Over the years, the web design industry has seen many user interface trends come and go. As we progress into the future, UI technology becomes smarter and more advanced. This article explores the topic of conversational UI and why it is going to make a big impact in the future.
WHAT IS CONVERSATIONAL UI?
Conversational UI is an interface design that is based upon conversation. Moreover, the conversational interface allows website users to engage via chat. This could be done via humans, or through automated chat bots.
AI technology is more advanced as ever, and many websites are beginning to use AI as a way to create conversions and provide a better user experience. The purpose of a conversational UI is to create a humanlike experience, in which the user moves away from traditional clicking icons. Furthermore, the conversational interface is designed to be easy and also feel natural for the user.
VOICE BASED INTERACTIONS
Conversational UI can be served both over text and voice. Voice based interactions are on the rise and likely to be a big part of the future. Voice technology is already being adopted by big companies such as Microsoft (Cortana), Google (Assistant) and Apple (Siri). In a recent talk, Google revealed that its Duplex feature can set reminders as well as make phone calls and converse.
The future of web design takes a new conversational approach. Moreover, it redefines the interface. Bird Digital believes that conversational UI will change the industry completely. They believe that conversational UI proves that interfaces do not have to be strictly visual. As of 2018, Microsoft claim that over 3000 conversational bots are made every week. This impressive figure shows the direction in which we are moving.
NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING (NLP)
NLP, otherwise known as natural language processing, is the next step of voice interaction. Traditionally we have seen voice technology used in setups such as automated phone systems. Previously automated voice systems have been faced with controversy as well as ongoing errors and problems. The traditional automated phone system is known as IVR, which stands for Interactive Voice Response. The problem with IVR is that most times the bot is looking for basic one word responses. If the bot does not hear the answer it is looking for, it can cause confusion to the system, which can lead to user frustration. Studies from New York university has shown that over 80% of people feel that IVR systems provide low to no benefit at all. The majority of people in the study felt that IVR systems only really benefit the company as they save them money on staff costs.
NLP is a different story all together. The purpose of NLP is to respond to how people use language in an intelligent manner. Natural language processing can pick up on a number of variables, such as accents, tone and intent. NLP also picks up on the context in which something is said to further understand the intent behind the words. Furthermore, NLP is providing a natural alternative to traditional voce systems. Increased AI intelligence means that engaging in conversation with a bot will no longer be seen as a negative experience.
TEXT DRIVEN CONVERSATIONAL UI
Text driven conversation with bots is another technology that is progressing fast. Text driven conversational UI is likely to be crucial in the future. As it stands, we already can find live chat bots on websites, however in the future they will be even smarter. Conversational UI will be a become huge part of web design. Furthermore conversational based interfaces will be able to locate content based on a response and also answer any questions. Many chatbots will have the ability to learn based upon user responses, which means that AI can only become more advanced.
Text driven conversational UI will play a large part in automation, engagement and enhanced user experience. Moreover, this technology will be able to make first engagement with the user based on their interactions. It can help serve the user more easily by providing them with the content they are looking for, which increases conversion rate. The purpose of an interface is to create motivation for a person to continue using the website as well enhancing usability. Text driven conversational UI will do just that.
HOW CAN CONVERSATIONAL UI BENEFIT BUSINESSES?
Conversational UI is a win win for both businesses and customers. This is because it provides value for the customer as well as lowering costs for a business. AI voice or chat bots allows a website user to ask for any information, at any time, of the day. This added convenience means that users can be instantly served with relevant results. This is can help increase conversion rates and push relevant content to a businesses audience.
Furthermore, conversational UI is set to be huge in E-commerce. This is because it will reduce the time needed to serve the customer. For example, a customer may ask a chatbot if they have any mens cargo trousers in black in size 34”, which are suitable to wear with boots. The chatbot will take that information and serve the customer instantly with all applicable products that match that description. Moreover, a chatbot may also take payments and help a customer proceed with the checkout process.
If a customer wants to check on a previous order, they may engage in conversation with a bot and then be presented with previous order information. The chatbot can then prompt the user if they wish to reorder and base their conversation on the habits of the user. This creates a more personal feel, which can also lead to a higher conversion rate therefore increasing profits.
As we progress, AI and machine learning technology continues to grow. The future of web design will be largely based on conversational interfaces. The world of E-commerce is benefiting from chatbots, which will only become smarter and more reliable in the future. Moreover, people are becoming used to communication via messenger or voice, which makes conversational UI less alien to the user. The response time of a business can also be made significantly shorter using conversational UI. We are entering the new era of the internet, in which machine learning and AI are reaching new heights. The future is smarter, faster and tailored to the user.