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Basic Principles for Best Conversational User Interfaces

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What is Conversational User Interface?

User Interfaces is the design or the system through which the user and the computer interact. Conversational user interfaces are the user interfaces that help humans to interact with computers using Voice or text. As technology is growing, it is becoming easy through NLU (Natural Language Understanding) to interpret human voice or text to an understandable computer format.

Types of Conversational User Interfaces

Fig:- Types of CUI’s

  1. Voice assistants allow a person to interact verbally.
  2. Chatbots where the user interacts with the bots by typing commands or queries.

We can easily find conversational user interfaces like Siri, Alexa, and support bots in many websites in today's life.

The basic idea behind the conversational user interfaces is that they should be as easy to use and talk about as talking or having information from a human being.

The Conversational Interface is to make communication between humans and computers easier & foster a personal connection between services and their users. Taken From Article, Conversational UI Best Practices and Tools

What are the Principles of Conversational User Interface?

The below highlighted are the basic principles of Conversational User Interface:

Clear about the objective or the purpose of building CUI

We must be clear about the purpose of building CUI. While building the CUI, we must know the answers to the following questions:-

  • Who is our target audience?
  • What business objective it is going to achieve?
  • How it will benefit our customers?
  • What problem it will solve for our customers so that they don’t get distracted from our platform?

So our chatbots should be clearly defined with the tasks it is going to perform. It should also not be overloaded with too much information or tasks so it couldn’t do anything well and confuse customers with too many choices.

Users should know about the bot from the very beginning

The users should know about the bot's capabilities and incapabilities. Like when a user starts to interact with the bot, he might not know what to do with this. If it is a voice assistant, it must inform the user like Hey, I am XYZ. I can help you with scheduling a meeting with our doctor. Or, I could help you with providing the details of our products and it’s availability. Try asking me about any product.

So, it shouldn’t be like when the user starts to interact and doesn’t know what to do with it and gets frustrated and leaves the app.

Functionality should be Connecting

In research, it is revealed that users are more likely to interact with the bots or when it is more connected to them or like it should feel like they are interacting with human beings. If it is a voice assistant, then the tune should be fine audible, and always we should try that bot should reply with their names because it sounds good and feels more connecting towards them.

Interaction design is a designing process which focuses on creating engaging web Interfaces with logical thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Taken From Article, Interaction Design Principles, Methods and Best Practices

To be more Appropriate

It should always reply with a more concise answer that doesn’t include more words or sentences, which is inappropriate because it confuses the answer and loses its attention. E.g., if a user asks about any product, it should reply with its availability and one-line details.

Now it should include 3-4 lines of its details and history.

Minimum details asked

It is good if we show some suggestions to the user while interacting so that they don’t have to type much. Also, it is a good practice not to allow users to type much and get as much information from the system. Also, users expect that if some information is said once, it shouldn’t be asked again and expect that it should remember that information for the rest of the conversation.

E.g., If the user is scheduling a meeting with a doctor, it should automatically suggest some available times with the doctor's names.

The UI Editor uses the concept of a canvas as an invisible backdrop for your game user interface elements.Taken From Article, Working with UI Canvases

Handle Unexpected Situations

Like how well we design our systems, it is the chance that the error will occur. So, our chatbots should always handle them gracefully. For this, we should try to do the following:-

  1. We should gather the information beforehand from the user and then act on them.
  2. Should be able to handle unexpected situations like clicking on the wrong button, undo button, or anything and then should be able to pick up where they were.

Easy access to end the Conversation

It often happens that the users are not satisfied with the chatbots’ reply and want to interact with the human. It should be easily accessible for the bot to navigate to the human being. Also, it should end the conversation gracefully with some messages like thank you for contacting us.

It shouldn’t be like the user is trying to end, but it is replying either to text or voice.

Show Presence

The chatbots and voice assistants should keep the attention of the user. Like if he has asked something, then the bots should show typing indicators. So the user knows that yes, I will get a reply back and doesn’t feel lost.

Conversational user interface technology is fundamentally shifting how technology providers build and how people use software and applications. Taken From Article, Conversational UI for Software Product Innovation

Use Cases of Conversational User Interface

The CUI’s are gaining popularity in various industries like healthcare, education, e-commerce, and many more.

These industries are incorporating voice UI’s and chatbots in their websites, mobile applications to answer the questions related to their business model.

Education Industry

Today if we go through an educational website like Shiksha or any, we can find chatbots. They answer the questions of the customer as employees of the company would provide.

Healthcare Industry

As we know that day by day diseases are increasing, so are patients. So the doctors don't get enough time to look for each and every detail. To manage these, the chatbots gather the patients' information through the app or website, monitor the patients and schedule appointments, and many more.

E-commerce Industry

In today's e-commerce industry, many products and chatbots and Vocal UI’s provide information regarding the product's availability, updates on them, and many more.
We can easily see them on websites like Nykaa.

Smart Devices and IOT

Today many people are using smart devices which use vocal commands to operate them. In mobile, Alexa is there, which turns the TV on or plays the music based on commands.

Conclusion

So, it is necessary that while designing and developing the CUI’s, we should keep in mind that interaction should always feel like two ways, and the bot shouldn’t be more complex to understand for users and to use it. Because designing the bots, our main objective is to pass the message to each other and increase the customer's value towards us.

CX and UX play an essential role in the overall success of a program, the reputation of your brand, and customers' loyalty to your brand. Taken From Article, Comparing Customer Experience and User Experience

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