What Is Conversational UI?
The idea of conversational User Interface has quickly colonized nearly all corners of Silicon Valley over the past year. Therefore, it is a good time to talk about Conversational UIs.
A conversational interface is any UI (User Interface) that mimics chatting with a real human.
The main idea here is that instead of communicating with a computer on its inhuman or programming terms–by clicking on icons and entering syntax-specific commands–you can interact with it on yours, by just telling it what to do.
What Are Some Examples Of Conversational Interfaces?
On the voice assistant front, almost every major tech company in the mobile space has its own by this point. Google has OK Google; Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Amazon has Echo, and so on. All of these tools allow you to do things like do a Wikipedia search, play music, set a timer, call someone, and more; just by speaking. There are even more chatbot examples, though. Facebook has M, a human-assisted chatbot that lives within Messenger and can do anything for you from booking a dinner reservation to buying you a car.
Slack’s Slackbot is another excellent example: It is a chatbot that imitates a real user in any Slack team and is used for everything from on-boarding new users to working as a notepad. There are various other chatbots for Slack, too, including Howdy, which is a Slackbot, one of the BOTs for enterprise, that does everything from scheduling meetings to taking lunch orders for your office.
Why Are Conversational Interfaces Important?
Conversational interfaces’ dream is that they will, at last, allow humans to talk to computers in a way that puts the onus on the software and not the user, to find a way to get things done. That is not only the way things should be; this breakthrough has the potential to change the way we use computers going forward.
Although the concept is old and has been around for a while, it has suddenly become popular. Because technology has finally become good enough to make them practical, over the last few years, advances in voice processing have made it easier than ever before for computers to understand natural language, while the rise of smartphones has put an Internet-connected microphone in every pocket. Meanwhile, AI projects like Google’s Knowledge Graph and Wolfram Alpha have made computers better than ever at understanding more than just syntax, but what we mean.
Why Are Companies So Interested In Conversational Interfaces?
There are several reasons why companies are very much interested in conversational interfaces, one being, conversational interfaces are truly cross-platform. They work well everywhere, including smartphones, smartwatches, desktops, and even devices without screens, such as the Amazon Echo.
They can integrate with services like Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, or run just in a text message window. As Google, Amazon, and Apple have all shown; you can make conversational interfaces better with time without pushing out regular updates. These interfaces also mean that every single function in a service or an app does not need to be buried in a menu, or represented by an icon.
But the biggest reason all are excited about conversational interfaces is that they have the potential to eliminate the underlying friction that makes it hard for every person to get things done on a computer.