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Multimodal Conversation Design Tutorial (Part 2): Best Practices, Use Cases and Future Outlook

Welcome to part 2 of our tutorial on multimodal conversation design. In part 1 we learned about the basics of multimodal design and its related inputs and outputs. Today we’ll dive into contextualized best practices, review a common use case and discuss what the future might hold for multimodal conversation design.

Contextual Design: Building Relevant and Customized Experiences

Context in multimodal conversation design is essential. We can’t just think in chat, or just think in voice, or visuals alone. We have to think about how they complement each other and which one best serves the user in any given moment. Where is the user? What are they trying to accomplish? These should be the main considerations when working with multimodal design.

Knowing where users are while they progress through different steps of their journey can reveal both pain points and opportunities in design. This is especially true if the user journey requires switching between devices. Careful review of the user journey helps with understanding the advantages of one modality over another at various points. This type of review should take into consideration the entire user experience from beginning to end and map how those interactions come to life using a combination of modalities.

Cultivating a sense of safety and security for users in their interactions is also crucial for driving engagement that leads to customer loyalty. A multimodal experience can help achieve this. Speaking aloud and receiving an audio response make voice-first interactions inherently more public. If a use case involves the need for users to share private or sensitive information, combining voice-first with displaying text and visual inputs might be more effective.

Contextual Design: The Process In Detail
Contextual Design: The Process In Detail

It’s vital to recognize that this is not a case of designing chat or voice-first and then simply layering on graphical elements. Best practice requires us to understand and prioritize what a user is trying to do and support that goal instead of pushing or even forcing them to engage with a product or preferred interface. Often this means playing a supportive role. It requires critical reflection and honesty about whether a brand is truly committed to creating the most frictionless interaction for a user or are justifications being made for inadvertently furthering frustrations. Which leads us to…

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Multimodal Is More Than Flash

Multimodal conversation design is intended to combine multiple inputs and outputs to improve a user’s experience. Designers make life easier for users by incorporating and automating actions through different modalities. If there was only one modality mechanism, it would negatively affect the user experience and the design would “fail” in the mind of the user.

That said, when everything in a design competes for your attention, nothing wins. Too many elements in a user’s journey can actually push the feel of the UX into the gimmicky territory. In multimodal conversation design, where the audible, visible, and tactile compete for attention, it’s less straightforward. Each modality has its advantages. The key lies in emphasizing one at a time.

Each element must be intentional. It should have a purpose, not just flash. It’s not just about what’s available, it’s about whether what’s available is even relevant or appropriate. If users are distracted by an element, they’re not concentrating on the intended user journey. Intentionally designed experiences work, while others can immediately come off as overwhelming. There’s an art to bringing together visuals and audio to create seamless communications.

Multimodal Conversation Design
Multimodal Conversation Design

Well-thought-out multimodal conversation design also prioritizes accessibility. The power of a multimodal experience should not be underestimated. It can reduce difficulties, improve independence, and include more people in the conversation. This is why it’s critical to ask the right questions at the beginning of the design process to determine if any users are being excluded from the product. Can all users of a multimodal journey complete a task or get from A to B without major roadblocks? Answering these questions will help demonstrate that a brand cares about the needs of all of its users.

  1. User verbally asks their smart display for a recipe.
  2. Smart display verbalizes that it can help and provides visual recipe results.
  3. User manually scrolls through options on the smart display, taps for more details, and reads the recipe.
  4. User verbally updates the voice assistant’s shopping list for recipe ingredients.
  5. Smart display verbally and visually confirms the shopping list update.
  6. While driving to the store, the user remembers something else they need, uses an in-car smart assistant to verbally make an addition to their shopping list.
  7. At the grocery store, a user doesn’t want to disturb others, so they use the mobile app’s GUI to read their shopping list, tapping to check-off items as they go.
  8. Back at home, the smart display remembers the selected recipe and both verbally and visually explains the recipe steps.
  9. With their hands busy and messy, the user can verbally ask the smart display to repeat a step, set a timer, play music, etc

Multimodal Conversation Design: A Not So Simple Use Case

Let’s walk through a simple example of how multimodal design can improve a user’s experience for something like making a recipe. While it may seem simple on the surface, it involves multiple visual, audio, and touch interactions, sometimes simultaneously.

Think of the roadblocks this same user would experience through a rigidly audio or visual-only interface. Where might frustration arise without the ability to obtain or convey information within the most context-informed modality?

How Multimodal Design Will Impact the Future of Customer Interactions

AI’s predictive abilities will continue to evolve through a variety of methods, from physical recognition cues to automatically checking schedules and drawing conclusions. Vocal and physical biomarkers will also provide additional context for the best modality. We’re already seeing this in how smartwatches use biometric information for communication.

In Q1 2021, smart displays comprised 38% of worldwide smart speaker sales. Although screenless smart speakers lead the market for voice-enabled devices, the popularity of smart displays is quickly climbing. Amazon is tapping into this opportunity by building a large Echo Show to mount on the wall. Verizon recently announced it’s entering the market with its own smart display. As these devices make headway, companies must determine how these displays integrate with both their core services and broader smart home plans to provide users the best multimodal experience.

As discussed, multimodal design is inherently human-centric. Many are convinced that the next step to bring a more human-like experience to chat and voice is the inclusion of a virtual human experience. With a combination of three-dimensional bodies, expressive faces, and natural language understanding, virtual humans stand to progress multimodal design and continue shrinking the gap between human and technological interactions.

Multimodal Design: Excellent Branding Opportunities

As experiences become more interactive and multimodal they will become more shareable in the design and product world. This means big opportunities for brands’ conversational experiences to get the customer and industry attention they deserve as they become more consumable for broader audiences. In turn, customers will come to expect multimodal interactions wherever they experience conversation design.

With this in mind, a design team’s skill sets will need to expand as it’s no longer solely about designing for one modality; it’s about designing for multimodal functionality and experience. This means determining how the visual interface interacts with the context provided by text and speech interfaces, as well as how these different forms of interaction harmonize with one another.

Ultimately, multimodal design’s purpose is to contextualize and offer up options to provide users with the best interaction for the moment they’re in. Having easily navigated an experience, customers should walk away satisfied with both the specific interaction and the overall brand. And when it comes down to it, hasn’t that always been the objective?


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Multimodal Conversation Design Tutorial (Part 2): Best Practices, Use Cases and Future Outlook was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What is User Interface (UI) Design

User interface (UI) design is the process where designers use to build interfaces in software or computerized devices, focusing on looks or style. the user interface (UI) is the series of screens, pages, visual elements like buttons and icons that enable a person to interact with a product or service.

UI design is the look and feel, the presentation and the interactivity of a product. The goal of user interface design is to make the user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible, in term of accomplishing user goals.

What is User Interface Design (UI) and why is it important?

User interface (UI) design defines how an individual user interacts with a digital information system. it is essentially a series of visual elements that a user uses to interact with the digital device. The goal of any UI design is to make the users interaction with the device and the interface as smooth as possible.

What are the most important skills for UI designer?

1 Visual and non-visual Communication

Designer should be able to explain the goal of given product, If the initial plan fails designer should also be able to provide an alternative.

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2 Wireframing

Wireframing is commonly used to layout content and functionality on a page which takes into user needs and user journeys. It is a critical part of the interaction design process.

The aim of wireframe is to provide a visual understanding the page in a project. Wireframe is an important communication tool in any web or app project.

3 Interaction Design

Interaction Design is the design of interactive products and services in which a designer’s focus goes beyond the way users will interact with it.

4 User empathy

Empathy is the ability to fully understand, reflect, then share another person’s expessions and needs.

Does UI design require coding?

UI designers do not need to code but it is beneficial that designer have programming skills.

Most UX and UI designers have at least a little understanding of coding, including javascript, HTML, and CSS. it is best to leave coding to the experts, but knowing code is a great asset for toolbox and makes more marketable.

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What is User Interface (UI) Design was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Multimodal Conversation Design Tutorial: Overview and Key Elements

Welcome to part 1 of our tutorial on multimodal conversation design. Today we’ll take an in-depth look at what multimodal design is and learn more about its related components. Then in part 2, we’ll discuss best practices, use cases, and the outlook for the future.

From the moment we wake up, to when we’re about to go to bed, humans are absorbing information in a variety of ways. We combine multiple senses or modalities — sight, touch, taste, smell, sound — to draw singular conclusions. Our senses work together to build our understanding of the world and the challenges around us. With feedback and experience, they help reinforce certain behaviors and discourage the repetition of others. The more we process these combined or multimodal experiences, the more tangible and impactful they become.

Multimodal Conversation Design: a Human-Centric Approach

If multimodal is our natural human state, it stands to reason that multimodal design should be a natural outlook. Taking a human-centric approach, the multimodal design mixes art and technology to create a user experience (UX) that combines modalities across multiple touch points. Done well, this approach produces an interface that combines modalities in a way that sees them fit together organically to replicate an interpersonal human interaction. For example, using voice as an input mechanism married with a graphical user interface (GUI) as the output for the user.

Human Centric Multimodal Conversation Design

Traditionally we’ve thought about GUI and content design in silos; we even specialize designers and creatives along these lines. In a similar vein, modalities have also been siloed. Past processes would see the UX developed separately while content is developed and then the two are mashed together. In multimodal design, instead of building functionality one modality at a time, no input or output is treated separately or excluded. Developing all aspects of the UX together allows for the best modality for the context or circumstance to naturally emerge as the interaction unfolds.

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Context is Everything in Multimodal

What we sense, what information we need to understand and operate smoothly, and what we expect to do, all change depending on whether we’re having a conversation at a party, making dinner, driving a car, or reading a text message. The patterns of how these bundled expectations and abilities come together are called modalities. Having multiple sensory options is important when considering that all senses might not be simultaneously available, either temporarily or permanently. Providing inputs for all channels can increase accessibility and improve the reliability of the activity or information.

Multimodal Conversation Design: Inputs & Outputs

On a human level, communication isn’t limited to text and speech. We rely on a wide range of signals that include everything from hand gestures to eye movement to body language.

So why does conversation design continue to primarily focus on text and speech interactions? Lived experience clearly tells us we should not be limited to these modalities alone. For example, a chatbot should be capable of showing dynamic content (graphics, links, maps) to provide the best possible response. Some chatbots can also take commands via voice and then display the results as text or using a synthesized voice.

Multimodal Conversation Design: Inputs & Outputs

A similar approach that successfully meets people’s inclination towards multimodal interactions is voice search. This is the trend where we speak into our browser rather than type and receive our search results in return. In this respect, we can think of Google as the biggest single-turn chatbot in the world. Technology has evolved from searching with keywords and abbreviated phrases to the ability to search using natural language.

From a user’s perspective, a voice-controlled interface is appealing in its straightforward ease of use; the user wants something and simply asks for it. This is commonly referred to as the intent. The user then expects the system to come back with a relevant response, either as an action or information. Consuming information aurally requires more cognitive load from users, which suggests clarity and attention are more easily achieved through multimodal design.

In addition to text and speech, the most commonplace input modalities for interacting with a system include use of a mouse, keyboard, or touch/tap. Newer modalities, including gestural and physiological, are continuing to expand their use cases. A user should be able to provide information to a system in the most efficient and effortless way possible.

How is the optimal approach determined? Context. Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll learn about contextualized best practices, use cases, and what the future might hold for multimodal conversation design.


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Multimodal Conversation Design Tutorial: Overview and Key Elements was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

How much would you charge for creating a Watson Assistant chatbot for a client ?

Fairly simple question, just wanted to know how much you would charge a client that wants a chatbot made using Watson Assistant, this includes full set up of the chatbot and deployment on a website, let me know how much you would also charge for regular maintenance

(trying to know your opinion so I can get an idea on how to negotiate with my clients, google didn’t help so I came to this sub)

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Survey for Project on Conversational User Interfaces (ex: Siri, Alexa, Echo, Google Assistant, Chatbots, etc.)

Hi, I am a part of a group of human-computer interaction masters students working on a project to create conversational UIs (ex: virtual assistants like Siri and chatbots) with the mindset of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. To get some background research before we start our project, we would love to have people complete our survey! It should take a maximum of 5-8 minutes. We greatly appreciate your time and answers.

Also, included at the end of the survey is an option to enter an email if you are interested in having an interview with us to provide further information related to this topic. Thank you!

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AI Chatbot : Transforming Customer Experience in Southeast Asia

AI Chatbot : Transforming Customer Experience in Southeast Asia

In a digitally transforming era like 2021, artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly capable of driving customer experience across various business functions, making human tasks not only easier but also more efficient and cost-effective. After the rising need for virtual support post-pandemic, AI-driven virtual assistants and chatbots had to become more powerful with advanced NLP engines, automated diagnosis systems, and machine learning algorithms.

As a result, AI chatbots nowadays play a significant role in assisting customers virtually across different industries while improving CX for businesses. Not only in developed nations like the US, UK, and Europe, AI Chatbots have become the buzzword in Southeast Asian countries too. Leading brands in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are also adopting AI chatbots into their business functions, and driving ROI like never before.

To explore the scope and capabilities of an AI chatbot in Southeast Asia (SEA), and to understand their role in CX transformation, let’s start from the basics.

AI Chatbots are intelligent virtual assistants that can interact and communicate with your customers in a natural language via text or voice-based conversations. These chatbots work on AI technology and Machine Learning algorithms to assist customers and help them to solve their queries through a virtual platform.

What role do they play?

AI Chatbots play a highly collaborative role in keeping customers engaged and satisfied by providing quick assistance and accurate solutions to their queries. Handling multiple customers at-a-time and providing a 24/7 personalized service experience as per their ease and availability, helps businesses establish long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty.

What are the benefits of an AI chatbot?

Brands aiming for a global existence have timely deployed AI Chatbots into their businesses. Due to other advantages like multilingual support, advanced NLP technology, and seamless integration of such technologies into new businesses, they found it the best way to automate their customer service functions. And now, leading brands of the Southeast Asian countries have also started adopting AI chatbots into their business to operate with better efficiency at a lower cost.

In the USA and China, the utility of chatbots has always been extensive, while in Southeast Asian countries it is yet to get trending. Although chatbots in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines are showing early success with AI implementation, the adoption rate needs to be accelerated more.

Check out how AI chatbots helped StarHub, a leading Singapore Telecom company, resolve 70% of its customer queries.

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Why do SEA countries need to adopt AI chatbots?

In Jan 2021, a report on Asia Chatbot Trend detailed insight of Chatbots in the top five Asian nations — Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, and Korea. The report says that 85% of respondents had already used chatbot services in the previous six months, and are willing to use contactless services going forward.

Due to increased awareness among customers and adaptability by companies, AI chatbots in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines need to be up-to-date with the recent AI trends. From Financial Services to Transport, Travel, Healthcare, Education, Insurance, , Retail, and Human Resources, etc. there are many key industries where AI chatbots can be adopted with promising results.

Out of these industries, the industry has a huge opportunity to explode in Southeast Asia- as AI is keeping customers connected, even when no one is working. As per the study organized by Facebook and Bain & Company , spending on e-commerce platforms will be three times more in the next five years. Digital-savvy consumers in Southeast Asia are expected to spend an average of US$390 in 2025, up from the average US$175 they spend right now.

How are Chatbots key to CX Transformation?

AI-enabled chatbots utilize machine learning capabilities to work in tandem with natural language processing (NLP) to generate multiple responses and conversation threads, enabling the chatbot to actively learn from its customer interactions. NLP is also a key factor in AI development to give responses in other languages- that is a key consideration in Southeast Asia, where English is only one of the textual thousands of regional languages.

Irrespective of the capabilities to operate 24/7, AI chatbots can create a conversation thread themselves, and at the same time submit a ticket to the system informing a customer sales representative to respond at the earliest availability. This way AI chatbots serve customers with higher efficiency while reducing the manual labor cost of deploying a full-fledged customer service team.

Taking the advantage of digital customer experience, brands can introduce better products or services that will help them meet the demands of new generation customers. This kind of promotional and digitally transformed online marketing strategy will also help them to stay ahead in the competition and enjoy the high market share in the industry for better growth and business prospects of the entire organization.

As per HubSpot’s Consumer Support survey, 90% of respondents think that quick response is vital when they have a customer service question, and an AI chatbot can do that instantly while giving the best possible chance to retain the customer and take their experience to the next level.Experts Takeaways

When you deploy a bot, you need to make sure if your chatbot is meeting your CX goals. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are customer experience benchmarking factors to measure your customer service. AI chatbots help you gather data like feedback, reviews, ratings from customers.

When customers have positive experiences communicating with brands via chatbot, they expect the same convenience in other interactions too. AI-driven interactions help you create a consistent brand experience for your customers and improve your service.

You can also evaluate the CSAT scores of your bot conversations and understand whether your customers are happy or not. Based on these scores, you can easily monitor your success metrics and take required actions to enhance bot performance, customer satisfaction rates, and the overall customer service experience of your business.

Final Thoughts

With AI chatbot, brands will be able to deliver enhanced customer service that will also help them to understand their customer better with more valuable insights and data. And this kind of digital transformation is going to give a cutting-edge user experience to customers while improving the productivity and efficiency of organizations.

Hope you found some new learnings on AI chatbot and how they can add wings to your business success. However, it is equally important to figure out the best AI chatbots that can solve your business use cases.

By deploying the best AI chatbots into your business, you’ll do much more than just looking tech-savvy (although you will). Haptik’s AI chatbots help you save time over customer interactions, improve the customer experience and help you build a more robust support function on your website or app.

Interested to explore more or want to try out a chatbot of your own?

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AI Chatbot : Transforming Customer Experience in Southeast Asia was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.