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How do I get started?

Conversational interaction differs from GUI interaction as users are not confined to a predefined linear path. They have the freedom to express themselves and can take unexpected turns. Therefore, when designing a conversational experience, you must be prepared for non-linear user interactions.

While it is possible to map out every linear path that user might follow, doing so will the prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, the number of services that you want to expose conversationally are limited. Instead, you need to consider the core of your business, the experience you want to bring to users, and how users can get services through interaction. The key is to think about the specific goals of your conversation and to design it accordingly.

Gathering requirements

First, identify the core of your business. What are the essential services that you offer? What kind of information do your users need to provide? What are the key features that you want to highlight? Gathering requirements is the process of understanding the needs of your customers and stakeholders. It is essential for any business that wants to develop a successful product or service. This is all part of gathering requirements.

Design interaction

Next, define the experience you want to bring to your users. This involves considering how users will interact with your CUI to get the services they need. Do they prefer to be informed, get recommendations, have things confirmed, or have things clarified? You might want to focus on providing users with a way to quickly and easily get the information they need and encouraging them to take action. This is all part of design interaction.

Write key use cases

Now that you have a clear picture of conversation you want to create, it's time to start writing your key use cases. Considering level of effort and timeline when prioritizing use cases. Put your effort where it will have the most impact. This may be scenarios that affect the largest number of users. It could be highly visible use cases/market differentiators. Or it may be a feature that makes a big difference for a handful of loyal power users.

Testing and iterating

As soon as you have some sample use cases, it is important to start testing and iterating on your designs. This is because it can be difficult to identify problems when you are immersed in the design process. An outsider's opinion can be helpful in identifying problems that you may not have noticed. The good news is that you can get insight into whether your design will work for users before writing a single line of code.

Design for the long tail

In the last phase of the process, you will specify the detailed design for your conversational feature. This involves making sure your feature adequately covers the long tail of ways a conversation can deviate from the most common paths. To do this, you will need to add handling for errors and other uncommon scenarios.

Scale your design

Finally, you’ll scale your design to help users wherever they are. Since the OpenCUI platform helps users across channels, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Business Messages, and more, your conversations should too.