on Chat bots

Chat bots are the new UI. Or at least there is a lot of interest in adding bots to chat apps to deliver services.

On May 19th we’re organising a special Behavior Design meetup regarding this subject. How can a conversational interfaces or bots influence the behavior of the person it’s talking to.

Martine van der Lee from KLM will talk about how they use Facebook Messenger to help clients check-in. Willem-Paul Brinkman from the TUDelft knows everything about conversation strategies and Niels ‘t Hooft a writer, writing for games will share his experience.

In preparation of this meetup I’ve been reading a lot regarding conversational UI’s. Here are some of the stories I think are worth reading or listening to.

What I learned from it.

  • Young people grow up with conversational interfaces. It’s part of what the internet is to them. Figuring out how to serve them in these interfaces is necessary to connect with them.
  • The app store is a terrible place to be in. It’s difficult to be discovered. Adding your services to existing apps sort of creates a meta app store that makes it easier to reach people
  • Chat bots are most often just (html) apps within a conversation. It’s not always about conversational UI, it’s about showing your service or link when someone needs it.

I think it’s a fascinating topic.

If you like it make sure to join our meetup. It’s currently sold out, although there is a small waiting list. Usually some spots open up close to the event.

Update
Check out this story by Esther Crawford building her own bot and writing about the experiences

Behavior Design meetup with Dan Lockton

Recently we organised the Behavior Design meetup. Dan Lockton (UK) presented about Design Intent. He talked about how people give a device, interface or product a meaning. Even if they don’t fully understand what’s going on.

Giving meaning to something helps creating context and gives some sort of control. Not being in control, even if this is by great design, can result in a bad product experience as well. If you don’t trust the input, how can you trust the output.

I really like the view Dan has on design. Instead of seeing design as a something formative that tries to steer behaviour he has a much more adaptive approach where design has to change, add and adapt to existing behaviour.

Book: Good News from the Netherlands, 50 inspiring innovations

The PDMA (Product Development & Management Association) is a global association bringing people together who work in innovation and product development. The Dutch chapter just released a book with 50 most inspiring innovations from the Netherlands.

The @lly case a project we have done with Somehow for Vebego Innovations is featured in the book as one of the 50 cases 🙂

You can order the book “Goed Nieuws uit Nederland” here.

Goed Nieuws uit Nederland Somehow Goed Nieuws uit Nederland Somehow Goed Nieuws uit Nederland Somehow

Design session for ABN AMRO at the Dutch Design Week

I was invited by ABN AMRO to organize a break-out session during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Instead of a talk we decided to make it about design moving from graphics, products and services into the boardroom.

HBR’s september issue about Design Thinking was a nice anchor.

In the session we worked on future strategies for companies.

Designer at work

I invited 4 designers to join me in this session: Bram Donkers, Marcel Jansens, Sascha Wens and Evert Hilhorst

picture by Bram Donkers

Who’s responsible for an evil machine?

Joi Ito posted an interesting remark to the VW story on Facebook. With increased usage of machine learning algorithms. Computer try to optimise results. Results that can be great for operating the machine, although it can have side effects.

There is a thread over email with various people right now about how just auditing the code will not be enough since with machine learning, you don’t actually “program” the rules, but the machine learns them. If a machine optimizes in a way that breaks a rule, is it the programmers fault, and how do you detect it. I think that how and with what data we train AIs is going to be an exceedingly important way to manage things as relatively straight forward as breaking laws all the way to ethics.

The code used during the VW emission check probably didn’t have anything to do with machine learning. It’s a very simple check.

The software was relatively straight-forward: during an emissions test, the wheels of a car spin, but the steering wheel doesn’t. No turning or jostling of the steering column, indicates the car isn’t out on a normal drive and that an emissions test is underway. That activated a defeat device that limited the harmful gas emitted by the car, allowing it to pass the test.

With machines getting smarter running their own optimisation tricks. Who’s to blame when the machine makes a choice that’s probably completely rational for the machine, although against societies values.

Make in this story at Fusion as well.

Microinteractions for iOT with Dan Saffer

This is one of the best presentations about design I have seen in a while. Dan Saffer (ex-Jawbone) talks about microinteractions for connected devices at Solid.

With more connected devices around us, complexity increases making an important case for simple interactions. Making something really simple work in an environment with connected devices is a challenge in itself.

Triggers, Rules, Feedback, Loops and Modes

Microinteractions Trigger Rules Feedback Loops and Modes
Microinteractions Trigger Rules Feedback Loops and Modes

Dan refers to different categories of actions. This model is similar to models promoted in Behavior Design where a trigger combined with motivation leads to an action. Some actions are standalone, others are about changing behavior in the long term and require loops and modes.

I like how Dan talks about these from his extended product experience and knowledge. Specifying manual triggers (visible/invisible) and system triggers.

Watch his talk (video)

Watch the video

Responsive Design mode in Safari

I just discovered the responsive design mode in Safari. This is nice. I think it’s a great tool, even when it’s limited to showing Apple devices.

The past weeks I have talked to multiple companies about how they approach responsive design. Mobile is over 50% for most companies, even approaching 70% numbers. Most websites start from a web view and adapt for mobile. Responsive Design is often, web design optimised for mobile.

This is wrong and we need better design tools to fix this. The Safari responsive design mode is a good start. While we design and build most websites behind a computer, most viewers aren’t viewing this from a computer.

Hiding a div is not how you scale down. We need to think the other way around. How to scale up and thinking about browser memory and mobile bandwith. Mobile first, really means mobile first. Start with the best mobile website you can think of and scale up.

The ad-blocker discussion on mobile browsers linked to this design approach. Loading too many ads and external scripts that make a scaled down page just too heavy to handle for most mobile browsers. Resulting in a bad experience, ads that are too big, content that is out of the first view, sites that crash or never load.

Safari Responsive Design Mode
Safari Responsive Design Mode

Behavior Design in Marketing

On October 6th we’re organising the 11th Behavior Design meetup together with Info.nl. The meetup is part of the Amsterdam eWeek. A week filled with events.

Behavior Design meetup at the Amsterdam eWeek 2015
Behavior Design Amsterdam at Amsterdam eWeek 2015

We have some great speakers. Most of I know personally and really admire. A great line-up.

  • Ingmar de Lange, pushing brands for years by focussing marketing on products and actions instead of words.
  • Ellen van Den Berg head UX of DDB & Tribal Worldwide, she will co-present with Apo J. Bordin.
  • Tom De Bruyne, founder of SUE Amsterdam. Tom is a long time advocate for Behavorial Design in marketing.

There are still a few seats left.

See you October 6th!