User onboarding is a delicate process. It is one of the first places where developers get to showcase their skills and demonstrate how well they can serve users’ needs. It’s also where the vast majority of user drop-off occurs.
If a brand, product, or service manages to tell a consistent, compelling story from its very first interaction with a customer, it stands a good chance of keeping that customer. But there are many ways to tell a story, and some offer better results than others.
In the world of user experience (UX) design, conversational user interfaces (UI) have proven to offer a vast improvement over traditional interfaces, especially for mobile applications and technology services. UX.
Some of the most recognizable and successful brands in the mobile app industry have already used conversational UI to improve their UX. By examining their approach, we can learn exactly what makes the conversational element so attractive.
What Is Conversational UI?
Any product, service, or device that relies on conversation as its main tool for interacting with users has a conversational UI. Some apps rely purely on text-based conversational interfaces, while your phone’s Google Assistant uses a voice-based conversational interface. In both cases, it is not the communication medium that makes the interface conversational; it’s the use of natural language.
Examples of conversational UI that many users are already familiar with include:
- Google Assistant
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
All of these brands interact with their users primarily through conversation, using natural language processing (NLP) engines. This is the latest interface technology in a long history of computer-human interaction, from the command-line to Microsoft and Apple’s graphical user interface (GUI) breakthroughs of the early ‘80s.
Today, with the help of on-demand conversational platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Slack, brands can talk to their users naturally. Implementing a conversational interface is simpler than ever, and many brands have already done it with great success.
Examples of Great Conversational Interfaces
Conversational interfaces make it easier for users to obtain the results they’re looking for without having to worry about the question of how. They reduce friction, especially in complex environments and during user onboarding, where user drop-off rates are the highest. Take a look at some of the tech world’s best examples.
Have you ever radically misdiagnosed yourself with a terminal disease by looking up your symptoms on Google? Most people have. MedWhat helps users obtain faster, easier, and more accurate diagnoses using natural language.
MedWhat operates through text-based messaging platforms, following established clinical guidelines for diagnosing patients, based on their responses. The result is a far more streamlined experience than letting users frantically look up symptoms and conditions without any medical expertise.
MedWhat’s conversational interface simplifies a complex subject. It shows developers how to approach gaps in user knowledge; by seeking out the most authoritative information available and synthesizing it into an easy-to-understand format.
2. Google Assistant
Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and all of the tech world’s voice-activated interfaces are inherently conversational. Without the all-important conversational element, these technologies wouldn’t work at all.
Google Assistant is unique in that it functions as a conversational UI on behalf of apps that don’t have their own. This makes it an easy choice for people who want to get things done without looking for different apps they can talk to in order to get results, but it also demonstrates the immediate benefit of implementing your own in-app conversational UI.
There are more than 1 billion devices with voice assistant access today, and more than half of them are smartphones, not smart speakers. Mobile apps designed for use while driving have begun to focus almost exclusively on voice-activated conversational UI in order to reduce the danger of texting while driving.
It makes sense that Slack would offer conversational UI, as it’s an inherently conversational platform. One of the areas where it truly shines is during customer onboarding. Slack teaches its users how to use the app in a natural conversation with one of its own Slack bots.
This eliminates the need for a “tutorial” phase of onboarding. Instead of teaching users how to maneuver the app, Slack makes them feel like they are teaching the app how to respond to their needs.
Slack onboards new users in a way that showcases the app’s strengths while eliminating friction between onboarding and diving in. Developers who use a conversational interface in their own apps are able to accomplish the same feat.
4. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Almost everyone who flies regularly has had an airline-related problem at one point or another. From simple questions about baggage size or forbidden items to complex issues like misprinted boarding passes or last-minute reroutes, there are plenty of things that can go wrong when preparing to fly.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ conversational UI solution is simple, elegant, and powerful. Customers have 24/7 access to their personal airline assistant chatbot who can help navigate nearly any problem they may encounter. This example gives developers insight into how conversational UI can solve users’ problems with greater efficiency than traditional customer support channels.
Invest in Conversational Interfaces for Your Users
The more complex a product or service becomes, the better conversational UI can serve users, with its simple and direct method of interaction. Conversation is the most natural way to arrive at a satisfying conclusion, and it has much to offer today’s developers in the mobile app market.