Recently I studied IM Bots, but unfortunately every time that I experienced them on a Facebook Messenger I felt unsatisfied. Bots and AI are for sure the personal assistants of the future, but we must wait for their evolution and for our language adaptation (read my posts about Bots: Chatbots are contents, not conversations and Facebook Messenger’s Bots are direct, customizable and automated communication channels, not personal assistants).
Intead of Bots, in these months I used many times a lot of Chat Customer Services on some companies web sites and on Messenger. As all the studies say, communicating with a company through our favourite instant messaging app is smarter than downloading any branded app or using the old-fashioned email. My experience was great and these companies increased loyalty and my admiration.
Using Whatsapp, Messenger, Telgram or WeChat for companies is a great challenge for many technical and communicational factors:
- Technical, because CRMs should access to IM platforms for identifying users and managing the requests trafic.
- Communicational, because some contents should be always and easily available for customers instead of lose in the chat’s flow.
As a Product Manager I focused on the second problem and, starting from a Whatsapp-like layout, I designed the “Featured contents” function. The scope of this function is to enrich the discussion between the customer and the company saving the requested contents in a reserved area of the app.
Watch the “Featured contents” gif animation for understanding how it function in the direct relationship between a Hotel and its customer.
After my first post about Facebook Messenger Bots, I continued my research because I understand the importance of Chatbots and Instant Messaging apps. Following a transcription of the presentation that I published on Slideshare.
The assumptions from where I started my reasearch are:
- Users don’t want conversations. Users want pertinent and timely contents within the app that they use most.
- Chatbots have the reason to exist because users don’t like to download lot of apps and because mobile sites are slow or difficult to navigate.
- Chatbots are a communication channel with an interaction pattern in a sort of way similar to the natural language. They aren’t virtual sales agents.
- Chatbots have the difficult mission to bring together contents and services within messaging apps.
- The best chatbots performances aren’t based on conversations. Interacting with them requires new functions and a standardized command language.
So I can say that Chatbots are an important technology because:
- they represent a way for engaging users within their favorite apps
- they can replace apps and websites for simple and recurrent tasks
- they are the only direct marketing channel comparable with the email
- they revolutionize the smartphone’s push communication marketing
- they are the entrance point for advanced data building programs
- users interest in downloading branded apps is decreasing
- mobile navigation sometimes is frustrating
- users are accustomed in making Google searches in a conversational way
But this importance bring with it some threats:
- chatbots can’t really understand natural language
- chatbots can’t replace the all the other apps functions
- chatbots could decrease the users curiosity and research capacity
- chatbots will struggle for visibility
- chatbots can’t wrong a lot of answers and they can’t ask too much questions
- chatbots must care a lot about language, style, frequency and relevancy of their push contents
- chatbots aren’t a branded channel
Chatbots are the future of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Direct Marketing for the following reasons:
- because they deliver profiled offers and contents, receiving immediate feedbacks
- because they are an effective support for the human-based customer care
- because they will build accurate customers profiles analyzing the interactions and asking for information, ratings etc
Thinking about all these incredible opportunities, I examined the standard instant messaging apps user experience and I realized that Chatbots should have a dedicated set of functions that designed as following.
At this point I tried to go practical matching my Chatbots functions and experience with some generalistic companies.
During the last years I developed a strange professional syndrome.
Everytime I use an object I analyze usability and functions trying to learn or imaging improvements. Today the interaction between humans and machines is powered by all kind of sensors that can interpret imput like natural voice commands, objects movements, touch and hand free, etc.
Today I want to introduce you my concept for an in-ear headphones touch gestures. As you can see in the following gifs, I imagined to turn the headphones cables in a control device dedicated to the four most common commands used during the music listening: volume up, volume down, next song and last song.
For designing the in-ear headphones touch gestures I was inspired by the “traditional” touch pattern gestures and by the emerging smart clothing technology. I admit even that sometimes during my trainings or in a crowded metro I’d appreciated these gestures because I didn’t have how to switch that shitty song that everyone have on its library.
Following the in ear headphones touch gestures concept.
Volume up: thumb + index finger down on the right cable
I work in Digital Communication and I’ve worked on the functional & user experience design of websites, mobile applications, advergames, digital signage systems and info kiosks.
I love cars and motorcycles since when I was a child. I remember very well the “procedure” that my parents had to apply first to start our old Fiat 500, the incredible internal design of the Renault 4 of my neighbour and the unintelligible fashion of the Motobecane Mobyx parked in my garage.
I think that cars and motorcycles are the most impressive demonstration of the humankind power of imagination and adaptation. Imagination because who put together the technology necessary for an “autonomous run” of a 4/2 wheels object for me was an artists, not an engineer. Adaptation because driving a car or a motorcycle is one of the most complex mixture of unnatural gestures that we have on the earth.
That’s the point. That’s the Driving Paradox.
I work in Digital Communication since 2005. I’ve a humanistic university background but instead of specializing in Contents and Social Media, I’ve always studied technical, graphic and design subjects.
After almost 10 years of experiences, today I can setup and manage an ecommerce like Shopping in Italy; I can film videos like these; I can create a site like the Italia Centro di Capoeira one. Read my resume for having a look of my “technical skills”.
From March of this year, I’m frequenting the online courses of the Interaction Design Foundation, becoming at the same time the European Continent Manager, the Italian Country Manager and the Milan Local Leader.
This post question is: Why a Digital Product Manager must be skilled in User Experience Design?
Because Digital Communication is User Experience and because User Experience is Communication.
From the interface, the colours and the images pleasantness, to the functions simplicity. From the contents readability, to the reactivity of the digital products, everything is User Experience.
Lavoro nella comunicazione digitale dal 2005 e nonostante la mia preparazione fortemente umanistica, invece che specializzarmi su contenuti e social media, ho sempre cercato di approfondire tematiche tecniche, di grafica e design.
Dopo quasi 10 anni di esperimenti oggi sono in grado di creare e gestire un ecommerce come Shopping in Italy, girare e montare video come questi, fare un sito come quello dell’Italia Centro di Capoeira e fare una serie di altre cosine che puoi leggere sul mio CV.
Da marzo di quest’anno, a quanto imparato fino ad oggi, ho deciso di aggiungere anche lo User Experience Design frequentando i corsi dell’Interaction Design Foundation di cui gestisco sono diventato anche l’European Continent Managaer, l’Italian Country Manager e il Milan Local Leader.
Ma perché un Digital Product Manager deve saperne di User Experience e Interaction Design?
Perché nel digitale tutto è esperienza utente e tutto è comunicazione.
A partire dalla piacevolezza dell’interfaccia, dei colori e delle immagini, fino alla semplicità di utilizzo delle funzioni, la leggibilità dei contenuti e la velocità di risposta del prodotto digitale, tutto è User Experience.
During the first Interaction Design Foundation Milan Chapter event, the group decided to define the most important interaction design related terms.
I started to approach professionally this field of Digital Communication a few months ago, but I care about User Experience since my first project in 2006.
My definitions are really general, almost philosophical. They are based on my daylife experience and on what I’m learning at Interaction Design Foundation courses.
UX is how users use and feel a digital product.
UI is what users see and use for interacting with a digital product.
IA is how contents and functions are titled and positioned in a digital product’s plain structure.
Usability is a digital product use efficiency rate.
Interaction Design is designing UX and IA and contributing to the UI.
Service Design is everything involves customers beyond the strictly digital product experience.
I hope you enjoy.
If you don’t, I agree with you. This is a User Experience feedback too 😉
March 26th the news agency ANSA launched its new web site (read the article in Italian).
For promoting a discussion on the IDF Milan group, I analyzed the ANSA’s design and I wrote down a UX critical issues list. But first of the list, I want to declare that I never used the ANSA web site and that beyond all the critics, I think that globally they did a good job, except for the point 4.
1) The header buttons are links to different services, function and sites. They are not coherent and not really visible. They seem graphical elements.
2) The search field is not visible and could be confused with the other icons.
3) The “temi caldi” is confusing because it’s positioned in the breadcrumb position.
During the Interaction Design Foundation course, I answered this question:
Please identify an example where a search box has been used in a design and outline the various stages of implementing the search box in this particular instance.
I chose as an example the amazing WordReference translation service. I use it since 2004 and I clearly know the users needs: translate.
In 2001 it didn’t have the search box focus on the home. The multiple search boxes were displayed on the left small column. There was not enough space for long words and users had to scroll the page for certain languages. Moreover the centre of the page was full of contents that were absolutely not useful for the users.
Visit it on the Wayback Machine