Evaluating and Informing the Design of Chatbots

Mohit Jain, Pratyush Kumar, Ramachandra Kota, Shwetak Patel
Four high-level themes: functionality, conversational intelligence, personality, and interface.


Text messaging-based conversational agents (CAs), popularly called chatbots, received significant attention in the last two years. However, chatbots are still in their nascent stage: They have a low penetration rate as 84% of the Internet users have not used a chatbot yet. Hence, understanding the usage patterns of first-time users can potentially inform and guide the design of future chatbots. In this paper, we report the findings of a study with 16 first-time chatbot users interacting with eight chatbots over multiple sessions on the Facebook Messenger platform. Analysis of chat logs and user interviews revealed that users preferred chatbots that provided either a 'human-like' natural language conversation ability, or an engaging experience that exploited the benefits of the familiar turn-based messaging interface. We conclude with implications to evolve the design of chatbots, such as: clarify chatbot capabilities, sustain conversation context, handle dialog failures, and end conversations gracefully.