Blogs, Chatbots

On Writing Dialogues for Conversational User Interfaces

Chatbots have gradually become an indispensable component of the modern business ecosystem, and good writing is absolutely imperative in a well-designed conversational interface.

Communicating in dialogues is a much more accessible and straightforward way of delivering information to a customer because they receive exclusively useful and meaningful information that they’ve inquired for, and creating positive customer experiences results in turning your prospects into loyal clientele.

However, the linguistic design of such dialogues is a fairly complex task. You need to tap into the peculiarities of user experience writing and at the same time have a creative, almost unusual approach to writing the text for the chatbots, since you need to create a warm and memorable experience  

In this article, we’ve compiled a set of essential things you need to look into when attempting to write dialogues for conversational user interfaces. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Writing dialogues for conversational user interfaces

conversational interfacePhoto Credits

Ensure a natural flow

While wording your dialogue is critical, the conceptual roadmap of the communication with the chatbot is crucial too. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve penned the robot’s responses, a poorly structured interaction will make the experience feel uncanny and frustrating.  

In order to establish a natural flow of user/bot interaction, we need to establish the set of things that your customers might want to achieve by using the bot. Once you’ve looked into the entire spectrum of possibilities, you need to create a seamless and intuitive set of steps, in order to help the customer receive all the data they need and minimise the friction in their interaction with the interface.

A bot isn’t just a bot

Bots need a personality. It’s not a crucial component, it can work perfectly without one. However, a bot persona will be incredibly beneficial for the customers’ experience.

Think of a bot persona as you would create a marketing persona. Write down a set of central characteristics, fears, interests, and so forth.

Once you’ve established the bot’s character traits, take some time to figure out the way it uses language. A bot can be anyone — a hearty Southern man with a thick accent, using expressions like “Beg your pardon,” or “y’all,” or just a tech-savvy millennial lady that uses lots of netspeak. The choice is yours, but it should be a persona that’s relatable to your clientele.

If you feel that experimenting with some more youthful and colourful language is appropriate, don’t hesitate to mix some emojis, gifs, maybe some light slang in your dialogues. What’s also important — edit your text rigorously! Ensuring high-quality copy from an orthographical and stylistic standpoint is essential, and failing to do so will pretty much undermine your efforts and have an adverse effect on the customer experience.

There are also a few companies that can consult you on topics of regional linguistic peculiarities. For instance, at Studicus.com, you can always consult specialised writers or even localisation professionals to ensure a more natural conversational manner.

A few words on structuring data and dialogues

While we have touched on the importance of flow, it’s essential to stress that conversational interfaces need to provide for a simple and straightforward way of collecting data.  

When structuring dialogues, we need to simplify the way our customers will be inserting their data. It’s probably best if the bot asked questions that compel users to give straightforward answers, in order to eliminate any possible ambiguity. It would be even better if your bot offered a limited number of options so that your customers can choose from them.

Yet at the same time, this granular approach doesn’t really work all the time, especially in cases where your products or services demand many specifications.

Imagine that you run a retail store and you’re looking to facilitate the way your customers will be shopping for clothes. Instead of programming the user/bot interaction in the following manner: 1) Men’s, 2) shoes, 3) sports, 4) white, 5) size 11, and 6) under $100. It’s best to simply ask the user what they’re looking for and then calibrate with one or two follow-up questions.

Here’s an example of how this could work:

A: What are you looking for?

B: Men’s sports shoes

A: Great! What size and color?

B: 11 white

A: What’s the most you’re looking to pay?

B 100$

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to utilize relevant emojis and animation. However, as we mentioned previously, only if it aligns with your brand.

conversational user interface for chatbotsPhoto Credits

Let the bots adapt to the environs

There is an important aspect when creating bot dialogues that regards its consistency with the platform you’re integrating it in. Every platform has its peculiarities and small details. These features make a bot different from the rest. It’s essential that you bot takes advantage of them.

Since one of our primary focus points when designing the way a conversational user interface will interact with your clientele, the experience must seem authentic. It must feel like this bot is part and parcel of, say, Messenger or any other platform of choice.

For example, some platforms or IM’s like Telegram and Facebook Messenger let you share locations. This can be helpful when your potential customers might be looking for your brick and mortar store. Some allow you to use gifs and animated emoji’s.

Whatever feels natural to a particular environment should be part of the functionality of your bot. It infers that you probably shouldn’t merely clone your bots for multiple platforms.

Conclusion

When writing dialogues for your conversational user interface, you need to take care of a host of essential aspects. Here we list down a few aspects that will help you in getting started.

First off, your bot’s flow must be natural. It should resemble the way a typical person would interact with another one. It’s essential to avoid making it uncanny, but rather ensure a seamless experience.

Secondly, bots need a personality. Part of making the interface feel natural is about adding some character to the way it communicates.

Thirdly, simplify the dialogues. Don’t make them unnecessarily long.

And last, but not least — take advantage of the peculiarities of the platform you’re running your bots on.

Wish you good luck!

BIO:

Adriana Veasey is a seasoned writer, editor, and regular contributor at WoWGrade.net. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research. Also, she creates thought-provoking content in various fields, ranging from social media to modern tech trends.