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Designing Bots, 1st Edition by Amir Shevat

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Chapter 12. Engagement Methods

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.

ALBERT EINSTEIN

ONE OF THE VANITY metrics of the mobile app ecosystem is installs of apps versus uninstalls of the same apps. While this is a suboptimal method of measuring success in the mobile world, mainly because it does not tie in to business objectives or to engagement, this metric is completely useless in the bot ecosystem. Most bots do not get uninstalled; they get abandoned, forgotten... sad.

Dr. Jacob Greenshpan presented a theory in which he compared couples’ relationships and our relationships with mobile apps:

  1. You install the app—not sure if it is the right fit for you.

  2. You love it—it is amazing and it has no faults.

  3. You become proficient with it—you come to learn the good and bad in the app.

  4. You grow tired of it—the faults are growing, or boredom kicks in.

  5. You install another app and fall in love with it.

  6. You uninstall the original app.

While this might be an extreme analogy, it usually generates a lot of nodding when I mention it in lectures. The analogy might even be more accurate when it comes to bots. It is hard to stay emotionally detached from all but the most utilitarian bots, and most people use strong feelings and words when they describe bots.

Dr. Greenshpan had a few tips for a good app–user relationship that can apply to bots:

  1. Create a great first impression—make the other side fall in love.

  2. Keep on adding value—value wears off.

  3. Continue evolving your design—users like to be slightly ...

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