Brent Biglin

Conversational Design Guidelines

As a contractor at a multinational computer technology company, I created a Conversational Design Guidelines document, the purpose of which is to be a resource for current and future design and development of conversational interfaces. Then I designed and created a conversational interface prototype, a virtual assistant, in order to validate and clarify those design guidelines through usability testing.

The design language for this type of interface is human language
An icon representing language with Roman and Chinese characters

Voice and conversational interfaces are increasingly becoming a significant part of our everyday interactions with technology. It is important for designers to follow brand guidelines and design principles that are informed by a number of disciplines, including but not limited to interaction design, content strategy, visual design, and linguistics. Rather than trying to teach the user the right way to speak or write, a conversational interface accommodates users and allows them to express their commands and queries in the way that is most natural to them.

I gave participants a series of tasks to complete with the prototype, changing the interface’s responses and actions to empirically measure how participants perceived it. With this data, I was able to prioritize and highlight particular guidelines based on their efficacy to provide a model for future designers and developers at the organization.