With chatbots, conversational UI’s are maturing day-by-day. The tech industry is all abuzz these days about chatbots. So, what is a chatbot? A Chatbot is an automated computer program that simulates online conversations with people. They are used to perform specific tasks or to answer queries.
Due to an ever-increasing demand for more humanized interactions by consumers, many companies are beginning to realize the importance of chatbots in the conversational UI’s space.
Smartphones and IP-based messaging apps have increased the popularity of conversational UI’s. With the advent of Emojis and stickers, old style text messaging has become more engaging and also it opened new ways of communication. While text messaging is quite easy, it is very restrictive as a UI for advanced tasks like ordering a product on e-commerce portal. This is where hybrid chatbots come into play.
WeChat was one of the first companies to introduce hybrid conversational interfaces. The major advantage of this hybrid UI is that it can seamlessly switch over from conversational to graphical UI. Users can order a product by simply typing the product name and the response is displayed in a graphical interface where they can complete the transaction in a click.
Smart Virtual Assistants
Popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook messenger etc., have entirely changed the way people communicate. Voice recognition and Artificial Intelligence have brought in intelligent virtual assistants to these apps.
Some of the examples of these intelligent virtual assistants are Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortona etc. Apple’s Siri uses voice recognition technology along with simple menu based responses to take hybrid interfaces to the next level. Yet, integrating custom functionality to these intelligent assistants is a challenge right now since platform makers are tightly guarding the extension points of these virtual assistants.
Chatbots are custom extensions to messaging apps and are becoming widely popular among messaging vendors. Chatbots can mimic human conversations using intelligent natural language processing. Due to increasing demand, messaging vendors have started offering open frameworks for custom chatbot development.
Most Chatbots are composed of hybrid UI’s which combines conversational and graphical UI’s. Use of Hybrid UI’s is a big plus for chatbots since it makes conversations more responsive. As of now, there are already more than 30,000 bots on the Facebook messenger platform. Actually, there is even an app store for bots as well. Conversational UI’s have evolved over time and are now making its way into B2C and B2B markets as well.