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Writing Content For A Bot


Sorab Ghaswalla

An earlier newsletter on the profile of a UX writer got a better-than-expected response from subscribers around the globe. It set me thinking — what were the other “modern” (if that’s the right word) content careers created from the needs of the digital world we live in?

Writing for a chatbot to help it communicate with visitors to your website, and some such, is a new craft; something that I, too, have dabbled in. In tech gobbledygook it is conversational user interface or CUI. In short, a conversational interface is any UI that copies the human way of talking/language.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

Conversational interfaces are platforms that mimic a conversation with a real human. Historically, computers have relied on graphical user interfaces (GUI) such as the user pressing a “back” button to translate the user’s desired action into commands the computer understands. While an effective mechanism of completing computing actions, there is a learning curve for the user associated with GUI. Instead, CUI’s provide opportunity for the user to communicate with the computer in their natural language rather than in a syntax specific commands.

CUI essentially means humans talking to a computer, and the computer responding not in binaries but in the same language.

By now, most of you would have come across examples of CUI. The simplest form is when you visit a website and find a chat widget. You key in a few sentences, and the chatbot, appropriately named, responds.

The more sophisticated versions of CUI are Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon Echo’s Alexa.

But here’s the thing. Even as we get familiar with CUI in our day to day lives, have you sat back and wondered how the bot (a computer algorithm and not a real person) actually responds to your queries? What exactly goes on at the backend? How does the bot get it right, almost 90% of the time?

That’s where script writing or writing content for a bot comes in.

You would have guessed it by now. To create a bot or a digital voice assistant you will need a qualified developer. The other crucial member of this team, though, is a content provider.

In addition to his writing skills, a chatbot writer needs to be a creative person, must have domain knowledge, and must have an active imagination (I shall explain this a little later). This kind of writer can start off with a salary of anything between US $45,000 and 55,000 a year (market rates).

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