Image credit: PxHere
By now, you should be familiar with the core benefits of chatbots: they’re powerful, flexible, scalable, and exceptionally convenient for companies and users alike. And you may even have a solid grasp of what goes into the creation of chatbot decision trees, particularly if you’ve been reading this blog for quite some time.
But what about the design of chatbot interfaces? You might not have thought about it too much, which is understandable. What matters the most is what chatbots do, after all — is it really important how they do it? Well, the answer is a resounding yes. It matters a great deal how a chatbot is designed and implemented.
Do you need to have great copy for your chatbot? Absolutely, but you also need to have great visual elements. Here are 5 reasons why chatbots benefit so much from some visual flair:
Many symbols are common across languages
What happens when you need to find a bathroom in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language? Do you have to scramble around asking for assistance? Not usually, because you can typically spot a familiar sign. This is because the classic toilet symbol (the stick figure, with or without a skirt) is recognized across national borders. People recognize it everywhere.
When you’re using a chatbot on a multinational site serving users who speak different languages, even a firm commitment to a multilingual approach can encounter issues. The more of the process you can clarify using generic symbols and icons, the easier you can make your chatbot to use for people across the world.
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They need to capture attention
Simply having a chatbot on your site isn’t going to accomplish much if users aren’t aware that it’s there — and if you make it inobtrusive (which is also important, because you don’t want to annoy people), then that becomes a real risk. By adorning your chatbot with some bold visual elements, you can make it significantly easier to spot.
For instance, when you have the chat window lurking in a minimized form in the corner of the screen (which is standard design practice), you can give that bar a slight animation to make it stand out. It doesn’t need to be anything too showy — perhaps just a relaxed vertical bounce to make it clear that the bar will expand if clicked.
We recognize images faster than text
It’s well-established that the human brain processes visual data massively more quickly than anything text-based (even though one of the most specific claims is apocryphal), and we all instinctively realize it. Even if you’re a great reader, it will take you a fraction of a second longer to parse text than it will to interpret an image.
For a chatbot, speed is of the essence. It’s a support option that has some limitations but is strong in reliably and rapidly carrying out basic actions, so it not only needs to be fast but also feel fast to keep the user’s attention. By illustrating a lot of the text points, your chatbot can make its content easier to understand (and easier to follow).
Brand reinforcement matters
Building a recognizable brand is more important now than ever before, because there are just so many businesses out there doing similar things that it’s tough to stand out through products or services alone. And achieving recognition means being consistent — presenting a set of brand elements that carries across to everything you do.
Everything on your website should conform to your basic formula: using your main color scheme, your preferred fonts, your layout styles, etc. Your chatbot window should be no different. If you have a visually-rich homepage, but a chatbot that offers nothing beyond basic text, it will seem incongruous. Make your chatbot as visual as everything else.
It simply makes them more enjoyable
Even if you leave aside the other reasons we’ve looked at, finding ways to discount them, one thing that’s tough to deny is that visual elements make digital designs (and designs in general) more fun to engage with. When you have gaps in your content, you fill them with tables, or bullet-pointed lists, or whatever stock images stand out to you — not because those things are invaluable, but because they add flavor. They’re decorative accoutrements.
So when you’re trying to get people to use and enjoy your chatbot, you should include some visual elements purely to make it more interesting to look at. How you present it will affect how people perceive it: the better the presentation, the more likely the users will be to view it positively, and to use it to its full potential.
There you have it: 5 strong reasons to put some time and effort into fleshing out your chatbot with some visual elements. Which ones you choose will be up to you, so ensure you represent your brand well and make your chatbot stand out.