The Importance of Designing Prior to Building

Developing chatbots and voice assistants that your customers or end users can take advantage of is exciting thanks to the countless issues you can resolve. But it’s important that designers design their bot conversations before they develop them. Here’s why:

It Provides Structure

In a recent interview, Cathy Pearl, Google’s Head of Conversation Design Outreach, highlighted how the conversation is the structure. Without this structure, it’s difficult to design the different responses your bot requires to provide the answer to your customer needs. That’s because conversation design is different from visual design. With visual design, the user can ask a question and make her own decision for the answer she wants by using her sense of sight to read content. On the other hand, conversation design requires a variety of responses to help users find the answers they need. Your design team may require 60 or more responses to this type of question so that the end user receives a natural response. For example, a voice assistant needs to have multiple responses to questions, such as “is Einstein Bagel open for lunch?” or “what restaurants are open for lunch near me.” Without this information, you can create a poor experience for your users.

It Reveals Technical Constraints From the Start

When you design your conversation before you dive right into developing your bot, you can help your design team identify technical limitations in the early stages of your bot development. It’s critical for your design team to know what they can and cannot do when it comes to designing your bot since there are still limitations to what can be designed. When your design team understands these technical constraints from the start, they can design around them. One great way to do this is to involve your designers and developers in the role-playing process. Use the script to roleplay as your bot so you can practice the conversation flow before you develop your bot. For instance, you can discover new concerns your users or audience may have while role-playing as your bot. Your designers can use this information to create new responses that are relevant and that align with your bot’s personality, so you help your bot enhance the experience for your users.

It Helps Facilitate Success

By designing your conversation prior to developing your bot, you can increase your chances for success. It’s vital to have everyone who is working on your bot buy-in to your concept to achieve a successful conversational design. That means getting your conversation designers, software developers, project managers and other important stakeholders on board by starting out discussing the design of the conversation.

You can map out the flow of the conversation and develop the script further with everyone. This helps you to identify potential issues with the conversation so that you can fix them before investing time and money in the development process. It’ll also help everyone understand the typical flow of a conversation and identify relevant topics and answers your chatbot or voice assistant can provide.

Final Thoughts

While it’s exciting to get started with developing your chatbot or voice assistant, it’s important to design your conversation first. Without designing for the conversation, you could set your bot up for failure. Instead, make conversational design a priority before you jump right into development, It’ll help you save valuable time and resources so you can deliver an enhanced experience for your customers. Need a place to start? Botsociety can definitely help.


Originally published at Botsociety Blog.