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What does a conversation designer do (besides building chatbots)


Conversation Designer is a relatively new job on the IT market. But what exactly do these people do? Can you become one?

Hi there, I’m Anastasiia.

I created my first AI bot in 2014 when I was studying Natural Language Processing Automation as a part of the Applied Linguistics university program. It was a simple AI model looking for keywords in user input to keep the conversation relevant. Nothing fancy. And I did not know that this would be my future career industry.

But now I’m working for ChatbotRoom — a conversational marketing agency founded by me and my partner in 2019. I am a Co-founder, and a Conversation Designer.

Nice to meet you!

In this article I will share some things I figured out for myself along the way:

  • what a chatbot is,
  • who a Conversation Designer is,
  • and what he/she does.

A conversation is (a) talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings, and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information is exchanged.

The act of a conversation is called communication.

Technology is awesome! Technology gives us an opportunity to choose the preferred way of communication: we can call, video call, text, send video and photo, voice message or gifs, emoji and stickers which we can use instead of words.

Thanks to technology today we have personal assistants — computer programs which perform the assistants’ roles indeed! They are also called virtual assistants / conversational AI / chatbots / VUI (voice user interface) and other names.

A chatbot / virtual assistant is a computer program / application that allows humans to interact with technology using voice, text, gesture and touch, 24/7 365.

We communicate when we want to get or share something. In chatbot’s terminology it is called an intention. Talking to the bots we want them to understand our intentions and provide us relevant responses and great user experience. So who makes them understand? That’s the “design” part of Conversation Designers.

Let’s put it all together:

A Conversation Designer is a specialist who builds chatbots — computer programs that allow humans to interact with technology in the form of a human-like conversation. The designer teaches the bots to understand user intentions and provide relevant responses.

Builds a strategy

In ChatbotRoom we believe that the strategy choice must be individual for each case because each case is unique. Every project has its own goal and is designed for sometimes very specific audience.

A perfect strategy is always a win-win model — the one where both the business and its’ clients get what they wanted.

A good example of this is introducing a bot to a business that has an overloaded customer support department. The bot helps reduce the overload processing up to 70% incoming queries while the human part takes the rest 30% where the bot could not provide a solution. And the clients get their problems solved faster and easier.

The strategy also helps the designer to keep the focus on the goal and not wasting time on features which might be cool but not important. A golden rule of ChatbotRoom is to start small and make the first prototype fill in only the core function. After that, we add additional bot skills with small iterations.

Creates conversation flow (UX)

A conversation flow is a user’s journey map from starting the chat to reaching the goal. The designer builds the dialog including all possible users’ intents and queries and providing relevant responses.

To build a user’s journey map one needs to understand the user, the more the better. Creating personas (the target audience portraits) is an effective way to do this. Basically it is a UX Designer’s role but is also needed in the conversation design process.

Writes texts and builds personality

It is not just copywriting, it is also a personality building. A bot’s personality is how your bot should talk to the users: which vocabulary, brand tone & voice to use and whether using the other elements such as gifs and emojis.

Personality building is highly important because it makes the bot stand out and thus keep users engaged. It makes their experience memorable and exciting. So don’t underestimate the power of personality building.

Analyzes, modifies, repeats

When the bot is implemented and has some analytics data, the conversation designer analyzes it and modifies the bot if needed (so pretty much always). The collected data helps identify the conversation flow weak points and improve them. It can be a never-ending process which is normal because everything changes and pretty fast. The users’ needs are changing, the business goals are being reset, the technologies are evolving.

Once you’ve built a bot you should monitor its performance and modify it to provide a better user experience.

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