Have you ever wondered what the world’s first website looked like? Who created it and when? Well, the world’s first website was launched by Sir Tim Berners Lee in the year 1991. It was a simple webpage having some texts and hyperlinks. You can have a look at it by clicking on this link.
From that modest beginning back in 1991, we have come forward 27 years where some extraordinary transformations have taken place in the world of web design. Whether, it is the launch of the first browser in 1996 by Microsoft, or the introduction of CSS and Flash (both in 1996) and in the recent years, the need of responsive design, all played their role in the evolution of web design.
Now, we are moving into the future of web design and conversational interfaces will be the key that will power up modern mobile first websites.
What is conversation UI?
Conversation interface has been rightly referred to as the “UI of the future.” Global leaders like Google, Amazon and Apple are already developing smart websites that will handle customer queries using conversational interfaces.
In fact, a few years back Google developed a chatbot that could debate the meaning of life with users – its developers didn’t build it through code but used a machine-learning algorithm to study existing conversations – namely movie conversations to teach it to respond to queries from users contemplating the deeper meaning of life.
Conversation interfaces are platforms that have the power to mimic a conversation with a real human. This means, users can interact with a machine in the same language as though they are communicating with a human. This happens with the help of Natural Language Processing which allows the computers to understand, analyze and create meaning from the words entered or spoken by the user.
The evolution of UI that started with a keyboard a when command level language like DOS was used to enter commands that could easily be understood by a computer. We have since transitioned from basic input devices that were used to enter data to more robust platform that do not require data entry but through voice, gesture etc. based inputs can cater to user commands. Now, with the introduction of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo, computers are able to easily understand the language of a user, be it a simple demand like Siri tell me what the temperature is outside to more complex requests like Google can you book me an appointment at a women’s hair salon.
After seeing what the world has in store for modern websites, you can forget about buttons because the era of colorful buttons is coming to an end. Instead, conversational interfaces like chatbots and voice assistants will power up the websites of the future.
But don’t take my word for it. Here are some modern day brands that have used Chatbots to dramatically increase their productivity:
- Popular ride hailing service Lyft lets you book rides through tools like Slack by typing /lyft home.
- Sephora a well-known personal care brand lets you engage with its bot VIA platforms like KIK to get product information, watch tutorials etc.
- 1-800 Flowers. A famous floral and gourmet food business has a very conversational website that runs you through floral arrangement scenarios so you can choose your preferred order.
The point here is that a lot of popular brands have been experimenting with the concept of a conversational website for quite some time now, and with online serviceability on the rise, brands are expected to build omni-digital experiences.
More and more brands are seeing bot powered websites, apps etc.as not just tricky pieces of tech, but as essential customer management assets that can help them drive down costs and boost online traffic.
How to build a conversational website
A conversational website is a simple website that uses a chatbot (either voice or text) to interact with users. The key lies in creating a website that literally talks with the visitor. Stick to the basic rules of designing a website and then add an interactive function to it. He or she should feel like they are interacting with an actual human and not a bot.
Adding a chatbot to your existing site is all you need to convert your boring website into a site of the future. A chatbot can be of two types namely text chatbot and voice chatbot. Let’s learn about these.
- Text -based chatbot – A text chatbot collects data in the form of text, processes them and returns the result in the form of text. You can create a text chatbot using a language called Python. Here is an interactive guide to writing bots in Python.
- Voice-based chatbot – A voice chatbot collects data in the form of voice, process them and returns the result in the form of voice. You can create a voice enabled Android chatbot using this tutorial.
If you don’t want to bang your head into codes then there is an easier option for you. You can easily create chatbots with the help of chatbot builders.
Amazon Lex is the top solution for building conversational interfaces for your website. It uses the same technology as Alexa that enables you to quickly and easily build sophisticated, natural language, chatbots.
Apart from Amazon Lex, there are other builders like Collect.chat that can assist you in building a customized chatbot for your business. With a powerful algorithm at the backend, the chatbot can interact with the visitors, understand their requirements and suggest the best products or services to them.
Why conversational interfaces are better
Conversational interfaces are always better as compared to traditional interfaces because they help to reduce the friction in communication and people can easily communicate in the language they are most comfortable leading to better user experiences and increased sales.
- It has been estimated that around 83% of shoppers need assistance during online shopping. Hence, having a chatbot assists them in choosing the best product in the shortest possible time.
- A chatbot can handle multiple requests at a time so the waiting time is reduced to NIL. Hence, businesses can scale up their operations leading to improved revenue.
- A conversational interface helps to generate better leads and also helps in lead nurturing.
- A chatbot adds a personalized experience for every user leading to improved customer satisfaction. This leads to better ROI and increased word-of-mouth referrals.
- Customers are able to make easy payments using the same platform that generates significant revenue to your business.
- A chatbot never sleeps so you can expect customer interaction to happen 24×7. This helps to improve brand value and increased customer retention.
Why conversational interfaces are the future
Conversational interfaces are surging in popularity and there is no coming back. Websites of the future will have simple interfaces powered by voice assistants and chatbots. Businesses that are able to build websites that provide customers with better experiences, having them to type or say less and get instant yet accurate recommendations are bound to win.