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Designing Bots, 1st Edition by Amir Shevat

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Chapter 5. Bot Anatomy

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

HAL, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

BOTS ARE SOFTWARE-POWERED USERS that live inside our chat apps—we converse and interact with bots using text, buttons, voice, and other rich controls. When it comes to bots, software meets humans on our playing field; they adhere to the way humans communicate and try to adjust to our way of thinking. The key is not to teach the user how to fill in a form, or to take them to the right page, but rather to recognize the user’s intent (what does the user wish to do?) and to guide them in accomplishing that intent.

To quote my designer friend Dana Cohen Baron, “At last! Machines speaking like humans, instead of humans having to adjust to the machine’s way of communicating.”

The conversational interface is sometimes referred to as a transparent user experience because it is a service exposed through simple text, and that is true in some circumstances. But in this chapter you will learn that there are a lot of components that compose a bot, as well as many things to consider when designing one.

Key takeaway

When it comes to bots, software meets humans on our playing field; they adhere to the way humans communicate and try to adjust to our way of thinking.

Breaking Down Bots

As mentioned, like with most technologies and user interfaces, there are several components we will need to design, aspects we will need to consider, and decisions ...

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