Conversational components Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Acknowledge the user’s contributions to the conversation. Acknowledgements assure users that their input was received.

Guidelines Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Acknowledgements are words and phrases like “Okay,” “Sure,” “Alright,” “Thanks,” and “Got it.” Use them to acknowledge acceptance, confirmation, refusal, disconfirmation, correction, and before changing the subject. This reassures the user that they’ve been heard and that your persona is keeping track of the conversation. It also helps the dialog feel fluid and natural.

Avoid overuse by adding randomization and by skipping some acknowledgements in dialogs. The experience will quickly become monotonous and robotic if your persona starts every utterance with “Okay”. For example, after your persona has completed a task, it’s appropriate to randomize among synonyms like “Done,” “Got it,” “Alright,” “There,” “You got it,” and “Sure.”

Note that acknowledgements are not discourse markers, because acknowledgements (1) can stand by themselves, and (2) don’t provide insight into how what follows relates to what came before.

Usage Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Acknowledge acceptance.

Without it, your persona seems hasty or even rude.

Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). User input: Save them for later. Spoken prompt: Ok, should I add them to your wishlist or create a new list? New turn. User input: Create a new list. Spoken prompt: And what should I call it? New turn. User input: Gift ideas for Brody. Spoken prompt: Got it. Your list is saved. Anything else I can help you with?

Do.

Words like “Great” or “Got it” acknowledge that your persona heard and saved the list title.

Acknowledge to confirm.

As above, acknowledgements enhance the fluidity of the dialog and attentiveness of your persona.

Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: What’s the zip code? New turn. User input: 94043. Spoken prompt: Got it. Mountain View, California. And what’s the street address?

Do.

Acknowledge the user’s input before confirming the location.

Persona: Miso flowers (fake flower shop). Spoken prompt: What’s the zip code? New turn. User input: 94043. Spoken prompt: Mountain View, California. And what’s the street address?

Don’t.

Lack of acknowledgement can make the dialog feel abrupt.

Acknowledge refusal.

“Okay, then” is particularly suited to this scenario.

Persona: Ibento (fake ticket-seller). Spoken prompt: To get you tickets faster next time, I can sign you up as an Ibento member. Want to do that? New turn. User input: No. Spoken prompt: Okay then. Hope you enjoy the game. Goodbye.

Do.

Acknowledge the user’s refusal before changing the subject with a simple “Okay”, “Okay then”, or “No problem”.

Persona: Ibento (fake ticket-seller). Spoken prompt: To get you tickets faster next time, I can sign you up as an Ibento member. Want to do that? New turn. User input: No. Spoken prompt: Sure. Hope you enjoy the game. Goodbye.

Don’t.

Avoid acknowledgements that imply acceptance, like “Sure” or “Got it”, when the user has refused an offer.