Episode 13 Santa’s Little Helper –– On Chatbots

Everyone is talking about chatbots lately, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. We’ve looked into this realm since last year, so we think maybe it’s a good time to revisit the topic.

1:00 Why all of a sudden does it become so popular? Facebook, Microsoft and Wechat all have started to become a platform of chatbots. To some extent, they are like the new little “Internet sitting on top of the Internet”. Partially it’s because of mobile as the new form factor and new way to interact.

13:00 The limited screen space seems the main limitation from a designer perspective. But chatbots are not limited to text messages, sending videos, or sending red pockets on wechat can also be considered as bots.

25:00 Still, as there are more and more bots coming up, there remains the question: how do you find out what bots to follow? Bo compared that to the history of website and google, saying it’s going over the same cycle.

34:00 When talking about conversational design, one thing that we haven’t talked about is voice. It’s interesting and seems have a lot more potential in interaction. Another approach in built-in search on mobile is through keyboard, like Slash and Input. Besides sending out silly gifs, people can also search videos or location right in the input area. Though it takes some time to switch between keyboards.

44:00 How about Luka? We’ve noticed Luka since it first launched last year. And we noticed they’ve pivoted a bit lately after another round of investment. It’s still a bit premature at this point. I got lost and not knowing what to do while trying the app.