Humanising UX using Conversation
Some are predicting the demise of the conventional graphical user interface inside an app or presented on a screen. In favour of a more conversational user interface such as through voice or text. In reality both are likely to happily co-exist and context will play an important role in deciding what kind of interface you interact with. How we interact with the digital world will see a shift towards being relevant to human behaviour and experiences.
As user experience designers it’s our job to ensure that all user interactions are both joyful and memorable. So how do you do this for conversational or humanised interactions? The same methods that have always been used can be repurposed and adapted to fit the job – researching your target user (or human) and optimising around their needs.
Conversational interfaces already live inside apps like Facebook Chat, Telegram and Slack through bots written to offer specific services without leaving the conversation. You can already see this taking place now with the ability to order an Uber without ever leaving Facebook chat.
Updated – February 11th 2016
Quartz announced the release of its new iPhone app that allows users to read and discover news stories using a conversational text message style in
The days of having a polished user interface, colour scheme or branding to separate form from function will in some cases no longer exist. Developing a conversational experience will centre around how something feels, its personality, it’s human like qualities. With the ultimate judgement being how useful it is and how it helped its human user to achieve what they wanted to.
One positive side effect of the rise of conversational interfaces will be that barriers to entry will be much lower than they are now. With a potential app idea or service being based inside a conversational platform, startups will have no app to build and no screen to think about. Rapid prototyping and quick iteration based on real time feedback from users will alter the conventional user experience working paradigms. With no user interface to worry about, experiments can be created without the fear of alienating or irritating users, with the results of the experiments available immediately.
Perhaps we will see the emergence of new job titles such as ‘conversational user experience designer’ or ‘human experience designer’ in the not to distant future.
Time Sensitive Actions & Interfaces
The future of UX will be about time sensitive interactions, that provide you with the information you need and allows you to take the actions in the order you need to. In our pursuit of simpler cleaner interfaces and of making things as easy as possible for the user, it no longer makes sense to provide all the options at once. Users often want to take a single action at a time and be given only the essential options that they require. User experience will move towards providing features only when a user actually needs them and in an order that makes sense.
Lets take the example of a theoretical app that allows users to find local tattoo studios:
- Location is automatically detected
- If location can’t be automatically detected the option is provided to enter it manually (only if location isn’t found automatically)
- A list of local tattoo studios is loaded and a user is able to select one or multiple studios
- The user interface changes to provide various options for communication (the communication part of the app is not available until studios are selected)
- User is able to use the app to navigate to a studio using directions and maps within the app
- The user is given the ability to rate their experience only after they have visited and used the artist or studio.
Every step in the users journey is directly related to the previous step and the user is only asked to take one or two actions at a time. Once the user is familiar with the usefulness of the product, you can gradually introduce them to more functionality. Rather than being overloaded with features at the start, the user now has the context in which to appreciate this new functionality.
Designing experiences with this flow in mind reduces the learning curve for new users, makes user on-boarding easier and ensures users gets the results they expect.
The way we experience services online will not just be about our overall experience but also the small experiences, the micro details that add up to shape the overall experience. The term often used to describe these small UX details is micro-interactions.
The smallest visual details and user interface cues are what define a truly great user experience. With things like button effects, animations and state changes all adding up to shape the ‘personality’ of an experience. These interactions will continue to evolve, forming an important part of how to differentiate a product in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.
Here is a small collection of our favourites:
User Experience as Standard
In a typical setup user experience is often handled by a senior or specialist member of the creative & development teams. At KIJO we see user experience as a standard and integrated part of the development process. We anticipate that this will become the normal way of working. Everyone needs to understand the importance of good user experience from designers, developers, copywriter and customer support.
User experience will become embedded in projects from the start just like responsive design has become the standard way of designing websites. Search engines will begin to factor user experience metrics into their algorithms and ranking positions, like they do already for websites that are not mobile friendly. To a certain extent this can already be seen happening with Googles rankings – a slow website is considered bad for user experience and you will penalised for offering a poor experience. We expect to see smarter, automatic ways of measuring user experience and this to effect how your product attracts new users.