A Chat About Bots
Conversational UI, that natural interaction between human and technology, is a hot topic worldwide, and the localization requirements for creating a great contextual natural user experience are fascinating and challenging, none more so than in the case of chatbots.
As Arle Lommel from CommonSense Advisory says: Chatbots pose challenges fundamentally different from what is seen with traditional content. The shift to conversational structures and the need to embrace “messy” terminology are among these. Click To Tweet
There are other challenges too. Plan ahead.
What’s Going On Globally?
Here’s a great example from France by way of an article featuring Amina Esselimani, a top French user experience design thinker, published on the Prototypr blog: Conversational interface for chatbot & voicebot: the French touch.
The article itself gives good insight into why chatbots should be used, and the methodologies involved. I was fascinated by the human-oriented design language used by Amina to describe her work, using phrases such as “happy path” and “repair conversations.”
Her comments about using the “Wizard of Oz” design requirements technique, engaging with conversational style content experts, and iterative testing with real users really resonated too. We've moved from user-centered design to human-centered design, and dealing with how humans actually communicate and simulating that kind of exchange can indeed be very messy in any language! Click To Tweet
I also checked out some of the chatbot solutions Amina worked on, such as the Oui.SNCF bot. I wondered if it had a French personality (personality is a critical design element in conversational UI) and what the tone would be my questions about the ongoing SNCF rolling strikes.
All utterances were handled very diplomatically, I must say, even making sense of my mangled French language utterances!
Alexa en Français
You might also like to read Wired’s fascinating, and sometimes humorous artlcle, Inside Amazon’s Painstaking Pursuit to Teach Alexa French in the run up to its launch in France.
Cultural differences create conversational landmines. And you just can’t be sure that everyone will like you. As it turns out, that as true for people as it is for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Click To Tweet
More information on globalization methods for conversational UIs and chatbots?
To understand more of the challenges presented by chatbot and conversational UI design and the cultural considerations involved, then check out my SF Globalization presentation and handy checklist on the subject of chatbot design for global and local audiences: “Alexa, Tell Me About Global Chatbot Design and Localization!”
All images by Utan O’Broin