Live from Confab: Crafting Conversations

Crafting Conversations, by Karen Kesler and Jonathan Foster

Confab 2018 logoWriting is a form of design. Well crafted products benefit everyone:

  • Simpler products are easier to understand and use
  • People buy simpler products
  • Business goals are achieved by people buying the products

Content takes Many Forms

Narrative writers in addition to the UI messaging and UX writing. We need narratives to craft the overarching plan. Voice, tone, and personality need to be created. Actual copy needs to be written.

Bots have personality. They talk, you have relationships with them. To quote Clifford Nass, “they make you feel good or bad.”

Listening is human. Written interaction like texting also feels human. Giving robots background stories (even very simple ones) feels human. We like to imbue objects with personality.

Why develop a personality? Because people believe it’s already there.

How to Develop an AI Personality

AI is not intended to be a substitute for human interaction. But it needs a “north star” – a top principle. For Cortana, that is “Cortana is always positive.” You want people to walk away feeling good.

Personality increases engagement.

  • Sometimes personality is “fun”
  • Sometimes personality is just about quality voice, and getting out of the way

Your typical UX writers may not be the right people for an AI personality. It could require something more.

Tips for crafting conversations:

  1. Embrace the emotional context
  2. Define the voice and personality with empathy
  3. Create a team with the right skills
  4. Craft the conversations
  5. Listen, learn, and adapt
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