In this article I would like to share the experience gained in impossible minds in the design of conversational experiences. Chatbots failed to create a new touchpoint alternative to the web or apps as expected in early 2016, but automation is now more alive than ever and companies are increasingly introducing messaging components into their digital channels.
From the very beginning of my experience, I knew the limits of a conversation-only interface. Natural language processing algorithms have evolved, but are still limited compared to a true contextual conversation. Furthermore, conversations are not linear and often different topics overlap and disorient the user. For this reason, the main messaging platforms added UI elements to simplify the interaction.
What has really excited me in recent years has been the possibility to combine the efficiency and interactivity of a GUI with the familiarity and simplicity of a conversational interaction. At impossible minds we design hybrid interfaces, not only to deliver great efficiencies to business, but also to significantly improve the customer experience.
In particular, we are very focused on voice interaction, which is in many cases a very efficient input mode. Users can execute quick commands in natural language avoiding the need to use complex navigation menu with their hands free to perform other tasks.
At the same time, screens are the most efficient output mode because they allow a large amount of information to be displayed at the same time, reducing the load on users’ memory. In addition, visual scanning is faster than the sequential access to information imposed by voice output.
So, we have decided to explore the potential of hybrid interfaces that can mix various types of interaction pushing the level of customization and User Experience to the limit. In these cases, automated conversation uses UI elements to facilitate interaction processes.
The impossible minds platform, imFlow, is able to integrate a voice assistant into an app or website to provide automatic support services and increase the user experience through continuous flows of micro-interactions (touch + type + voice).
- Massimo Falvo