In our last Webinar, we gave you a general overview of chatbot technology. Together, we had a look at the history of chatbots, how they work, and what their pros and cons are. This is the first blog in a series that aims to highlight the different steps required to develop a chatbot.
Today’s topic is essential: prototyping. We will learn why prototyping is relevant to chatbot development, and what tools can be used to model a chatbot.
What is prototyping?
Prototyping is the development of a prototype that serves as a template for an end product. And there doesn’t need to be just one- it is possible to develop several prototypes that model different aspects of the end product.
Prototyping is a way for designers, developers and testers to exchange ideas. The aim here is to gather as much feedback from experts and developers as possible, in order to adjust the prototype accordingly, thus improving it. Prototyping enables the first glance into the potential end product.
Conversational User Interface is an interaction mode between chatbots and users. Several aspects need to be considered when planning to model a user-friendly conversational UI. Here are a few: target group (i.e.: potential users), role and chatbot-type (AI- or rule-based), possible types of dialogues, identity and personality of the chatbot. Chatbot prototyping is an interative process that begins with the design of a simple prototype. The prototype can be improved using the above criteria, as well as feedback from the team and potential users. A final prototype is the goal here.
How can prototyping be automated?
Chatbot prototyping tools allow users to model a chatbot without prior programming knowledge. Here, you can model conversations and user-and bot-turns; take notes on the design; and test said design. In the past couple of years, the number of and functionality of chatbot prototyping tools has risen. Below we listed some of many tools that can be used for such chatbot prototyping:
- Online Editor
- HTML-, MP4-, GIF-Export
- Create text and speech-based prototypes
- Preview for several platforms (WhatsApp, Slack, Alexa, Messenger, etc.)
- Real-time previews for teamwork use
- Fast creation of a prototype
- Easy to use
- No User ID required
However when compared to the above tools, this one does not have a lot of functions.
The bottom line
Careful prototyping is an important prerequisite for successful chatbot development. Good prototypes require process repetitions. With the help of tools that meet the needs of your team, these processes can be automated. Our next blog will shed light on the practical aspect and explain how a chatbot prototype can be modelled using Botsociety.
Image by Alex Knight taken from Unsplash.