Insights — 7 Best UX practices for Beginners in Chatbot Design

Chatbot for customer engagement

No matter how amazing a chatbot’s backend and NLP is, if it suffers from poor UX, your users are unlikely to use it again. Afterall, the UX is the only part of the chatbot the user actually interacts with, so neglecting your UX in favor of its other components is generally a bad idea in the long run.

Good chatbot UX design can be hard to nail down; creating conversation flows that cater to users across different backgrounds can be a messy process, especially without clear direction. That said, here are a few things that you can do to make your chatbots more accessible to your users.

1) Know your users

One of the things that UX designers often overlook is who they’re creating their chatbots for. Is the user the average guy looking to order a dinner takeaway at your local diner? Or is he maybe a management executive asking to see the profiles of the people on his team? The former is likely to prefer a chatbot with a friendly and casual demeanor. The latter would probably appreciate receiving the information in a direct and professional manner. Knowing the demographic you’re designing for allows you to create chatbots with a laser focus towards addressing the needs of your client.

Know Your User
Number of messages per user

2) Initiate conversation

When people use your chatbot for the first time, chances are they won’t know what to type. Welcome messages are great opportunities for setting the tone of the conversation and informing the user of the chatbot’s functions and abilities. A well-crafted greeting will introduce the chatbot in a natural and informative manner, affecting the overall UX of the chatbot for the better.

3) Redirect lost flows

Now that your chatbot has an effective introduction, we need to focus on how it recovers from invalid requests. A user’s response should never lead to a dead-end in the conversation! This tends to be a dealbreaker for many people as it completely destroys immersion in the UX of the conversation.

Craft fallback responses that apologize for the chatbot’s failure to understand, then provide options that redirect the user towards the happy flow.

You can also provide an option to collect feedback whenever a fallback response is triggered. This can be used to further develop the bot to address invalid requests in the future.

Redirect Lost Flows
Botbot.AI initiates a conversation with your customers again and keeps in touch with them

4) Use button responses

Fine, I know it’s technically called a chatbot, but buttons are still an extremely useful tool in directing UX flows towards your intended outcomes. Buttons help to guide your users towards the answers they want to find. This also means they help prevent the user from veering off-topic when asking questions.

Buttons have the added bonus of taking less time and requiring less thought than typing text for the user to use. UX-wise, this can’t be beat!

Here at Botbot.ai, many of our chatbots take advantage of buttons in all the time, with only certain responses requiring text input from the user.

Customize your buttons depending on the use case; there’s no end to the ways you can design your buttons, but the design should always help the user reach his answer one way or another.

5) Write button titles and quick replies from the POV of a person

It’s easy to use simple yes/no or ok/cancel replies in your buttons, but that’s what people have come to expect from their computers. One of the perks of using a chatbot is that it feels like talking to a person. In the same way that bot responses try to seem as human-like as possible, button responses to the bot should also be phrased as if the user were replying to a person.

Not only does this keep the user immersed in the illusion of speaking to a person, it also helps to alleviate user guilt when speaking to the bot. Imagine saying cancel to a friend giving you options on where to eat dinner. You’d feel pretty bad, wouldn’t you?

Bot vs Human Ratio
Botbot.AI can be the only interface for the capabilities of many specialized bots

6) Break down your responses

People are hardwired to lose interest if they see giant walls of text. Try to space out long content into easily-digestible chunks to give your user an easier time when reading.

This is especially important when your bot is an FAQ-style information provider. People are asking the chatbot because they’d rather not read through the entire help section, so try your best not to throw an encyclopedia at your users.

7) Provide avenues of re-engagement

After your user gets his answer, it’s a good idea to leave some sort of prompt that allows him to re-engage the chatbot in a natural way. Anything from a button that redirects the user back to the start of the conversation to a simple “Feel free to drop by again to say hi” will help to make the conversation seem more natural while keeping the user within the designated flow of the conversation between uses.

Using data, Botbot.AI is able to identify the best workflow and conversation flow to get to your business goals

More than anything, it’s important to put yourself into the user’s shoes. If you find your chatbot hard to talk to, chances are your users won’t find it any easier!

If you’re interested to find out more, we’re over at [email protected]!

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