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Updated by crawfordcopy on Nov 29, 2017
Headline for 5 Critical Considerations in Chatbot Design
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5 Critical Considerations in Chatbot Design

When chatbots fail, it's the designer that's at fault. These 5 considerations will help you avoid common chatbot errors while ensuring an optimized user experience.

1

Avoiding Dead Ends

In every chatbot, users are navigating their way through paths. To make this smooth and prevent early exits, it's highly important to avoid serving them content that does not contain actionable next steps. Even if you serve a link designed to take users outside of the chatbot you should still include some sort of suggested responses that will be there when they return. Otherwise, they'll hit a dead end, and be off to the next thing with little consideration of returning to your chatbot.

2

Breadth of Capabilities

It's tempting to try and make your chatbot do everything. Unfortunately, very few designers are capable of successfully doing so.

When you set out to build a chatbot, you should first set out what its core tasks will be. Designing before doing this will lead to a sloppy, unfocused product. It's much better for your chatbot to do one thing extremely well than a bunch of things decently.

3

Content Size

When you're designing a node or interaction, think about how it will appear on a users screen. Oftentimes, chatbots will send out an image, a block of text, and a link all in one message. Due to the limited size of mobile screens (where chatbots most frequently exist), it's difficult to fit all that content on the screen at one time. As a result, some of it pushed off the top of the screen, causing users to have to scroll up to view it (a poor user experience) or miss it entirely (affecting your chatbots performance). Keep your content brief, and within one screen for optimal results.

4

Explaining Critical Features

Chatbots tend to have commands users can enter to access specific areas of that chatbot. For example, "Menu" to access a central menu, or "Restart" to go back to the start of the chatbot. To avoid confusion, these commands should be brought to the user's attention before they get too deep into the chatbot.

Luckily, some major messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger allow persistent menus. These allow users to tap a menu and pull up commands regardless of where they are in the conversation. Chatbot development platforms like SnatchBot allow you to create this type of chatbot experience quickly, and effectively.

5

Allowing for Human Interaction

Ideally, a user would never have to interact with a human once they begin dealing with a chatbot. However, those days are likely still a few years out.

Recognizing this, chatbots belonging to brands tend to benefit from including an option to reach an actual human.