occur. Here’s how conversational designers can build memorable chatbot interfaces:
1. Understanding if a conversational interface is required:
The first step is to understand if a conversational interface will help users achieve their goals. Conversational interfaces may not be applicable in some instances, like booking a movie ticket where the use
r just needs to perform a task quickly.
2. Identifying User Needs:
The next step is to understand the user needs and design the conversation keeping those in mind. To do this, you must create user personas by answering questions such as:
– Who is the user?
– What are their goals?
– What are the circumstances of their problems?
3. Designing Conversations:
After understanding the user’s needs, it’s time to design conversations. A conversational designer starts by creating a flowchart of all possible user paths and then designs dialogues for each path. This can be finalized by developing chatbot scripts that define text sequences based on user intentions.
4. Writing the script:
Take the user path flowchart, input user needs, and start writing the script for each path. The script should be such that its context can be easily understood by the chatbot and conveyed to the user simultaneously.
5. Testing the bot:
After the script is ready, test the bot to see if it works as intended. For example, test all possible user paths and use cases to check if the bot can handle them.
As you can see from the points we’ve covered, there’s a lot to consider when designing an engaging and practical chatbot experience; especially there is a need to ensure customer expectations are met. As a conversational designer, your aim should be to make the chatbot as humanlike as possible by following these steps.
So there you have it, essential tips to create an engaging chatbot experience for your customers. Implement these tips in your chatbot design and see how they can help improve the overall user experience.