Curated Session

Chatbots and Conversational UI

February 6, 2017 2:05 PM - 3:05 PM

In this hour, the conversation is all about… conversation. How well do conversational interfaces work, and for what contexts? What’s the right personality for your bot? How do you prototype it? In three talks, Shopify’s Elizabeth Allen, WillowTree’s Whitney French, and Fidelity’s Greg Vassallo share their techniques and experiences.

FIT – Haft Auditorium
227 W 27th Street, New York, NY 10001

Moderator and host

Elizabeth Allen
Adventures in Conversational Commerce
Elizabeth Allen, UX Researcher, Shopify

At Shopify, one service we provide entrepreneurs who run their businesses on our platform is access to messaging bots that behave like “virtual employees” – they autonomously handle customer service interactions, online marketing campaigns, and even make sales. These bots help overwhelmed entrepreneurs stay on top of their businesses without spending the time and money required to hire additional human staff.

In this talk, I’ll discuss the extensive UX research and design work that goes into creating bots that are “game-changing” employees to busy entrepreneurs, and share the lessons we have learned along the way about facilitating communication between businesses and their customers.

Whitney French
Shortcut to Chatbot Emotional Intelligence
Whitney French, Senior Product Designer, WillowTree

Chatbots have been getting a lot of press recently, with Slack, Facebook, and Microsoft embracing the technology. But many of the bots released on these platforms are like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz – they’ve got no heart. In this talk, I’ll cover how a user-centered design process can lend a heart to your chatbot and why that’s important, including high-level design process frameworks, as well as key tactical areas of focus. Specifically, I’ll address how usefulness, helpfulness, flow and cadence, personality, and intelligence can be leveraged to breathe life into your chatbot’s conversational capabilities.

Greg Vasallo
Prototyping Conversational UI
Greg Vassallo, Product Designer, Fidelity Investments

For years we’ve been focussed on hierarchical navigation, search, and the feed as mechanisms for connecting people with content and services.

Now that a new modality has emerged in the form of conversational UI, we need new ways to rapidly prototype and test ideas that express themselves as conversational UI interactions.

This talk will explore a framework for thinking about where conversational UI fits into Interaction Design, aand some concrete ways to get started prototyping and iterating on conversational UI.

  • What is conversational UI good for?
  • Where does Conversational UI fit into the overall interaction design landscape?
  • What other fields can we learn from to help us design effective conversational interactions?
  • What are some methods we can use to start rapidly prototyping conversational systems?
  • What’s the current landscape of design and development tools, and how do their organizing principles inform how you approach the problem?
  • How should we think about partnering with AI when designing these interactions?