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UX writing for chat bots and assistants

May 4, 2017 2:23 pm
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During an over email work discussion with a colleague, I was asked what my thoughts are on the following links

Are UX writers the next big thing?

Building Chatbots: Everything you need to know

I encourage you to read those links. But in a nutshell my thoughts are:

Are “UX Writers” the next big thing?

The author of the first article asked, noting that much CRO can be done with copy only (this is true) and that often lines of copy from wires often end up in built projects (sadly, also true). The big Silicon Valley guys are hiring UX writers, so should you? To which I said:

Well, they’re right. So much CRO can be done with just copy changes. But you need to have someone who understands the psychology of the audience at that point of a journey. Which is a world away from how copy writers *tend* to write for web and even further away from traditional campaign fodder. Like they say, so much tends to get lost. My small lines of copy that I stick in wires often stays through to go live and that should not happen!

Then when you start talking about the AI space… Feels like TOV will become incredibly important as your Assistant’s will all need to come across as having their own unique personality. But so will ensuring that the message doesn’t get lost in excess copywriter “fluff” or over-optimisation. Similarly, an query which pulls and answer from a schema needs to be able to parse the important part and not give me 400 lines when I needed one. A copy writer with a UX focus would be someone that had awareness about these issues and wrote accordingly, but will you need to really clever to not trip over on the returned data as well as the Assistants returned response.

Building Chatbots: Everything you need to know

Then I looked at this link and thought “oh that’s an interesting idea. With users logged into Facebook you could potentially build a profile that allows you to deliver the correct personality based on that users Insights”. TOV becomes a case of writing for profiles so a younger audience gets a different TOV to a grandparent and if there is no data available you fall back to a default brand TOV.

The really nice trick would be if you could add in smatterings of personality in specific places of a message. So a default brand TOV response could have insertion points for audience specific language/terms:

  • “Hi the weather is going to be 20 degrees today” – default TOV
  • “Man, it’s going to be hot, 20 degrees today. Don’t forget sunscreen” – younger audience TOV
  • “Good afternoon, the forecast suggests it will be 20 degrees today” – older audience TOV

From that your insertion points could be:

  • the greeting message (hi, man, good afternoon)
  • The blank between the greeting and the data value (the weather is, it’s going to be hot, the forecast suggests)
  • Post data value (don’t forget sunscreen)

Pulling together something like this that works for everything sounds mind bogglingly complex though! You’ll probably want some sort of UX writer!

This joint was penned by @elmarko