Wanted to share some interesting posts I found this week that relate to bots and conversational design.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Chatbots - Matt Schlicht put together a really good resource that discusses the lay of the chatbot land. Goes into detail about the growing opportunity for bots, why that is, and even into how you can build your own chatbot.

Matt has also started a Facebook group dedicated to bots. You can request an invite here.

Startup Shootaround: Making Sense of Voice Technology - The principals at NextView Ventures (Seed-stage venture capital firm based in Boston) transcribed their roundtable discussion about voice technology. Interestingly they address the societal shift wherein people are becoming increasingly comfortable with “talking” to their devices in public, a major hurdle to widespread bot adoption.

“Bot” is the wrong name..And why people who think they are silly are wrong. - Aaron Batalion, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, looks at how bots will allow startups to reach a billion users quickly via a commonly used platform such at Facebook Messenger. Key point he makes is that we’re in the (very) early stages of the bot revolution. As it matures we’ll start to see different and more nuanced user interfaces that go beyond simple chat.

How I turned my resume into a bot. (And how you can too!) - I enjoyed this quick post on how Esther, with no coding ability, was able to create a bot that responded via text or Facebook Messenger. Her bot is very rudimentary, but can be easily expanded from there. I will confess that I wasn’t able to complete her step-by-step guide. I think she may have left out a step or two. But you can interact with her bots so she was definitely on to something.

Compassionate UX - When we attempt to index heavily on “delight” things can go horribly wrong. This piece looks at how we as designers/builders sometimes are sometimes blind to what can go wrong, as we’re so focused on what we imagine will go right. It references some recent cringe-worthy screw-ups by big tech companies. The article is not specifically about conversational design (though it looks at the Microsoft Tay incident). Still, a lot of relevant points as we seek to design enjoyable interactive bots.

As a side note, for more on the topic of designing “compassionate experiences” vs. “delightful experiences”, check out "Dear Tech, You Suck at Delight.”  

Why Messaging Bots Won’t Replace Apps - Worthwhile piece on the coming bot explosion. Addresses a question/concern I have that we’re being forced to play within one walled garden (Facebook) or another (WeChat). Allowing the services to be independent of closed platforms will be key.