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Digital devices and humans don’t speak the same language yet.

To make interaction possible, we rely on graphical user interfaces (GUIs). But they come with a pesky barrier: users have to learn how to use them.

They have to learn that a hamburger button opens/closes a menu, or that a scrolling carousel can take them off in a different direction.

But with technology evolving and language processing improving, we are on a path that could make digital interaction more intuitive, accessible and more efficient through conversational interfaces.

The number of apps that rely on conversation to nurture relationships is growing – and fast.

Bots are already helping us book trips, shop online, or even bank. All of these processes can now be powered by a simple chat interface.

Natural not forced

A natural conversational flow is one of the central aspects of this design movement. It’s not enough to build a path that is just functional; it also has to work from a social perspective. Isolated messages and repetition won’t cut the mustard when you’re trying to build a rapport.

In a real conversation, you’d move on to a meatier topic after engaging in small talk. The tone in a conversational interface should be friendly and familiar, with returning visitors welcomed back, and the conversation picking up where it left off.

And if a bot asks questions, the topic needs to switch as a result. The experience should be tailored to the user. A cookie cutter conversation will get you nowhere.

Get animated

As important as the conversation is in a conversational interface, words aren’t always enough.

Without animation, there is no conversation.

Animation adds dynamism to an interface – grabbing the user’s attention and reinforcing a sense of interactivity.

Getting the timing right here is crucial. Delays in response add an uneasy dimension. It’s a bit like feeling anticipation when you see a friend replying in a chat.

A well-considered use of animation will help the user feel like they’re actively engaging in conversation. It’s a clever and inspiring take – proving that conversational interfaces have a place in web design today.

Looking ahead

So, what does the future hold for conversational interfaces?

Let’s be clear: they are very much still in their infancy. There are hurdles to jump, and we need to explore what works and what doesn’t. However, there are no beaten paths, yet. It’s a time for experimentation, a time to tinker with the concept and a time to try something new.

We are Connect – the original web development agency. We have been providing best-in-class design, development and data services to public and private sector clients since 1994.

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