Computer circuit board with the shape of a human brain

Conversation Design Why Every UX Designer Should Study It

As social beings, humans are wired for communication, many of which occur as conversations. Conversations form the basis of our existence and are the primary means by which information is shared and exchanged. Although these conversations are traditionally confined to face-to-face physical interactions, they now extend past physical spaces and into digital ones.

Harnessing conversations as a means to make a brand impressionable on users is one skill that many UX designers need to learn. This in itself is one major reason why conversation design is rapidly becoming a popular skill among professional UX designers.

Conversation design is an indispensable bridge that connects the essence of human interaction with the intricacies of UX or user experience. It is the future of UX design as it humanizes UX interfaces, strengthening the bond between an interface and its users. 

In this article, we delve into the details of conversation design, what it is, and why you need to study it.

A robot holding a smart device
Conversation design creates interfaces that replicate human interaction

What Is Conversation Design?

As technology advances, designers are looking to create interfaces that create better human interactions. They aim to achieve this by experimenting with various conversational systems.

Think of conversational systems as technological solutions that operate similarly to popular AI-powered assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. These systems offer an opportunity to communicate with an interface through automated voice texts or menus.

Hence, conversation design is the practice of crafting and structuring human-computer interactions and dialogues, particularly in the context of chatbots, voice assistants, and other conversational interfaces. It involves designing the conversational flow, scripting the dialogue, and creating the user experience in a way that mimics natural human conversations.

Designers who utilize conversation design while building their products do so with the aim to create interactions that are user-friendly, engaging, and effective in helping users achieve their goals. These designers want to create the ultimate user experience by making technology more accessible, efficient, and user-centric, particularly in applications like virtual assistants, customer support chatbots, and other conversational AI systems.

The Power Of Conversation Design

For the first time since they were first created, technology now speaks in natural language. These advancements not only means technological products and interfaces can perform impressive actions in mere seconds but are also growing increasingly conversational. This is thanks to the concept of conversation design.

Today, the rising popularity of chatbots powered by conversation design means computers now mimic human-like interaction on an intelligence level similar to that of a human. This interaction builds a form of intimacy between the system, the interface, and the user.

As a result, many businesses are dedicating time, skill, and resourcing to learning how to perfect their UX design by infusing it with personality through conversation design. By harnessing this technology, business can ensure smooth interactions between humans and their products, making the user experience feel more natural.

Conversational design kicked off with Apple’s Siri as a forerunner. Users who own an Apple product can easily speak to Siri and get ‘her’ to respond to questions ranging from those that require her to access search engines to original conversations like asking her to rap. They can also ask her to perform several actions on devices such as asking her to send someone a text or call someone from the contact book.

Quickly, this concept that began with forerunners like Siri quickly gained traction and garnered widespread attention. It became recognized and even adapted by platforms like Amazon and Google.

Although conversation design is geared towards different benefits, one major benefit is convenience. They enable users to easily and quickly send instructions to systems in simple human language and ensure that these systems respond in the same language. For example, a user will typically employ a system with conversation design when they need to multitask. You want to set the timer in the kitchen without doing it manually? Simply ask Alexa or any of its counterparts to do it for you.

Admittedly, the thought of speaking to a machine like it is human might be too much to wrap one’s head around. However, this unusual technology offers numerous advantages not only to the user but also to the product being used.

Applications Of Conversation Design

Conversation design can be used to create text-based conversations, voice-based conversations, or hybrid conversations on interfaces. Text-based conversations include chatbots, messaging applications, and other text-based virtual assistants. Voice-activated interfaces focus on verbal interactions using verbal commands like “Hey, Siri” for access. Lastly, hybrid solutions combine both verbal and text features to offer an all-encompassing solution.

Each type of conversation design can be applied in different settings depending on the user’s needs. Some applications of conversation design include:

1. For Customer Support: Conversion designs are awesome ways to provide quick and personalized customer support. These can be through chatbots or voice assistants.

2. Streamlining E-commerce: Want to improve the average user shopping experience? Include a conversational UX that answers queries, provides personalized recommendations, searches products, and facilitates transactions all while using natural language.

3. Reservations: Reservation processes are often hectic online processes that require filling forms.  Conversational UX can streamline the reservation process for users, making it easy to book appointments through intuitive conversations.

4. Employee Onboarding: Conversation design is handy for creating interfaces to streamline employee onboarding and training processes. This offers each new employee a personalized experience that makes it easy to successfully complete the training processes. Additionally, the chatbots or voice assistants can provide support when necessary all through the training process. This in turn increases productivity at work

5. Smart Devices: Google Assistant, Alexa, and Sir are all products of conversation design. In the future, more conversational UX assistants will be created as smart devices that are users’ buddies, providing information and entertainment through effective communication.

Key Features Of Conversation Design

Conversation design focuses on the flow of conversation between a technological bot and a human user. As such, it blends Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural language processing (NLP), User experience design (UX), voice and motion, and writing and linguistics. These key components work hand-in-hand in creating an intelligent system that uses prompts to respond to human interaction in a natural manner.

While these components will work together to create a successful conversation design, they won’t be complete without four key features. These features include:

1. Understanding

Language is more than stringing words together to form a sentence and sentences to form a paragraph. It is multifaceted and requires a deep understanding before it can be effectively used to communicate and pass information. As such, for any chatbot to have a natural, smooth, and successful interaction with a human user, it needs to not only understand words but also the implication of these words. This is why conversation design encompasses more than simply using pre-recorded messages. It involves a deep understanding of the social, cultural, and situational context of the words being communicated.

2. Interactions

Chatbots are constantly being designed and upgraded to mirror human interaction. This is because the more they can mirror this interaction, the more personality they will be able to show the user. The more personality they display, the more they are accepted by users. In this cse, even if the user is well aware that they are not communicating with a  human on the other side of the screen, they still treat the bot like it is human as with any other regular conversation.

Interaction as a feature goes beyond simply passing a message. It extends to the bots ability to converse and hold the conversation, an ability that should not be likened to providing a long monologue in response to human input. Interaction involves the ways in which chatbots engage with users and respond to their inputs in a conversational manner. These features are designed to make the interaction between users and chatbots more natural, user-friendly, and effective. 

To do this, conversation design uses factors like context awareness, conversational flow, multimodal communication, prompting or suggestions, emotional analysis, and sentiment analysis to create interaction. 

3. Context

Speaking of contextual analysis, context plays an important role in creating a sense of genuine interaction between a bot and a human. Context is an important aspect of any conversation design as it helps the bot understand what the user is truly trying to say. This is especially important to maintain an understanding of the ongoing conversation and the history of user interactions. This context-awareness is essential for creating coherent and natural-sounding dialogues with users.

4. Natural Language 

The basis of conversation design is to create an interface that relates with humans like it is humans. To do this, it is important to utilize natural language that aligns with the norms in human interaction. Using natural language, bots can show empathy.

An image of the letters “AI” (Artificial Intelligence)
Artificial Intelligence us one of the important pillars of conversation design. 

Benefits Of Conversation Design

The size of the chatbot market is set to reach 1.25 billion US dollars in 2025 This is unsurprising, especially as more and more designers begin to recognize the importance of conversation in technology.

The benefits of conversation design extends past providing convenience in communicating with an interface to the users. Other benefits include:

1. Improves User Experience

Well-designed conversations provide a seamless and user-friendly interaction with chatbots, voice assistants, and other conversational interfaces. As such, conversation designs humanize the interaction process, making engagement with interfaces more interesting, enjoyable, and seamless to the user. 

After all, you are more likely to relate with a bot if it speaks the natural language and follows the intuitive design of human conversation you understand. This ability of conversation design and chatbots in general to enhance user experience was confirmed by a usability assessment that discovered good scores for chatbot usefulness, likelihood of being recommended, ease of use, and user satisfaction.

2. Streamlines Customer Support

Great customer support begins with hiring skilled professionals to do the job. Although finding talents in the job market is increasingly challenging, staffing companies like icreatives offer all the help you need to find the right professionals with the right experience and skills to fit in your job roles, even customer support. 

However, sometimes even the most skilled customer support hired need help while performing their duties. In many cases, conversation design offers the much-needed help for streamlining customer support. 

Conversation design plays a critical role in creating bots that not only increase user satisfaction but also bolsters customer support services. When people reach out to customer support teams, they expect to interact with human aids that will provide a quick solution to their problems instead of stiff bots that only lead one-sided conversations.

However, conversation design had revolutionized customer support practices by creating AI-powered chatbots that can not only hold conversations with users but also efficiently provide solutions to the user’s problems. These chatbots can efficiently answer questions and trouble-shoot problems when necessary.

3. Boosts Conversion Rates

Chatbots provide a positive experience for users exploring an interface. This positive experience motivates them to stick around for other products or services that a brand’s interface might offer, thereby boosting customer engagements and, in the end, conversion rates. 

4. Data Collection

Conversations can be used to gather valuable user data and insights. Users are more likely to provide information when prompted by a chatbot that holds human-like conversations. This is because the conversations promote a feeling of intimacy that cannot be replicated on interfaces without this human-like factor. 

5. 24/7 Availability

Have you ever thought about providing users who interact with your product with a customer care agent who is available all hours of every day? Conversation design enables the creation of chatbots and voice assistants that are available around the clock, providing support and information at any time. 

6. Automation

The no-brainer benefit of conversation design is the ability to create chatbots that automate arduous manual tasks. This helps businesses save time and resources, dedicating these very important necessities to other important tasks. For example, a business can choose to use their chatbots to request customer reviews at the right time

Who Can Benefit From Conversation Design?

The most obvious group of people that benefit from the amazing powers of conversation design are users and customers. They get access to a smooth and enjoyable experience when dealing with efficient chatbots. More importantly, the interfaces are user-friendly and more convenient to use.

Additionally, businesses that implement conversation design also enjoy increased customer satisfaction and engagement. This leads to increased sales, lower costs, and stronger business-client relationships.

Lastly, conversation design is a useful and fun landscape still being explored by designers. This landscape is a welcome challenge that many designers are willing to take on in search of the secret to designing more intuitive interfaces. Essentially, exploring this field offers designers an opportunity to continue to discover innovation in their field.

Conversation Design Is The Future Of Technology

The significance of conversation design in the realm of UX cannot be overstated. The ability to craft engaging and user-centric conversations is a fundamental skill that every UX designer should study and master. By understanding the principles of conversation design, designers can create seamless, intuitive, and delightful user experiences that lead to higher user satisfaction and better product adoption.

Are you a business looking to harness the unmatched power and benefits of conversation design? The first step begins with hiring the right designers to make your conversation design goals come true. 

Looking to hire top-notch UX designers who are well-versed in conversation design? Look no further than icreatives. Our team of expert recruiters is ready to connect you with talented professionals who can take your projects to the next level. With choices from a vast talent pool teeming with skilled designers and other professionals, building the right team is faster and easier than ever before. 

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