Conversational UX Design CHI 2017 Workshop - Workshop Plan

Pre-Workshop Plans

Prior to the workshop, participants are asked to write a 2-4 page position paper, which outlines their views of the workshop topics and the reasons they are interested in the area of Conversational UX Design. In addition, they should set up a platform of their choice for building conversation flows. If they do not already prefer one, participants may use the IBM Watson Conversation Service for free: Setting up some conversation environment before the workshop will save valuable time during the workshop

Workshop Structure & Topics

The workshop will consist of 3 parts: short talks, build session and design principles & guidelines.

1) Short Talks
Participants will give short talks or lead discussions on the following workshop topics or related topics:

  • Usability of conversational interfaces – What works well in conversational interfaces (e.g., Siri, Alexa, Cortana) from a user perspective? What works poorly? What are the existing design principles and best practices?
  • Design and creation of conversational interfaces – How do you design and build conversation flows? How do the main parts of a conversation flow (e.g., intents/actions, entities, conditions, context variables, system responses, etc.) work? What makes this hard?
  • Design of natural human conversation – How are naturally occurring human conversations structured? How do speakers design particular turns-at-talk? What are the fundamental structures of human conversation and social action?
  • Voice or Text? – When should you use voice vs. text? What are the trade-offs in using each? What are the technical challenges with automatic speech recognition, and how can they be addressed? 
  • Conversational UX & Other Interfaces – How do you incorporate chat with other interface paradigms (i.e., conventional GUIs, AR/VR)? How can designers envision conversation working in tandem with existing platforms?
  • Overview of platforms – What platforms are currently available for building conversational interfaces? What features are standard across them? What are the advantages of some over others?
  • Capturing User Feedback – How do designers learn from initial releases of conversational interfaces? What data and techniques should designers leverage when iterating? What are the best performance metrics?
  • Conversation Design Notation – How can conversational UX designers represent their designs at a level of abstraction? How can they share designs amongst themselves and across platforms? What might a notation system for representing conversation flows look like?

If you have another topic that is closely related to the usability or design of conversational interfaces, feel free to propose it.

Note: the use of empirical data/transcripts of actual conversations, human-computer or human-human alike, as well as conversational demos, is highly encouraged. Thinking at the level of sequences of turns-at-talk/text will greatly benefit the participants in the next section of the workshop.

2) Build session
After discussing challenges in conversation design, participants will break out into groups of 3-5 to build components of conversation flows. Participants may use their preferred platform. The organizers can also provide guidance in using the free IBM Watson Conversation Service. Builds should attempt novel solutions to common problems in conversation design, such as,system fails to match any input, system matches input with low confidence, user lacks key information, user fails to understand output, user does out-of-scope or off-domain action, user abandons a request or the app entirely, etc. Participants are strongly encouraged to seek solutions in the designs of the utterances themselves rather than in non-verbal, visual resources. Groups will then reconvene and share their problem and solution(s) with the rest of the workshop participants.

3) Design Principles & Guidelines
As the last task in the workshop, we will reflect on what we heard and did throughout the day and create a first draft of a set of design principles and guidelines for the burgeoning discipline of Conversational UX Design.

Post-Workshop Plans

After the workshop, the design principles and guidelines generated during the workshop will be refined and developed into a guide for conversational UX designers.



Important Dates

Position Paper Deadline (Early Acceptance): December 21, 2016.

Position Paper Deadline (Standard): January 20, 2017.

Position Paper Revision Deadline: February 24, 2017.

Workshop: May 6, 2017.



Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO.