In-depth Article

How Do You Make A Good Chatbot Or Voice Assistant?

By Jurgen Gravestein
Everybody knows that conversational AI is a thing. It is being used for chatbots, voice assistants, and all kinds of robots. So designers nowadays have to design conversations for all these different interfaces. 

Does that not cause us to do a lot of double work? Is that not very complicated? How would you go about designing for multiple channels and interfaces? That is the main question that we get from companies and designers from all over the world. Everyone is trying to figure out how to effectively design conversations. So how do you make a good chatbot or voice assistant for multiple channels? The secret is to design voice first.

Designing voice first

What we mean by that, is that if you can have a conversation in a dark room using just your voice, then it works everywhere. You focus on the bare minimum. Speech only. It’s the hardest and most advanced design skill out there. You have to work without any type of visual cues. No text, no images, no buttons. If you can design for voice, you can do it all.

When you focus on the bare minimum of voice design, and you would like to utilize that design for a chatbot, you simply add buttons to make it easier for users to navigate. But if you start by designing a text-based chatbot, you incorporate buttons for the start. Then scaling your operation to a voice experience like Alexa or Google Home would mean having to design everything all over again.

Designing voice first also ensures a more natural conversation. The best way to design for voice is to start with sample dialogues. It is a kind of improv theater. You put two people back-to-back. One person plays the user and the other plays the bot, and you let these people have the conversation for you. Record and document the conversation and you will have a solid basis for designing a natural conversation.

Multimodular design

The next big thing is multi-modular interfaces. A combination of voice, chat, and screens. They are becoming increasingly popular. Your voice first design will come in handy here. Because if you designed your conversations to work for voice, you can now add visual cues to enrich the experience.

You can learn everything you need to know about making an effective chatbot or voice assistant in our Conversational Academy. We have trained conversation designers all over the world. We teach you about sample dialogues, WOZ-testing, Happy Conversation Design, and much much more.