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Tips for Designing Awe-Inspiring Conversational Interfaces

Hey! What are you looking for? Can I help you? This one is on discount.

Where do you normally hear these phrases? While shopping? That’s right! But as the shopping scene has diverted hugely to online shopping, we miss this actual human interaction, don’t we? No matter what we want, with real humans we always had a helping hand. Either to find out from the highest shelves, or just to help us decide what we should get. But online, there’s no actual humans with opinions and knowledge to guide us.

This would be true up to a few years ago.

But with the onset of conversational designs, you most likely get to see bots trying to make you feel welcome on online stores. Not just shopping, conversational designs can be applied to almost any area in digital.

Conversational designs can reduce job applications from lengthy and tedious forms down to a fun conversation that you have with a bot. You can ask questions to a bot rather than reading down through huge specification pages of a product you want to purchase.

But making conversational websites can be costlier than normal web applications. This is because of the extra efforts that go into building bots. But the cost that remains the same is that of the hosting service. You can manage your budget by opting for online coupons and deals on GoDaddy and other hosting services and save on your project. Other ways to reduce the cost would be to hire an in-house developer or use open tools to build the app rather than creating it from scratch.

Now that you know what conversational designs are, it’s time to see how you can actually design a stunning conversation interface experience. Here are 8 useful tips to design a conversational UI.

  1. Know your audience

    This will help you a lot to decide what your bot experience should be like. Get to know how your audience is likely to react in certain situations. Keep the story simple.

    Another thing that you should consider is who they are. Are they tweens, in their mid 20s or double the age. Different people react to experiences differently. Customize the design experience exactly for them.

  2. Brand Tone

    Maintain the brand consistency with your chatbots. You could create a bot figure like a mascot that helps people have fun while they’re browsing your website and also remember you for later.

    Most importantly, greet them when they come. Who doesn’t like a warm welcome. Take the opportunity to break the ice. Place the bots at strategic pages over your web application. Start a conversation and take it ahead from there.

  3. Train your bot well

    One of the coolest things about a conversational design is how easy it makes a user’s online experience. But no one would like to type, type and type, especially when they know they’re most likely talking to a bot and not an actual human. Don’t let them get confused or feel unsure.

    Let them choose between answers. Depending on the questions your chatbot asks, it is easy to predict what answer is required in return. Help the users by not letting them do the hard work of typing their thoughts. Provide them with options so it not only gets the job done, but also saves time.

  4. Screen Space

    One thing that many designers forget about is the space utilization with the conversational bots. In basic designs, you may keep a white space across your content to increase readability, but with a conversational approach, this white space can convert into a visually rich area where you provide information.

    However, keep in mind that if you want your audience to browse through the website and at the same time chat with your bot, you are expecting them to multitask. While multitasking, the last thing that they want to see is redundant information. Even worse would be when the information they were interested in is now hidden behind the chat window.

    Design your web pages with a dedicated space for your chat bots or at least make it movable. You can also give a minimizing option to your chat window when it is not in use. Another way to create a seamless viewing experience in spite of the bot taking a lot of space on the screen is to increase its transparency. Match the design with the overall design of the application.

  5. Offer suggestions

    Offering suggestions can be a great tool to keep your user engaged. People like when they have options to choose from. Understand what they are looking for, and let them know what’s on the table for them. Though it will hit a little hard on tech, that’s one feature that can stick with your users. Narrow down their search but do not diminish the conversation by assumptive answers.

Conversational designs are full of testing. You need to see what works for your audience and keep on updating your website for better and better results.

Why is a conversational design better?

There are plenty of reasons why a conversational design can improve the experience of your customers online.

  • Operation takes less time encouraging users to take action
  • It’s easy to select buttons than to write questions as in conventional Live Chat
  • People can have a fun time engaging with a cartoon character
  • People are used to chatting in informal scenarios which would reflect with bots too. Thus your chances of getting more honest answers increases.

Case studies suggest that Perfecto Mobile, an IT testing company, increased website conversion rate with 30% with a chatbot, and Artrek, a public transportation service operating in US and Canada increased booking by 25% and saved Rs. 10L in a single year on customer service. Woah! These are whooping numbers. Chat bots can answer millions of questions. Consider the chatbot on Amtrek’s website which answered over 5 million questions in a single year. Studies on Anymail Finder, another email finder that helps people search corporate email ids, found out that 90% of the big customers chat before making a purchase.

Facebook messenger allowed developers to create their own bots in the app itself. The companies which opted experienced an increase in click through rate from Facebook messenger, increase in traffic and reduction in churn rate.

Conversational designs are here to stay. They make an impact bigger than what we thought. Get the most of this virtual friend and give it an amazing home to live in – your website by using the design tips mentioned in this article.

Aamer Hussain Author

Aamer Hussain is an avid writer and content creator who’s passionate about designs and how they can make a person feel. He’s worked in design firms helping websites to bring their businesses online through web based applications and Social Media. Now he’s a dedicated Content Strategist for a product based start-up where he likes to read, write and learn anything new that he can.