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Chatbots, Content, and Machine Learning: Designing "Smart" Conversational Interfaces

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VAs (virtual assistants) are becoming ubiquitous, from Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa. While exciting new possibilities abound, so do new design challenges. How can designers develop best practices for these non-visual interfaces? What roles do information architecture and artificial intelligence play? What do users expect from VAs, and how can bots rise to the occasion? This presentation addresses these questions with a firsthand look at implementing virtual assistants to solve real-world problems and key considerations for designing your own VA.

Chatbots, Content, and Machine Learning: Designing "Smart" Conversational Interfaces

  1. 1. VIRTUALLY YOURS:Designing a Digital Concierge MARCH 24, 2018Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center, Washington, D.C. BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON INTERNAL Amy Arden @tessarden IA Summit 2018
  2. 2. 1Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo by Jason Rosewell, Pexels.com WHEN PEOPLE ENGAGE WITH MACHINES, THEIR EMOTIONS ARE IN PLAY. JONATHAN FOSTER, MICROSOFT DESIGN, CORTANA
  3. 3. WHAT’S AT STAKE? 2Booz Allen Hamilton Internal When machines use our language, we anthropomorphize them… even when we know we’re communicating with a machine!
  4. 4. FOR AN ARCHITECTURE THAT IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING? Conversations, whether human or machine, are dynamic, organic, and unpredictable HOW DO YOU DESIGN AN IA… 3Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, Blade Runner, 1982.
  5. 5. CONVERSATIONAL UX Conversational Design: a user interface that mimics qualities of human-to-human communication Chatbots: screen-based interfaces where inputs are typically typed Ex: Facebook Messenger bots Voice User Interfaces (VUIs): users speak and receive responses from a virtual assistant Ex: Google Home, Amazon Echo 4Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo by Alex Knight. Unsplash.com
  6. 6. CONVERSATIONAL DESIGN RELIES ON DYNAMIC, 2-WAY COMMUNICATION BETWEEN A HUMAN AND A MACHINE THAT RELIES ON MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING IN REAL TIME 5Booz Allen Hamilton Internal
  7. 7. THIS IS NOT SIMPLE 6Booz Allen Hamilton Internal
  8. 8. WHAT’S OLD: • Discovery • User Research • Top Tasks • Use Cases • User Personas • User Journeys These UX processes and artifacts continue to be relevant and important in the world of conversational design. SO, HOW? 7Booz Allen Hamilton InternalPhoto by Gilles Lambert. Unsplash.comPhoto by Caique Silva. Pexels.com
  9. 9. WHAT’S NEW: • Interface Persona: More than just an avatar, interface personas synthesize language, tone, style, branding, visual identity and technological capabilities to deliver an experience to users. • Machine Learning / Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP capabilities are advancing the types of interactions that CIs can provide, as well as the quality of those interactions. • Data Science: Conversations are content, and content is data. Data science, machine learning, and NLP allow CIs to adapt to users and become increasingly responsive to their needs and preferences. SO, HOW? 8Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo by Gilles Lambert. Unsplash.com
  10. 10. IF YOU BUILD IT… 9Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo skitterphoto.com
  11. 11. …THEY MIGHT COME 10Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo Pexels.com
  12. 12. START WITH “WHY?” 11Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Why build your conversational interface (CI)? What makes it useful, and for who? Why is a CI the most appropriate solution? Will you be building a chatbot, or a VUI, or both? What’s the rationale? Go beyond use cases to identify any underlying, unmet needs and how the CI will solve them. According to a 2017 VoiceLabs report, there is only a 3% chance that a user who tried an Alexa or Google Home skill will still be a user in week 2.
  13. 13. 3 STORIES
  14. 14. DEXi: A PLATFORM FOR COGNITIVE DIGITAL SOLUTIONS DEXi, a platform developed by Booz Allen Hamilton, uses machine intelligence (MI) and natural language processing (NLP) to make it significantly easier for people to get the information they need, when they need it. Booz Allen Hamilton Internal
  15. 15. HOW MACHINES PROCESS LANGUAGE 14Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Image from Amazon Developer Guidelines, Designing for Voice. https://developer.amazon.com/designing-for-voice/what-users-say/
  16. 16. VIRTUAL ASSISTANT: INTERNAL SUPPORT 15Booz Allen Hamilton Internal ANSWERING COMMON QUESTIONS Event staff at a busy office building spent much of their time responding to questions from users who found the online system unwieldy or confusing. 1. Develop on-brand persona for the virtual assistant interface 2. Create single source for answers 3. Alleviate space reservation pain points Interface Persona Sketch: BAH Virtual Assistant Persona Sketch. Booz Allen Hamilton.
  17. 17. CHATBOT: SERVICE WITH EMPATHY SUPPORTING FAMILIES Families with children receiving medical treatment at the Children’s Inn at the NIH often have questions about their stay. A virtual assistant named after the on-site therapy dog, Zilly, provides answers and reassurance during a stressful time. 1. Design an approachable and empathetic persona 2. Optimize content for CI 3. Integrate machine learning capabilities 16Booz Allen Hamilton Internal
  18. 18. VOICE USER INTERFACE: AMAZON ECHO ADDRESSING AN EPIDEMIC An Amazon Echo skill created for a federal health agency enables citizens to conveniently access information on opioids, including treatment options. Interaction cost is reduced by more than 50%. 1. Develop, test, and refine dialogues 2. Use usability testing findings to iterate 3. Consider how and when to handoff; never send users out of the system and into a brick wall 17Booz Allen Hamilton Internal What are opioids? Welcome to HHS Info. You can ask questions about public health issues and your health privacy rights. What would you like to know? Opioids are natural or synthetic chemicals. These chemicals can bind to receptors in your brain or body and reduce sensations of pain. Opioids include some prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
  19. 19. 3 IDEAS
  20. 20. • What do users need? • What interface best meets that need – chat, voice, both? • How will technology support meeting those needs? • What experience will be delivered? • How will machine learning impact your design, and your users? DESIGN WITH INTENT 19Booz Allen Hamilton InternalBooz Allen Hamilton, Charleston, SC.
  21. 21. DESIGN FOR MULTIPLE PATHS • Conversations may be non-linear • Set expectations • Provide guidelines to help users stay on track • Design for errors and inappropriate inputs 20Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Booz Allen Hamilton
  22. 22. • What's at stake for users? • Where are your users – physically? emotionally? • What will make your users successful? • How will you measure how well the technology is meeting user needs? DESIGN WITH EMPATHY 21Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Photo by Remi Walle. Pexels.com
  23. 23. IF WE DESIGN WELL ENOUGH TO CHANGE BEHAVIOR... WILL MACHINES TRAIN US? 22Booz Allen Hamilton Internal
  24. 24. CONTACT 23Booz Allen Hamilton Internal Twitter: @tessarden LinkedIn: Amy Arden Email: arden_amy@bah.com Photo Pexels.com
  25. 25. • “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Chatbots” Chatbots Magazine https://chatbotsmagazine.com/the-complete-beginner-s-guide-to-chatbots- 8280b7b906ca • "Conversational Design Essentials: Tips for Building a Chatbot" Smashing Magazine https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/12/conversational- design-essentials-tips-for-building-a-chatbot • “7 Things to Consider Before Developing a Chatbot” ICTworks https://www.ictworks.org/7-things-to-consider-before-developing-a- chatbot/#.Wl-Y2qinE2y • Design for Voice Interfaces: Building Products that Talk, O’Reilly e-book http://www.oreilly.com/design/free/design-for-voice-interfaces.csp • “Designing Voice Experiences” Smashing Magazine https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/05/designing-voice-experiences/ • Amazon Alexa Voice Design Guide https://developer.amazon.com/designing-for-voice/ RESOURCES 24Booz Allen Hamilton InternalBooz Allen Hamilton, Charleston, SC.
  26. 26. 25This document is confidential and intended solely for the client to whom it is addressed. Slide 2 Foster, J. (2018, January 4.) What did we get ourselves into? A history of Cortana personality design. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/microsoft-design/what-did-we-get-ourselves-into-36ddae39e69b Slide 3 Boren, Z.D. (2014, October 7). There are officially more devices than people in the world. The Independent.. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/there-are-officially-more-mobile-devices-than-people-in-the-world- 9780518.html Gershgorn, D. (2017, December 26). Google’s voice-generating AI is now indistinguishable from humans. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1165775/googles-voice-generating-ai-is-now-indistinguishable-from-humans/ Balakrishnan, A. (2017, December 26). Amazon’s Alexa had a breakout holiday – people even used Echoes to buy more Echoes. Cnbc.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/26/how-many-amazon-alexa-echoes-were-sold-over-the-2017-holidays.html Lardinois, F. (2018, January 5). Google says it sold a Google Home device every second since October 19. Techcrunch. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/google-says-it-sold-a-google-home-device-every-second-since-october-19/ DeMers, J. (2018, January 9). Why you need to prepare for a voice search revolution. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2018/01/09/why-you-need-to-prepare-for-a-voice-search-revolution/#3fa02c7b34af REFERENCES
  27. 27. 26This document is confidential and intended solely for the client to whom it is addressed. Slide 10 Del Ray, J. (2017, January 23.) Alexa and Google Assistant have a problem: People aren’t sticking with voice apps they try. Recode.net. Retrieved from https://www.recode.net/2017/1/23/14340966/voicelabs-report-alexa-google-assistant-echo-apps-discovery-problem Slide 13 Alexa Voice Design Guide, retrieved from https://developer.amazon.com/designing-for-voice/ Slide 19 Cerejo, L. (2017, May 3.) Designing voice experiences. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/05/designing- voice-experiences/ Slide 20 Klein, L. (2016). Design for Voice Interfaces: Building Products that Talk. O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/design/free/design- for-voice-interfaces.csp Slide 21 Pearl, C. (2016). Designing voice user interfaces: Principles of conversational experiences. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
  • joelsef

    Apr. 18, 2018
  • JeffreyRyanPass

    Apr. 2, 2018

VAs (virtual assistants) are becoming ubiquitous, from Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa. While exciting new possibilities abound, so do new design challenges. How can designers develop best practices for these non-visual interfaces? What roles do information architecture and artificial intelligence play? What do users expect from VAs, and how can bots rise to the occasion? This presentation addresses these questions with a firsthand look at implementing virtual assistants to solve real-world problems and key considerations for designing your own VA.

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