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On Designing The Right Bot Avatar

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In the current sea of instant responses everywhere its ever more crucial to resonate the chat bot’s personality with the user’s expectations. What follows is a short mention of several human psychological effects and how to harness them with the aim of aligning the best parts of a chat bot’s personality to the user’s needs, life’s goals, identification, personal fulfillment and motivation. When that right alignment occurs, it will most likely yield the user’s acceptance of the bot’s personality which in turn affects their gratification of the entire chat bot experience.

How much should the bot’s personality resemble the user’s personality? Are the user’s needs being filled with conversation? If so, it most likely will lead to overall enjoyment by the user as they feel they’re in full control of the experience. Inversely, is the bot experience setting a high bar or steep learning curve to utilize the services being offered by the chat bot? Is the bot serving games for enjoyment: trivia, puzzles, arcade or simulations?

The best bots are those that design their avatars with personality attributes that complement the user’s personality as expressed through their needs and reflected in the interaction styles of the services offered.

What role does personal fulfillment play for the user?
Usage, usability and usefulness of the chat bot service directly impacts the user’s ability to achieve their life goals and can be the primary motivator to use a bot service, especially if something of value is being offered. Is the bot personality favorable when compared with the user’s personality? Are the chat bot’s mental, emotional well-being and personality attributes easily discernible by the user?

Psychologically speaking a bot avatar that is dissimilar from a user’s real life and personality but has more ideal traits creates a more fulfilling experience as it temporarily takes focus away from real life and shifts it to the task at hand in the bot service.

Can the user become “one” with the bot?
Manifesting itself subconsciously in a matter of milliseconds during actual interactions with the chat bot is the user’s own mental measure if their needs and goals are being served at all when learning, connecting or purchasing through the bot service. Does the bot service feel natural to the user to the point that it adds value to their life even through a mere emotional connection? How close does the bot’s personality speak to the user’s personal life’s goals?

Our designs must avoid at all costs the user’s becoming bored and disappointed with the bot experience and experiencing a personality conflict.

Chat Bot Personality Design Matrix
How to get started designing a personality for your chat bot? Follow the matrix below that considers the user’s needs, goals and personality.

Chat bot personality design matrix that considers the user’s needs, goals and personality.

With the matrix above and additional relevant findings for your chat bot service, your team is now ready with the bot’s personality traits to determine messages for greetings, errors and user feedback. This can be a somewhat new and delicate issue in many places as it impacts an organization’s public relations and perception, therefore do not hesitate to make important stakeholders part of the design process by inviting them at least to a design workshop to generate color, typography, imagery etc that flow from the personality designed for the bot. Such endeavor might as well include legal counsel review of the designs.

Visual style for chat bots derived from personality

Aspects of digital design are still very much present in the overall look and feel of chat bot experiences, as these interact almost subconsciously with human’s psychological effects of life’s goals, identification, personal fulfillment and motivation as described in this article. The following design artifacts not only can measure how our chat bot service is meeting those needs but are easily derived from the personality designed: bot and user avatars, dialog and link bubbles, primary and secondary user input containers and cards design.

Color Palette
Is the bot service an enhancement to an already established brand? Or is it a brand-new product? This will determine what types of color would be used.

Typefaces
Choices for your bot are already influenced by previous personality determinations that serve as a model to match the mood conveyed in a typeface.

Design Style
Includes iconography, textures, imagery and other graphical elements that influence the reception of visual chat bot responses.


On Designing The Right Bot Avatar 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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