Around 30 years ago, Apple and Microsoft introduced a graphical user interface (GUI) to the world. GUI was a simplicity solution to the problem of complexity. The core concept of GUI is based on the fact that recognition is better than recall. The graphical interface is built around the idea of real-world metaphors.
Over a period of time, graphical interface became popular and every technology and human interaction created a demand for a graphical user interface solution and we created million, billions of interface solutions to solve human computer interaction problems.
But the real problem is - user have always had to adapt to interfaces , system to learn the rules on how to operate with them. Cognitive load, effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction and simplicity always remains challenging aspects for most of these kind of interactions.
“Language is the most powerful, useful, and effective communication technology ever, period.” golden Krishna
When speaking with a friend or a stranger we can easily correct ourselves if we say something confusing or misspeak. The human natural interface is spoken language and it has always been our favorite kind of interface. The closer we get to a natural human interface, the more comfortable we will be solving problems.
What’s a conversational interface?
A conversational interface is a hybrid UI that interacts with users combining chat, voice or any other natural language interface with graphical UI elements like buttons, images, menus, videos, etc. In a simple term, we are moving from us having to learn how to interact with computers to computers learning how to interact with us.
Conversational interfaces can be categorized into two categories: text-based assistants, voice-based assistants.
Text- Based Assistants - Chatbots
This is the one you usually experience when you interact with a chat or messenger functions. Simply you type the word and provide the input. In a way it returns to the simplicity of the command line, in that it is primarily a text-based medium. But it differs in that rather than requiring the user to know exact commands, it offers the ability for the user to interact with a machine using natural language.
Voice interfaces allow us to interact with computers through a voice.Voice assistants such as Google’s assistant and Amazon’s Echo are extensively adapted by many e-commerce sites.
I personally see more potential benefits for text-based assistance because;
- Chatbots interactions feels more natural than app
- We don’t need to learn new skills to interact with an interface
- Chatbots allows personalization to different types of users.
- No need to download a separate mobile app
- No judgmental - we are more comfortable sharing personal information with a chatbot than with real humans.
User experience designers already designing conversational content and conversation commerce based chatbot experience for business. Couple of chatbot experiences like; CNN bot for facebook, Isil Uzum’s concept of shared interfaces, etc. became popular. However, as designers learn more, and as more people begin designing conversational interfaces will become more advanced and more efficient. Soon, the differentiation between UI and CUI may be arbitrary. If the trends of the technology industry are anything to go by, the future of user interfaces is conversational.