5 must-read articles about conversational user interface

Three rotary phones attached to a wall — our old notion of “having a chat” is about to shift profoundly; Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

Since starting to work on a digital team in January, I have been devouring articles about tech trends. A topic that keeps popping up is conversational user interfaces (CUIs) — aka interacting with technology by way of text or voice conversation.

While CUIs aren’t new, they are increasingly being integrated into digital products. Here at the CBC we’ve rolled out a news skills for Amazon’s Alexa voice tool, and we’re working on a chatbot experiment for CBC.ca.

For your reading pleasure, here are five articles about this bold and disruptive technology.


  1. Conversational Interfaces, Explained, by John Brownlee via FastCoDesign

Why you should read this: If you know nothing about CUIs, this is a good place to start. This article is short, easy to understand, and answers basic questions about the technology.

Words that made me pause and ponder: “The idea here is that instead of communicating with a computer on its own inhuman terms–by clicking on icons and entering syntax-specific commands–you interact with it on yours, by just telling it what to do.”

2. 11 Best Uses of Chatbots Right Now, by Larry Kim via The Mission

Why you should read this: This piece provides a good overview of how chatbot technology is being used. (And because the first thing on this list is Order Pizza. 🍕🍕🍕🍕)

Words that made me pause and ponder: “Pretty much any website or app can be turned into a bot.”

3. The state of voice in five charts, by Max Willens via DigiDay

Why you should read this: This feature gives insight into how voice technology is being used. It turns out millennials like to talk to machines.

Words that made me pause and ponder: “By 2019, the number of millennial voice assistant users is expected to grow over 30 percent to 39 million, while adoption among Gen Xers will grow just 10 percent. Baby boomer use will remain close to flat.”

4. We need to talk about Accessibility on Chatbots, by Caio Calado via uxdesign.cc

Why you should read this: If you work in design or UX, this article is a goodie — providing insight into how accessibility is (or is not) currently being considered as CUIs are built.

Words that made me pause and ponder: “Nobody is really talking about accessibility for Chatbots — I couldn’t find anything on Google.”

5. Conversational interfaces: The next big technological revolution?, via Space10

Why you should read this: Because now your curiosity is piqued and you want to connect with a community and learn more.

Words that made me pause and ponder: “We want to gather the most curious minds in conversational interfaces, invite everyone to explore together and share the stories in what we call ‘Do you speak human?’”

Happy reading,
Emma