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Things to Avoid when Designing Chatbots

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Happy chatting!

When moving from web or mobile design to chatbots things get a little tricky. You aim to design the best UI and UX for your bot, but guess what! Odds are it’s not going to be that perfect.🤔

This “guide” was written with Facebook Messenger bots in mind, but could be easily followed during the design / development on other platforms.

I hate huge, uninteresting intros so let’s get started!💪🏻

Boring Language😴

The #1 reason for a user to dislike your bot is the way it speaks. A chatbot is not a mobile app and is not a website. It should have a personality and a way to speak. When someone messages your Facebook page, a human response is expected, so you should make your conversations human-friendly, playful, warm, funny, physical.😀

Plus, there ain’t no conversation without emojis! Use some and, why not, some hashtags?

Be creative, people!💡

Don’t Let Users Hanging😐

You should always be clear about the next step and should always give feedback about the current step.

👉🏻 Quick reminder: People can remember about 7 items, give or take.

Is the user going to type, click a button or send an attachment? Users should never be confused about what’s coming next. Button texts should clearly represent and communicate their actions.

Also, never forget to show an escape route, either for going to the previous step or entirely cancelling the conversation.

Tip: Cancel is less likely to be seen and used if it’s the last choice in a series of buttons / options.

Beginning ➡️ End

Your ultimate goal is for someone to finish a conversation with your bot, to complete an action. Therefore, clear paths (use cases) are a priority. Don’t give options if they’re not going anywhere.

The steps of your golden path should be the first options a user sees. For example, if you’re displaying a cart overview of a products ordering system, then the “Checkout” option should appear first on your button’s menu. Or, if you’re using Messenger’s quick reply buttons, the first that comes is the one you want your users to select. Don’t forget that humans mainly read from top to bottom and left to right.

Tip: If you design a sandwich or 🍕 ordering bot and you need a good amount of steps to select a product with its options (stuffing), think about creating standard choices, avoiding a huge flow and multiple selections. For example, sandwich with cheese, ham and lettuce. It’s there, just select it.

Minimise Text Input💬

Unless you want to see every dirty word that a user might try in a text input (’cause they’re going to), you have to keep your bot structured and have minimum input of text. Use buttons of carousel cards, or quick reply buttons that also help minimise interaction time.

Tip: If you’re asking for a user’s full name and already have that info (you just need confirmation), don’t let them type it, provide it as a quick reply button.🆒

Tip 2: There might be questions with worldwide known popular responses. Those responses should be there, ready, for your users to select.

Merge Flow Steps✂️

This one is difficult and can’t always happen. Think of the case when a user is about to finish shopping on a bot and you have to ask if they need to type some additional notes regarding their order.

Instead of asking them whether they need to add notes or not (and then proceed accordingly), simply provide a “No Notes” button, plus the ability to enter text, in a single step.

Don’t Push too Hard👊🏻

If your bot sends push messages to users, make sure they don’t feel spammy and are not being sent too often. Otherwise, your bot will be flirting with the block messages option of each platform. Who wants that, right?

Tip: Make an opt-out choice that stops push messages for a certain user.

Tip 2: Keep your conversation messages short and never send more than 2 in a row. The sound of flooding texts becomes annoying!

Platform-specific Templates✏️

Did you know there was a receipt template for Facebook Messenger bots?

That’s all for now! Keep exploring the chatbot world!🚀


Things to Avoid when Designing Chatbots🤖 was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Chatbots Magazine

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