We need to talk:“How to listen to your users and design conversational agents” — recap of UX Quick-and-Dirty Vol 2.

This week the UX Quick-and-Dirty team took a next step on the path to building a strong UX community rooted in Karlsruhe.

We hosted our second quarterly meetup focused on UI/UX design. This time it was organised in partnership with professor Alexander Mädche and the Institute of Information Systems and Marketing at KIT. Here are some highlights and a recap of the talks, in case you missed it.

“People tend to perceive interaction with chat assistants as relationships”

Ulrich Gnewuch

Important to mention that this event took place at the Karlsruhe Decision and Design Lab (KD2 Lab) — the place where user experience research is at the core. The first speaker Ulrich Gnewuch is a research assistant and a PhD student at the institute and he was presenting some insights of his research on “Designing Social Cues for Conversational Agents”.

His talk started with a question, if it is important for a chatbot or voice assistant to have a gender? Or to have specific speech habits? In reality, people tend to perceive interaction with chat assistant as relationships, they forget that they are interacting with a machine. For example, many people say “thank you” when talking to assistants, which is not really required. As conclusion, social cues are extremely important for designers and researchers in order to build a great User Experience.

Computers can have social cues like humans as well. For example, lately Ulrich studied a specific type — response time.

Does it matter for you how much time it takes the chatbot to process your request? The results of Ulrich’s research show that it does. Certain delays make a chatbot appear more natural. You want your response to be fast, but not too fast to make it look superhuman. This was proven by an experiment with customer service requests in two groups — one received responses to their questions immediately and the second one had a dynamic delay depending on the complexity of users’ questions. In the end, satisfaction rate of the second group was higher.

People prefer digital assistants to appear more human, therefore designing a UX mirroring human conversational behaviour plays a key role.

“What about those faster horses?”

Linda Brandl

The second speaker — Linda Brandl, UX Researcher at LogMeIn and Co-organizer of the meetup spoke about the key techniques and rules of the UX Research.

Linda started her talk by quoting Henry Ford “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” That might have been true 120 years ago. Nowadays with a flood of good products and highly demanding customers we need to listen to them to make the perfect products for them.

We strongly encourage you to go through her slides and even print some of them as a quick guide to UX research. There you will find some recommendations on how to organise an interview or a survey, what to watch out for and how to avoid mistakes. She also gave some tips on which tools to use to collect user feedback.

Top 3 UX research tips from Linda’s talk in addition to the slides:

1) Choose your research audience wisely. If you define the group very accurate (all social parameters like position, industry, age, etc) 5 in-depth interviews should be enough to identify behaviour patterns.

2) UX research is not a quiz and not a sales pitch. As a researcher you should not influence people. Don’t try to guide them to your answer.

3) Use quantitive methods to support qualitative research. It’s better to start with in-depth research methods to understand the core of users behaviours and then confirm the scope of the identified trends with quantitive methods.

Jonas Fuchs

After the presentations we had a user-testing session organised by Jonas Fuchs, CEO at Usertimes — the Karlsruhe company aiming to automate the product user testing process. Jonas helped young entrepreneurs who brought their products to the meetup conduct a user testing with the attendees and collect actionable insights on UX improvement.

Audience is ready for the second talk

To sum it up, we’re super happy to see how many people are enthusiastic about the UX topic in Karlsruhe. Are you one of them? Join the community (if you haven’t done it yet) and come to our next meetups.

If you would like to present something at the next meetup or you have feedback for the organisers, please don’t hesitate to connect with the organisers Florian Dreschner and Linda Brandl.

P.S. Check out our notes from the first UX Quick and Dirty meetup here if you missed it.

Co-Founder of UXQD, Researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineer at Beekeeper AG, Ambassador at First Momentum Ventures