Chatbots and AI are becoming prevalent in digital experiences. While chatbots provide a sophisticated interface to communicate with users, they might not always be appropriate in situations where a client needs concise information and data from a transcript. Conducting research on Github, I came across a conversational form interface and tasked myself to create a video pitch submission experience that would allow users to pitch story ideas to a media company. In this experience, users are allowed to submit their story ideas using the conversational form, or a conversational “chatbot”-type messenger interface where conversation is guided. Essentially, this is a traditional form guised as a conversational interface. Responses will then be sent to the client in the form of scannable data. The experience would be responsive; however, it would be ideal for mobile device users. Users will also have the ability to switch from the “chat” view to the “form” view if they prefer to submit their information in a traditional sense.
First, I ran a quick competitive analysis to assess how other media organizations ask users for story idea submissions. I found that the majority of media sites have unsophisticated pages informing readers to email their idea. The approach lacks empathy and is not inviting. An email link or form lacks personality and does not show that the organization wants to hear from readers.
Speaking with a few users, I found that the majority of the group was either familiar with or open to a chatbot experience. Most of these users had interacted with chatbots on company sites or even via Facebook messenger.
After sketching some screens, I began to write out a script for the chatbot responses. I knew that I couldn’t let the user have an endless conversation with a chatbot. A long chat transcript would most likely infuriate the client’s team who would have to read and quickly scan responses. Thus, the idea of a conversational form came to mind, which would allow users to feel like they were having a conversation with the organization while they are actually having a guided conversation. The chat experience could also be switched over to a traditional form experience if the user did not want to chat with the “chatbot.” I sketched out my concepts, worked quickly in Sketch to bring up the fidelity and I created an InVision prototype, so that I could demonstrate interaction and behavior. If I had more time, I would be interested in building my prototype in Proto.io so that I could have testers input and interact with the “chatbot.”