Everyone is talking about them lately. They're buzzing. And rightly so.

But beyond the buzz,  there's a very real reality, and there are problems to solve around how to tangibly improve them. This is where conversational design comes in.

Because the coding behind chatbots, that can be and has been done.

And the customer interacting with the bot, that's generally going to come naturally without much thought.  If someone can break a bot by teaching it to talk dirty or say racist things, hackers will.   On the other hand, if the conversation is intuitive and fun, or informative and on point, then customers will come back again and again to chat with the bot. BBC Earth’s ‘Real Happiness’ bot and Microsoft's Xiaoice get this right.

It all comes down to the proper design: which can take some serious effort and some serious thought. Considerations of culture, tone, content - finding the right mix is essential to success.

Which is one reason I showed up to Digital DUMBO: Chatbots - More Than the Hype last Thursday, May 25th. To learn about what's needed to build and design a proper chatbot.

  • Sami Viitamäki, Executive Director of Digital at HAVAS
  • Megan Berry, Director of Product at
  • Patrick Montague, VP & GM at Betaworks
  • ZZ Twainy, VP at Roko Labs

were all there answering questions in a panel discussion that covered a lot of ground and gave insight into where to start if you're considering using a chatbot for your organization.

We'll cover more of the questions you ought to consider in our next entry.

For now, it's enough to say chatbots will very soon go mainstream. Will you be ready?