When it comes to conversational user interfaces, the main idea is to make it seamless and simple to understand and interact with. You want command structures that are easy to identify and easy to understand both on the chatbot or voice assistant’s end and on the user’s end. In addition to this, the conversation that is presented to the user needs to be distraction-free and natural in its flow, wording, and interactions. In order to create an effective conversational interface, it must have clarity, character, compassion, and correction. Here are the best practices that aid in creating stunning interfaces.
- Have a Clean & Minimalistic Background : If you create a background that is distracting, the user will not be able to focus on what is in the foreground. For instance, if you are creating a messaging application for your chatbot, having a patterned background is going to detract from the dialogue and make it hard to focus on what is being said. If you do choose to use a pattern, it needs to draw very little attention. The best practice though is a completely clean background; which is why you normally always see white as the colour choice.
- A Conversational UI Needs to Be Concise : Why? Because it needs to simplify the user’s understanding of the text and still leave enough whitespace behind the dialogue or the foreground design to make it easy to focus on. When creating a chatbot, you want enough whitespace between the dialogue options to make it easy to move from one to the other and combine this with shorter sentences for easy comprehension. If you have long paragraphs of text, break them up across multiple messages.
- Avoid Dead Ends by Eliminating False Options : When a chatbot cannot respond meaningfully, you run the chance of presenting false options to the user. For instance, a user has asked for more information and that information is provided, but then the chatbot reminds the user to ask for more results afterwards, leading the user to do so. However, it is likely that there are no more available results since the results were already given. This leads to dead ends.
- Use Consistent Phrases for Commands : You want to be consistent in what phrases you use for certain commands. When you use more than one phrase to denote the same function, you end up confusing the end-user because they won’t be able to remember what phrase does what function. An example of this would be the function for placing something on a list to refer back to at another time; you may use ‘add to list’ or ‘remember’ or ‘save now’ but having all three within your application would cause confusion. Use one consistently.
- Link Voice Personality with Brand Image : When creating an assistant that has voice activation, you want to choose a voice sound that links closely to your brand. This lets customers know that they are talking to a voice assistant that represents your brand, your meaning, and your values. Beyond this, selecting the right voice personality can go a long way in making your customers feel like you are being transparent with them and are approachable and friendly. When selecting a voice personality, keep your target audience in mind, the social context that will be used, what problem your bot solves, and what brand your bot is representing.
- Solve Command Misunderstandings : Before having your bot send that dreaded, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand” message, try and solve what the misunderstanding is. You want your bot to always be able to understand the context and what is being asked and provide a viable and practical answer. To do this, make sure that the unknown command is not misspelt, make sure that the unknown command is synonymous with a programmed command, and use alternative strategies to get the bot to resolve the issue (this is dependent on your bot’s domain).
Whether you are in chatbot development or creating voice assistants, the key to successful conversational commerce is in humanizing the experience that one has via the conversation module and eliminating any dead-ends or in-exact responses that are non-intuitive. Make the interface easy, convenient, and free from distractions while slowing down the decision-making process into bite-size pieces.
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