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Designing Bots, 1st Edition by Amir Shevat

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Chapter 20. To Infinity and Beyond—The Future of Bots

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

NIELS BOHR

WE LIVE IN A super-dynamic software industry. Each technology revolution happens faster than the previous one, and each one brings new ideas, experiences, and opportunities to us all. In this chapter we will cover a few of the likely future trends in the bot industry and explore some of the upcoming opportunities and challenges.

Bot platforms such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and others are constantly evolving. Similar to Android and iOS, each platform is taking a slightly different approach and thus providing a different feature set. They are all following the same general trends, however, which impact design in one way or another.

More Interactivity

The chat platforms realize that plain text limits bots to very specific use cases and limits users’ ability to enter information in an easy and intuitive way. In a conversation I had with a lead engineer at Facebook, he stated it this way:

The user can say the color of paint they would like to buy, but picking it from a color picker would probably be much easier.

There are two approaches to interactivity that we are going to see expanding in the near future:

Inline controls

A growing set of controls, such as drop-downs, checkboxes, date pickers, and so on, are going to be presented inline in the conversation, just like the buttons, carousels, and Quick Replies we have seen in this book. ...

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