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UI/UX, User Interface Design

Conversational User Interface(CUI): Challenges, Solutions & Benefits

Posted by Ravi Talajiya on 20 Feb, 2024

Quick Summary: Gone are the days of calling customer service for your favorite product and waiting endless hours in the queue. These days people want quick and accurate answers. Welcome to the world of conversational UI. Google Assistant is an excellent example of a conversation UI that we use in our day to day lives. Speaking to a conversational UI is like talking to a real person. You give it simple commands to conduct a simple Google search for a product/person and it will do it for you.

However, we need to understand that technology is constantly evolving and people expect more. With little patience and higher expectations, companies are trying to improve their products to gain people’s favor. Research states that over 45% of organizations use chatbots for marketing. Furthermore, 74% of customers report having used conversational assistants to buy products or get more information about them online.

Conversational UI is the future and you can’t deny it. These chatbots have numerous pros but they come with their fair share of cons too. What are these pros, cons, and challenges? Keep reading to find out.

TheFinch Design is your go-to design partner with vetted expertise in providing quality-driven design results irrespective of project size and type. Connect with us today and let us help you visualize your ideas into attractive products.

What is a conversational interface (CUI)?

A conversational UI is an NLP-enabled (natural language processing) solution that mimics the conversational style of a human. It talks and reacts like us (it tries). Popular examples of conversational UI include Siri, Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Bixby, IBO Watson Assistant, Mitsuku, and others.

These conversational UIs can make things easier for you in all walks of life. Be it relaxing at home or sitting in a car, you can put them to good use. For example, you can ask a conversational UI to dim the lights, play music, or even pay your electricity bills. Answer calls, get accurate directions, and control your car functions with commands.

Also, you can enjoy a more intuitive and immersive user experience with these tools. Although the technology is still evolving, conversational UI solutions understand your context based on its understanding and give you a response.

How Your Business Can Benefit from Conversational UI

Organizations can experience several benefits by using a conversational UI. Since people have been using them for quite some time, they take them for granted. However, chatbots have come a long way from the days of AOL, Cleverbot, and Siri to Microsoft Bing AI in 2024. The following are some noteworthy benefits of conversational UIs.

Quicker response time

Companies can ensure quick and accurate customer support via customer support chatbots. Customers can type text or speech to get assistance. They don’t have to wait in long queues or settle for unsatisfactory responses.

Ease of use

Using a conversational UI is not a rocket since. People use it often because it's convenient and easily accessible. These factors contribute to its increased use and popularity.

Beyond convenience

Conversational UIs are beyond convenience. They are a boon for people with disabilities like the visually impaired or the mute. Such people can use conversational AI tools to set reminders, schedule appointments, search for information online, and get mental health support if required.

Tailored experiences

Conversational User Interface (CUI) gathers valuable data from past interactions, and user experiences, and allows users to set their preferences. Moreover, the NLP-based processing system and machine learning algorithms focus more on the context and intent than the words to deliver a more personalized experience.

24/7/365 availability

Unlike businesses, these CUIs don’t have work hours. Companies and users can use them at any time of the day and get answers/solutions to their queries.

Huge cost savings

Instead of hiring customer service workers in multiple shifts, chatbots can interact with customers and answer their queries. Your employees can focus on other productive tasks. Simultaneously, the prompt responses boost your reputation.

Challenges & Solutions of Developing a Conversational UI

The above section focused on the benefits of a conversational UI. Below are some challenges of developing a conversational UI for business.

Challenge of Building Conversational User Interface

Inability to handle complex queries/tasks

Most chatbots can only handle simple questions. They may not be efficient enough to answer specific queries or perform complex, multi-step tasks. Customers may lose their temper and leave negative reviews due to these responses.

Machine-like responses

Sometimes, CUIs may not understand human emotions like anger, sarcasm, or sadness and provide responses that may not suit customer requirements.

Data privacy concerns

CUIs rely heavily on human interactions and data to deliver responses. Customer data may fall into the wrong hands and lead to potential misuse by hackers and cyber criminals.

Not for technically challenged people

Lack of technical knowledge or accessibility to CUI tools may hinder companies and people from tapping into their true potential.

Job losses

The increasing automation of tasks and responses may take away people’s jobs. Top-notch chatbots have an 80 to 90 percent response rate, delivering a seamless response rate compared to a customer service representative. CUI efficiency may spell doom for customer service executives.

Algorithmic bias

From initial human interactions to ML learning over time, CUIs may develop a bias. If left unaddressed, these CUIs could deliver misleading or unsatisfactory responses that could anger/disappoint customers.

Tips for Solving Challenges in Conversational UI

Every problem has a solution. Deploying CUIs for your business may have some cons but you can counter them with the right strategies. Don’t restrict yourself to the technical aspects. Adopt a holistic perspective and you can address the challenges of developing a CUI for your business.

Purpose of the CUI

Ask yourself WHY are you developing the chatbot. How will it help customers? How is it different from other chatbots? Understand the problems that customers face and develop your CUI accordingly.

User-friendly design

Understand customer needs, expectations, and pain points to develop a robust CUI. Whether it's your website or app, the design should appeal to the customers and encourage them to use your CUI.

Business-specific

Develop CUIs that can perform repetitive and industry-specific tasks relevant to your business. In this way, customers can get accurate responses that meet their requirements.

Perfect the CUI

Over time your CUI will learn from customer questions and data sets, but it is crucial that you collaborate with industry experts to improve their functionality. In this way, the CUIs will better understand the jargon, regulations, and processes involved in specific tasks. Also, it makes sense to leverage multi-modal transactions and employ advanced dialogue management.

Address data privacy

Observe transparency in data collection, and usage and ensure adequate control over privacy settings. Implement robust security breaches to deal with online and cyberattacks while ensuring adequate compliance with regulatory bodies.

Prevent bias

Conduct regular audits and check for biases in CUI responses and algorithms. People from all backgrounds must be able to access your CUI solution.

Agile approach

Don’t try to do anything fancy. Start with a product that meets customer needs and improve it constantly using user data and feedback.

Training and Education

Foster an atmosphere of constant learning at your workplace to perfect the CUI. Also, provide your customers with learning material and guides to get the most out of your CUI offering. Ensure that customers with questions, grievances, or feedback can contact you easily with a support feature.

Types of Conversational Interfaces

There are two types of conversational interfaces;

  • Chatbot
  • Voice Assistants

Chatbots: Chatbots are very much in the news nowadays. Many companies are using Chatbots to answer queries from clients. However, it is also available in two different variants: AI-driven and rule based. While AI driven Chatbots are powered by NLP and machine learning the rule based Chatbots are powered by rules outlined by the owner.

Use Cases of Conversational UI

You can take many examples and learn how the conversational UI works. Let’s take a couple of examples we have explored for you.

Siri: SIRI is the most used AI powered conversational user interface, offering excellent support through communication. Just ask Hey Siri and get the work done, professionally. It can write/send messages, and emails, set reminders, call your contacts, and even help with most of your to-do tasks.

Google Assistant: Google Assistant is similar to SIRI only different it works with Android devices. And, provide almost the same services.

Open AI ChatGPT: ChatGPT is the latest sensation and the finest example of conversational user interfaces. It’s not the only AI-powered tool, there are some other ones in the market as well. For example, Gemini is the latest competitor of ChatGPT, but the latter allows people to have interactive conversations and get their queries solved.

Conversational UI Best Practices

Creating outstanding design for digital products requires you to have outlined design guidelines and the best practices in place. To create a compelling conversational UI design, you need to follow the conversational interface's best practices. It’s something that helps create your magic and allows your users to have natural and frictionless interfaces. When we talk about best practices, you need to keep the three pillars of conversational design:

  • Cooperative principle
  • Turn-taking
  • Context

Cooperative principle: The premise for the conversational UI you design must cooperate with each participant.

Turn-taking: It should not be one sided as most conversational chatbots keep sending messages without letting the respondent reply.

Context: Context relates to people’s physical and emotional behavior. It will help people feel comfortable.

The Future of Conversational Interfaces

Nobody knows what the future holds. However, seeing the drastic leaps in technology, it is safe to assume that conversational AI will play a crucial role in the future. CUIs will evolve emotionally and embrace human-like qualities like empathy to address diverse needs. Also, companies must design CUIs to collect and intrigue customer data from multiple channels to deliver a more optimized and personalized experience.

In the future, we may see multiple bots being roped in to accomplish complex tasks. Voice-based solutions will be more dominant and companies will have to develop solutions that exceed customer expectations. Moreover, the functionality of chatbots in the future must transcend beyond text and voice interactions. Adopting AR, haptics, and focusing on result-oriented interactions will pave the way for a new AI multiverse.

Last but not least, CUIs will become more contextually aware to deliver accurate and bespoke customer responses. The future of CUIs will also witness a seamless and unified omni channel user experience where customers don’t have to provide their information repeatedly. With better data training, and increased ML and NLP integration, the potential of CUIs is limitless.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have discussed everything about Conversational interfaces and we hope you will find it helpful when you design your digital product. At TheFinch Design, we work tirelessly to deliver the result oriented and user centric designs, irrespective of types, sizes, and industries. We offer design consulting and deliver the best UI design that serves your future perspective. Let’s connect.

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