Designing Bots: Creating Conversational Experiences

Designing Bots: Creating Conversational Experiences

by Amir Shevat


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From Facebook Messenger to Kik, and from Slack bots to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and email bots, the new conversational apps are revolutionizing the way we interact with software. This practical guide shows you how to design and build great conversational experiences and delightful bots that help people be more productive, whether it’s for a new consumer service or an enterprise efficiency product.

Ideal for designers, product managers, and entrepreneurs, this book explores what works and what doesn’t in real-world bot examples, and provides practical design patterns for your bot-building toolbox. You’ll learn how to use an effective onboarding process, outline different flows, define a bot personality, and choose the right balance of rich control and text.

  • Explore different bot use-cases and design best practices
  • Understand bot anatomy—such as brand and personality, conversations, advanced UI controls—and their associated design patterns
  • Learn steps for building a Facebook Messenger consumer bot and a Slack business bot
  • Explore the lessons learned and shared experiences of designers and entrepreneurs who have built bots
  • Design and prototype your first bot, and experiment with user feedback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491974827
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/02/2017
Pages: 348
Sales rank: 736,813
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Amir Shevat is a VP of developer experience at Twitch. He has spent the past 15 years building developer products, APIs, and ecosystems around APIs at Slack, Microsoft, and Google. He is also the author of Designing Bots (O’Reilly).

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 What Are Bots? 1

So, What Are Bots? 2

The Bot Revolution and Evolution 4

Stages of Bot Adoption 7

Not All Bots Are Born the Same 8

Closing Thoughts 8

Chapter 2 Bot Types 9

Personal Versus Team Bots 9

Super Bots Versus Domain-Specific Bots 10

Business Bots Versus Consumer Bots 12

Voice Versus Text Bots 15

Net New Bots Versus Integrations Exposing Legacy Systems 17

Closing Thoughts 18

Chapter 3 Major Platforms 19

The Business Bot Platform: Slack 19

The Consumer Bot Platform: Facebook Messenger 20

The Voice Bot Platform: Alexa 21

The Teens' Bot Platform: Kik 21

The Legacy Bot Platforms 22

How to Choose a Platform 23

Closing Thoughts 27

Chapter 4 Major Use Cases 29

Conversational Commerce 29

Bots for Business 30

Productivity and Coaching 32

Alert/Notification Bots 33

Bots as Routers Between Humans 33

Customer Service and FAQ Bots 34

Third-Party Integration Bots 35

Games and Entertainment Bots 36

Brand Bots 37

Closing Thoughts 38

Chapter 5 Bot Anatomy 39

Breaking Down Bots 40

Core Purpose and Functionality 44

Closing Thoughts 46

Chapter 6 Branding, Personality, and Human Involvement 47

Branding 47

Personality 54

Human Intervention 63

Closing Thoughts 67

Chapter 7 Artificial Intelligence 69

Natural Language Understanding 70

Conversation Management 71

Image Recognition/Computer Vision 72

Prediction 74

Sentiment Analysis 75

When to Use Artificial Intelligence 76

Not Using Artificial Intelligence 76

Closing Thoughts 77

Chapter 8 The Conversation 79

Onboarding 80

Functionality Scripting 89

Decoration 105

Priming the User to Give the Right Information 111

Acknowledgment and Confirmation 113

Consistency 116

Reciprocity 117

Team Versus Private Interactions 121

Error Handling 126

Help and Feedback 132

Closing Thoughts 134

Chapter 9 Rich Interactions 137

Files 138

Audio 139

Videos 139

Images 141

Buttons 145

Templates 158

Links 165

Emojis 169

Typing Events 171

Persistent Menus 171

Slash Commands 173

Webviews 175

Connecting It All Together 176

Closing Thoughts 177

Chapter 10 Context and Memory 179

Bot Amnesia 179

Context 181

Memory 188

Closing Thoughts 190

Chapter 11 Bot Discovery and Installation 191

Bot Directories 191

App Review Process 194

Direct Installation Links 195

QR Codes 196

@Mentions 197

Bot Referrals 198

Closing Thoughts 198

Chapter 12 Engagement Methods 199

First Impression 200

Ongoing Engagement Points 206

Closing Thoughts 208

Chapter 13 Monetization 209

Subscription 210

Ad Serving 212

Data-Analytics and Market Research 213

Selling Goods and Services 214

Referral Fees 215

Brand Promotion 216

When Should You Start Charging Users? 219

Closing Thoughts 219

Chapter 14 Design Process Overview 221

The Steps 221

The Tools 222

Chapter 15 Use Case Definition and Exploration 223

Basic Analysis 225

Solution Exploration 229

Chapter 16 Conversation Scripting 233

Outline of Flows 233

Intent Mapping 240

Entity Mapping 241

Scripting Sample Bot Outputs 241

Chapter 17 Designing and Testing 257

Designing VacationBot for Facebook Messenger with Botsociety 257

Designing PTOBot for Slack with Walkie 266

User Testing 277

Chapter 18 Bot Building Overview 285

Bot Architecture 285

Bot Building Technologies 286

Picking the Right Tool 293

Chapter 19 Analytics and Continuous Improvement 295

How Do Bot Analytics Work? 295

Looking at Logs 297

Insights from Analytics Solutions 298

Continuous Improvement 303

Chapter 20 To Infinity and Beyond-The Future of Bots 307

Future Trends in Bot Platforms 307

Future Trends in Bots 310

Will Bots and AI Eat the World? 314

Bots in Every Part of Our Lives 315

Index 317

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