10 things to fix in your conversational app UX right now

You’ll want to take a deep dive to make sure you’re avoiding these problematic characteristics.

If your conversational app…

1 — Uses a “welcome to” greeting.

This leads to…your customer wondering why they are being welcomed to a somewhere instead of invited to an interaction about something interesting, useful, or fun.

So you should…tailor the opening of your voice app to the context of the content and use. From a simple “hi, there” to a foreshadowing “let’s start your adventure”, the first words set the tone. You can be welcoming in many ways.

2 — Says lengthy prompts listing multiple options and instructions.

This leads to…your customer imagining they are meeting someone new who explains to them all the topics they do and don’t want to talk about. They are tempted to go away quickly.

So you should…get them right into the action with as little guidance as possible. They want to interact, not get firehosed with things they won’t remember anyway.

3 — Is filled with concepts that rely on recall, not spontaneous recognition.

This leads to…frustration and confusion for your customer who now needs to remember information and actions that they thought the app would take care of. They are evolutionarily allergic to being forced to learn and remember information they can’t see a need for.

So you should…make your app do the heavy lifting. Make sure that there is no other way to get information or take action before asking them.

4 — Offers a UI that demands the satisfaction of system requirements before giving any sense of progress and benefit.

This leads to…your customer feeling unable to confidently predict what will happen and that their time isn’t going to be wasted.

So you should…align your app flow with customer expectations—which means you need to go discover them. When your app has to ask for input, make sure that it makes sense with the task at hand and following interactions.

5 — Uses words that make sense to the business, but are foreign to general contexts.

This leads to…your customer worrying that the words they aren’t sure about might cause them to miss important information or make a poor decision.

So you should…use plain language that makes sense to a wide range of people. Make your app communicate with clarity, brevity, and just-in-time information.

6 — Gives rigid and system-centric paths to get things done, instead of accommodating the variety of ways that humans think and communicate.

This leads to…your customer suspecting that you didn’t think of their needs when deciding how this would work.

So you should…remember that few people care about how the invisible parts of systems works. They want to trust what they are acting on and experiencing. There is almost always more than one way to do something. Pick one of the most human ones.

7 — Doesn’t allow rich inputs during interaction.

This leads to…your customer feeling like there isn’t actually a conversation happening. If natural responses aren’t accepted then it seems like only one side is in control and it’s not them.

So you should…build so customers can talk the way they talk. Get rid of artificial restrictions and handle a range of responses that might be used.

8 — Uses stilted grammar and unnatural phrasing.

This leads to…your customer, most likely a human, wishing they were interacting with an actual person instead of your app.

So you should…craft and use phrases and sentences that would be comfortably spoken and easily comprehended. Focus on varied and nuanced expressions of intent and meaning.

9 — Mimics your website or mobile app instead of offering an additive or complementary set of features and functions.

This leads to…your customer thinking that they might as well use what they already know. They want a different offering to be new and better.

So you should…explore what voice apps are and can be good for that is new and better. Explore what people want in them that they aren’t getting somewhere else, either easily or even at all.

10 — Makes nothing noticeably faster, easier, or more enjoyable.

This leads to…your customer feeling like their time is being wasted, they’re using more energy than they feel is necessary, and they’re not being respected.

So you should…do everything you can to create the opposite of those feelings.

Get on it and good luck!

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