Conversation design process Is conversation the right fit?

Is conversation the right fit?

Conversation design is a powerful approach, but it's not right for every Action. For example, dialog works well for the task of finding a restaurant's business hours, but it feels clunky for browsing a dinner menu. Before you decide to use conversation design, evaluate whether it will supercharge your Action, making it more intuitive and efficient for users.

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Conversation can add value to your Action through its speed, simplicity, and ubiquity.

Daniel Padgett, on finding the right voice interactions for your app at Google I/O 2017


Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of developing a voice strategy for your brand.

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Review the following statements to determine whether conversation design is the right strategy for your feature. If you're checking off most of them, it's likely that dialog is a good fit.

Check to see whether each statement is true about your feature

Benefits of Conversation

Users already have human-to-human conversations about this task or topic.
The interaction is brief, with minimal back-and-forth dialog.

Conversation is intuitive. It lets users say what they want to get what they want.

Users would have to tap multiple times to complete the task with a screen.
Users might have to navigate multiple apps or widgets to complete the task with a screen.
The feature is cumbersome or difficult to find.

Conversation saves the user more time and effort than a screen-based UI. Conversation can be the ultimate shortcut. It reduces friction by quickly getting the user what they want.

Users can do this task while multitasking.
Users can do this task when their hands or eyes are busy.

Conversation lets users multitask. It helps them when they're busy, especially in situations when their hands or eyes are occupied, or when they’re on the move.

Users feel comfortable talking or typing about this topic.

Conversation lets users speak freely. Spoken conversations are best in private spaces or familiar shared spaces. Written conversations are best for personal devices.

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Now, let’s walk through these statements for two related, but different, use cases.

Use case #1: "How much are flights to Zurich?"

In this use case, conversation is better because it is intuitive to use, saves the user time and effort, allows the user to multitask, and is likely to be done in an environment where the user can speak freely.

Users already have human-to-human conversations about this task or topic.

Users already have a mental model for talking to a travel agent about flight costs.

The interaction is brief, with minimal back-and-forth dialog.

Users are already familiar with the necessary information (origin, destination, dates, airlines, etc.) and can provide these top-of-mind in a few turns.

Users would have to tap multiple times to complete the task with a screen.

Users would have to 1) unlock their phone to 2) access a search app, widget or browser and 3) type in all the details about origin, destination, dates, etc., 4) browse results.

Users would not have to navigate multiple apps or widgets to complete the task with a screen.

Users could perform this task at a single flight aggregator website or app.

The feature is not cumbersome or difficult to find.

Users could start with a simple Google search. It’s unlikely they’d need to work hard to find an app or website to get started.

Users can do this task while multitasking.

The user's full attention is NOT required.

Users can do this task when their hands or eyes are busy.

Users could complete this task eyes-free or hands-free.

Users feel comfortable talking or typing about this topic.

Flight costs are not sensitive personal information. It’s likely that the user is coordinating travel with family members, friends, or coworkers, so it’s probably not an issue if someone overhears the conversation.

Use case #2: "Purchase tickets for my family to visit Zurich"

In this use case, conversation isn't better. Even though it checks some of the boxes, conversation isn't more intuitive to use, doesn't save the user time and effort, and doesn't allow the user to multitask.

Users don’t usually have human-to-human conversations about this task or topic.

Users typically write or type personal information required for purchasing a flight.

The interaction is not brief with minimal back-and-forth dialog.

The user must provide several different types of information that may not all be readily accessible, like passport or other identification, payment details, and more.

Users would have to tap multiple times to complete the task with a screen.

Users would have to 1) unlock their phone to 2) access a search app, widget or browser and 3) type in all the details about origin, destination, dates, etc., 4) browse results, 5) choose a flight, 6) enter personal information, 7) enter payment information, 8) complete the transaction.

Users might have to navigate multiple apps or widgets to complete the task with a screen.

Users would have to use the specific airline’s website to book, and they may use an aggregator to compare options.

The feature is not difficult or cumbersome to find.

Users could start with a simple Google search or just go to the website for their preferred airline. It’s unlikely they’d need to work hard to find an app or website to get started.

Users cannot do this task while multitasking.

The user's full attention is required.

Users cannot do this task when their hands or eyes are busy.

The user will probably need to locate necessary information (e.g., passport, credit card) and type it in.

Users do not feel comfortable talking or typing about this topic.

The user is entering private information such as their legal name, birth date, passport or other identification, credit card, etc.