4 tips to make your chatbot UX great (again)

Make your chatbot UX great again with these 4 tips brought to you by me, Cristina Santamarina, and the soon to be ex-POTUS. These tips, and the images that go with each tip, have been with me since I presented the first version of this slide at Tarugoconf in 2017. I presented in different speaking gigs over the years and I wanted to refresh them to bring’em back in 2021.

Tarugoconf’s motto in 2021 was “challenge the statu quo”, and the image of the event circulated around Donald Trump, back then POTUs for a little over a year. My talk was about chatbots and I designed it around this topic. Now that the White House is home to a new president it is my last chance to use this image.

Going for the Pantone colors of the year in this redesign feels so much like a cliche, but I am not a graphic designer, so following trends and patterns helps!

Now let’s jump to the 4 tips for a Great Chatbot UX!

Design a tremendous intro & onboarding

The first minutes of the conversation are key to interest and retain users. Put 80% of your effort in designing a great intro and onboarding. Using buttons can help first time users of your chatbot, and are vital for people who are having their first experiences with chatbots. If you decide to avoid buttons or a traditional menu, make sure your NLP is awesome and the purpose and scope of your project are cristal clear. Also, prepare to handle a lot of new feature ideas! Without buttons, users will ask your chatbot all sorts of things.

People Don’t Read

If you add long blocks of texts your chatbot will look bad and your users will run away scared. Dialogues are fun to write if you have created an avatar with a personality, but people don’t like reading and you will be at risk of boring your users. Favor images and videos over text and always remember that people don’t read. You may want to make a poster with this sentence.

Don’t repeat yourself!

Another thing that pushes users away from your chatbot are loops or repeated, boring answers. The easiest way to fix this is making sure you have at least 5 different default answers. Remember that these should always guide users back to an action where they will achieve something, so follow a structure of acknowledgement + reorientation and vary your words.

Be empathic

Put yourself in your users shoes when you design your chatbot. Not every use case requires a fun character and an intelligent conversation with deep connections. Also, some situations are not very compatible with emojis or smart jokes. Design your tone of voice and adapt it to your users and what they need to achieve through your chatbot.

I hope you found these four tips to improve your chatbot UX helpful! There’s more about this topic in my blog and if you speak Spanish I have a few courses for you. I also recommend you read this post I found online, more focused on the technology side but also about making chatbots great again.

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