Conversation design is a process of designing conversational experiences between humans and machines such as chatbots, voice assistants, or smart speakers.
The goal of conversation design is to create conversational interfaces that are intuitive, engaging, and natural for users to communicate with. It is an emerging job that writes scripts for AI assistants to ensure the workflow seems helpful and natural.
The job requires an understanding of UX (user experience) principles, NLP (natural language processing), and AI (artificial intelligence) including machine learning.
For each conversation, you’ll need to understand what the user’s intent is, provide an accurate answer, or ask for clarification. This might involve creating a simple or complicated workflow (think a data flow diagram) and writing some code snippets.
As part of the design process, you’ll need to test the workflows and conversations. After go-live, you’ll need to survey the users for feedback and continuously monitor and improve the chat.
The chatbot needs to be succinct, accurate, and elegantly designed to create a positive user experience. The main goal is to complete the conversation quickly, so it doesn’t frustrate the user.
When the chatbot has misunderstood the user, you’ll need to design a fallback that allows it to try a different workflow. This may include an option to create a ticket or talk to a staff member.
Conversation designer, Hillary Black said, “It’s important that companies realize how necessary conversation designers are to the success of their automated chat or voice experience. You may have heard that many consumers currently have a poor impression of chatbots, and much of that can be attributed to a poor experience.”
“When you simply add a chatbot to your website without strategy or investment in the user experience and customer journey, you are setting yourself up for failure. You wouldn’t launch a website or app without spending time on the design and structure, and the same should be true for a chatbot or voice app,” said Hillary.
“As we see this technology become more popular, there is a rise in the demand for conversation designers to be a part of the early decisions when it comes to adding conversational experiences to your business,” said Hillary.
Conversation Design Skills
A conversational designer needs to have good writing and logical skills. The person will need to understand the user journey and how to improve their experience. An ideal candidate would have excellent native speaking skills. You might have skills in:
- Strong communication skills: Being able to communicate efficiently and effectively is essential in conversation design.
- User-centred design: A deep understanding of user needs, designing for user experiences, and being able to anticipate potential problems with conversational UIs.
- Technology proficiency: Having knowledge of the technologies used for conversational design such as natural language processing, AI, and machine learning.
- Creative thinking: Conversation designers need to develop inventive ways of engaging users in the conversation.
- Development skills: A basic understanding of coding may also be necessary, especially for the more technical aspects of conversational design, such as creating complex dialogues or authoring scripts.
Conversation Designer Hillary Black said, “There are many backgrounds that are well suited for conversation design. From customer support to sales, social media, design, user experience, and linguistics. I’ve seen teachers, screenwriters, comedians, call center reps, translators and speech-language pathologists transition into a role in conversation design. The nature of the role, crafting humanlike conversations, is one that can be learned, and many skill sets adapt well to it. If you have an interest and are willing to learn the new skills you need to succeed on the job, it is an exciting career to pursue.”
“As far as skills go, the top skills needed to become a conversation designer that you may already have are: willingness to learn, user-centric or human-centered design, creativity, writing and research skills. Of course, there are many other industry-specific platforms like Voiceflow or Dialogflow, and technical skills, design tools, etc. that will help you in the field.” Hillary continued.
Since it is a new industry, many designers learn on the job or through online courses or content. Conversation design is without a doubt a fast-growing career path, and with the advancement of conversational AI and technologies like chat GPT within businesses of all sizes, the demand for conversation designers is at an all-time high.” said Hillary.
Myers Briggs Personality Types for Technology Journalists
Sharon Carr, Founder and Senior Consultant, of Career Smart Consulting believes the following Myers Briggs Type personalities are a good fit for technology journalists:
1. ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving): ISTPs are known to have excellent problem-solving skills, making them a great fit for conversational design jobs. They are also detail-oriented, logical, and analytical, making them very good at designing efficient conversational flows.
2. INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging): INTJs are known to be visionary and strategic thinkers, making them a great fit for conversational design jobs where they can utilize their strong intuition to identify the most effective conversational strategies. They are also detail-oriented, analytical, and logical, which helps them in designing conversational flows that are efficient and user-friendly.
3. ENTP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): ENTPs are known to be innovative thinkers, making them a great fit for conversational design jobs where they can develop new and creative conversational flows. They are also quick thinkers, which allows them to make decisions on the fly and react to user needs in real-time.
4. INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging): INFJs are known to be empathetic and insightful, making them a great fit for conversational design jobs where they can use their intuition to identify user needs and create conversational flows that resonate with users. They are also detail-oriented, analytical, and logical, which helps them in designing conversational flows that are efficient and user-friendly.
Conversation Design Training
There are several specialist training courses available to upskill in conversation design. You might like to consider online courses provided by General Assembly, UX Content Collective, LinkedIn Learning, and the Conversation Design Institute.
Look for short courses in Fundamentals of UX Writing, Copywriting, Accessibility, Plain English, Conversation Design for Chatbots, Voice Interaction Design, and more.
The Conversation Design Institute has some specialist courses. These courses include AI Trainer Course, Conversation Design Course, Conversational Copywriter Course, Rasa Certification Course, QBox course, Conversation Design for WhatsApp, Cognigy.AI Foundation Course, Introduction to Conversation Design, Introduction to Conversational AI Ethics, Conversational AI Workflow, and The Voice Course.
Depending on what type of career you’d like to pursue you can take certification exams for AI Trainer, Conversation Designer, and Conversational Copywriter.
Conversation Designer Jobs
Conversation Designer Jobs can be called Technical Writer, Chatbot Writer, Chatbot Designer, CX Designer, AI Writer, Voice user interface (VUI) designer, AI Interaction Designer, Conversational Designer, or Chatbot Researcher.
The roles are often contract and can be remote. Search for jobs on your favourite popular jobs board like Seek or LinkedIn.
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You can find conversation designer jobs at https://www.conversationdesignerjobs.com/
You may need to consider alternative similar jobs like UX writer, AI chatbot developer, web developer, software developer, online content producer, product manager or project officer.