Building a chatbot assistant

UX research study on chatbot design and conversational UI aiming to help the teachers connect with the students in a remote teaching set-up as induced by the recent pandemic times.

The TEam

Solo research project

Responsibilities

User research, user experience, conversational UI

TimelinE 

August 2020- October 2020

Project Type

Self-initiated research project

My Role

UX Designer

Responsibilities

UX design, User research, Conversational UI

Year

2021

Project Overview

Problem statement

Due to the pandemic there has been a shift in the education system from traditional classroom learning to online environment. The teachers juggle to manage their daily tasks between work and home. As a result, an assistant solution would help them multi-task on planning their day better around work and life supporting them efficiently.

The aim is to design an interactive personal assistant to help the teachers schedule their classes, connect with students more effectively and help them plan the day better.

The process

I followed a simple design process approach for this study -

Collecting information on the problem

I spoke with a lot of teachers from different age groups. Through these user discussions, I was able to discover some pain points in their daily schedule. Since the pandemic, the education system has changed a lot and is growing remotely. With technological updates everyday, demands from teachers are also increasing recurringly.

Most of the teachers are not very technologically advanced but are expected to be more efficient in their assistance to the students. A lot of them also teach part-time and need help schedule their daily classes & other work, hence having one go-to platform would give added personalisation benefits. They mentioned needing support that would help them navigate through their work day better.

The Process

Goal planning for the assistant

Some basic goals for the assistant based on the discussions with the teachers -

01

Schedule classes and follow-up connects quickly.

02

Help them plan their day more easily leveraging assistant strategies.

03

An assistant who will listen and maintain the bullet tasks during & after the class.

04

Store details of their class work tasks and other daily tasks in one place.

05

Help in quickly answering student doubts during live classes and later.

Personas

To understand the personalities, here is brief summary of user and chatbot persona.

Example interactions

This is to understand the tone of responses based on the chatbot's personality -

01

Attentive
User - Set a timer for 20 mins
Assistant - Okay, I'm starting a timer for 20 minutes

02

Efficient
User - What is the best time to schedule doubt class tomorrow?
Assistant - The best time is between 12pm and 2pm. Should I set it up?

03

Friendly
User - I like you :)
Assistant - Thanks, I'm flatttered.

Use cases for the chatbot

Focussing on some sample use cases. Keeping them simple and to-the point for now:

  • Schedule the 6th class economics class for tomorrow
  • Send a message to the Poetry club coordinator
  • Tell my schedule for the week
  • Reschedule the 7th class assignment task to next week
  • Cancel the evening doubts class today

Brainstorming sample dialogs

Now that personality, tone and sample interactions are sorted I have considered the key use case as scheduling class for the sample conversation dialog between Eliza and the teacher. It would establish how the teacher would achieve her goal and along the way I figured some other scenarios that could come up during the conversation.

High-level conversation flow

Diving a little more into details with a flow diagram. It would help to give an overall view of how the conversation should flow to help the user achieve her goal. This will help to figure out along the way what are other probable scenarios that could come up and how to handle those and redirect the user back to the conversation.

This helped in streamlining the design and development workflow, and acts as a single source of truth for a scalable UI and streamlined UX guidelines.

Symbols used in the flow map -

Flow diagram for the conversation & sample scenarios -

Design deep-dive

Sample chat flow - UI Solution

Once the flow is finalised, I decided to mock how the conversation would look like visually in a mobile app. I refined a few sample dialogs in this design stage & designed few solutions. I came up with a dark theme UI to emphasise the assistant's presence & highlight the conversation.

Conclusion

Business values

According to recent study, 57% of businesses agree that chatbots deliver large returns on investment (RoI). The bots can capture and process customer sentiments from conversations, without explicitly asking, using the sentiment analysis approach. It can help businesses understand whether users are responding positively or negatively and make their bot more user friendly.

Key learnings

As a designer, I believe that in any product there's always a lot of scope to improve the user's experience. After more research, I found some add-on improvements on the existing bot model that could be considered in the future -

  • Adding quick search to the bot.
  • Generate more predictions like suggest class schedule based on teacher's schedule.
  • Capture notes during class could be an advantageous for future references purposes.
  • Enhancing voice commands feature to better user control.
  • Add multi-lingual support to the bot.Identification of task failures to set user expectations for future.