With chatbots, user experience is even more vital than with other products. Your users are having a conversation with your chatbot and the conversational experience is critical to the success of your chatbot, and not only that, the chatbot is also talking on behalf of your company and your brand. It’s not enough to just build your chatbot, you need to ensure your users are getting a tangible value by using it.
Your chatbot needs to solve their problem and to do this the conversation needs to flow clearly, naturally, and with empathy and personality. In addition, your users shouldn’t have to learn how to talk with your chatbot; they should be able to talk with it freely, just like they do with people.
The best way to ensure great conversation is to start designing your conversational flow and testing it along use cases before you even start building your bot in the tool. It’s a bit like designing a journey with the ultimate goal being helping users to their goal. Once you have done that, you can start building and testing simple prototypes in SAP Conversational AI and further refining your conversational dialogue. In a Beta phase, you can gather feedback from a restricted number of real users and correct any major issues before going live. And even when you are done, you aren’t done – by monitoring usage you can refine and enhance your chatbot continuously.
This may sound like a lot of work in addition to building your chatbot, and to be honest it is, but in the long run you will reap the benefits and it will also save you the effort of having to do major redesigns in the bot builder.
This diagram shows our recommended end-to-end process of conversational design.
Part 1/6: Getting started – From business cases to use cases (Offline/mockup phase)
In this blog, we’ll start with the first part of the mockup phase, where you are getting started. Here you will validate your business case, define the scope, and identify your use cases. In a follow-up blog, we’ll talk about defining everything you need for your user and your chatbot, and then finish this phase with a blog on designing your first conversational dialogue for one of your use cases, reviewing that dialogue, and then performing testing to refine that dialogue in readiness for the Prototype phase.
The bot design team
As with any products many different roles are involved across the different phases of your chatbot design. Everyone has their own key skills and together they can provide the best possible conversational experience for your users. The team can also be the initial creators and testers of your initial dialogue and can participate in quality reviews to refine your conversational flow making sure it is a natural, clear dialogue. For us this means involving product management, development, designers, and conversation designers, but it depends on how your company is set up.
As with any product or feature, the first step is to ensure you have a solid business case. A chatbot is something that is going to make things easier and quicker for your users and there is a real need for it. There’s no point in providing a chatbot for something that then takes longer than the usual app or transaction – you’ll only frustrate your users.
Scope, feasibility, limitations
Once you know that a chatbot will provide added value, start thinking about the capabilities you will provide with your chatbot. Clearly define the scope, feasibility and limitations – start simply, you can add complexity as you go along. It is important to really understand exactly what your chatbot can and cannot do.
Identify the use cases of the chatbot and the tasks contained in each use case. Again, start simply and add complexity as you go along.
Example of MacMaz Event Management
This company has defined a business case for a set of Event chatbots to assist organizers, speakers, and attendees. They’ve identified use cases with related tasks for these chatbots. As they have some large conferences scheduled soon and want to ensure attendees have the best possible experience, they start designing the Guide Attendees (see below) use case and tasks.
You’ve now completed the Getting Started part of the initial phase and you have validated your business case, defined your scope, and defined your use cases, congrats!
Interested in learning more?
Check out the blogs on each phase of the process:
- Part 2/6: Defining requirements for your sample user and your chatbot (Offline/Mockup phase) – Available in March 2020
- Part 3/6: From designing your first conversational dialogue to testing and refining that dialogue (Offline/Mockup phase) – Available in April 2020
- Part 4/6: Creating your chatbot prototype (Prototyping phase) – Available in April 2020
- Part 5/6: Testing and refining your dialogue (Beta phase) – Available in April 2020
- Part 6/6: Going live, monitoring, and refining your chatbot (Productive phase) – Available in May 2020
Happy bot building 🤖