What to consider in your learning path to become a conversation designer? (PartI)

5 minutes read

Conversation Designer, Conversational AI Designer, Conversation UX Designer, etc… are all new titles and professions that have been introduced recently in the field of conversational AI to get ‘overlapping-ly’ used in reference to those who design the conversational dialogues, design the flow, provide training data and enhance/optimize it continuously for the chatbots or the virtual assistants.

Being the novelest professions in town had its advantages and disadvantages. Conversation designers have a good space for exploration and trial an error approach opening the door for more innovation and unorthodox conceptualization to be part of the process. Additionally, conversation designers are not limited to past attempts or old times approaches supported by academia and the non-academic experimentational practices.

On the other flip of the coin, getting started into this field has no manual and requires a lot of self-learning and massive research to decide on the approach that best suits the conversational AI we are working on. Till now, conversational AI has made substantial advancement in many fields to score impressive penetration rates in industries such as the customer support, healthcare, banking among others. Still, the lines all blurred when it comes to the classifications of the different chatbots and virtual assistants’ types. This actually makes it harder for conversation designers to have an unequivocal approach to the design of conversations.

It is not all ambiguous on this side, some institutes with strong and clear vision are emerging with courses and certifications that are put together to serve this end, signaling a new era for conversation design. Besides this, conversation design has managed to make it to academia and and the research of leading educational entities as well as tech giants such as Google, IBM and Amazon.

Speaking of those huge tech corporations, their conversation design courses and material are something worth having a meticulous look at.

  • In Google’s Conversation Design Course, aspiring conversation designers are exposed to a wide range of expertise that make the foundation for conversation design from Google’s perspective, which includes but not limited to voice user interface design, interaction design, visual design, motion design, and UX writing.
  • IBM’s Design, on the other hand, is concise but leans more towards creating conversations that are more intuitive. Therefore, it is highly recommended to be included in a conversation designer’s list of the key resources.
  • In parallel, Amazon is offering their Alexa Design Guide, which offer an in-depth understanding of design for voice interfaces such as Alexa. This one is particularly distinguished for its solid resources section which includes a substantial glossary, relevant and eye-opening reading list, toolkits and a design checklist, that are all worth checking out!

Conversation design should be viewed as a multidisciplinary field, where other well-established sciences contribute to such as linguistics, sociology, psychology and the behavioral science. Therefore, a preliminary knowledge of those fields will help enrich the conversation design experience.

The following are a couple of readings that Fluido.ai recommends for the learning path of emerging conversation designers who are looking to have a head start into the field,

How should my chatbot interact? this is a good one that tackles the human-chatbot interaction from a sociological perspective, where social characteristics given to the chatbots were mapped and further discussed within the context of conversation design.

Real conversations with artificial intelligence: A comparison between human–human online conversations and human–chatbot conversations: In this chapter, the different communication angles between humans and chatbots are examined to showcase the difference in the behavioral interaction between the humans and humans and chatbots.

Personalization is key to the success of conversational AI. So, answering to the question: Can we Improve the User Experience of Chatbots with Personalization? requires an answer that can be found in the link to this 2017 Thesis that adds emphasis on the relationship between the user experience enhancement and the personalization of the chatbot.

These resources will sure get you started into the world of conversation design. But an extra little tip for you to get the best out of this list, is to branch out in reading relying on the references provided in the scholarly articles provided because they will help you understand the industry’s terminologies and the different related concepts.