Let’s Talk About Chatbots


We sent our summer intern, Rebecca Shaevitz, to her first MadTech event. She returned with fresh insight on the role Chatbots are beginning to play in the ecosystem… Well worth a five minute read.
– The Industry Index Team

Knowing almost nothing about Chatbots prior to attending “Chatbots: More Than Hype” presented by ROKO Labs, I figured I’d walk away with an understanding of what Chatbots do and how they are relevant in the MadTech space. To be honest, the ins and outs of chatbots are still a bit unclear to me – the Chatbot ecosystem spans many different platforms, user demographics, and designs.

Despite my confusion, I did pick up a few key takeaways:

  1. Chatbots can be implemented into almost any platform. Why is this important?
  • Companies do not have to create an entirely new technology to take advantage of their benefits. A platform that may be struggling with user navigation or the specific operations of a user interface can implement a Chatbot. If done correctly Chatbots can work… almost like magic.
  • Chatbots can be continually updated to stay relevant to users’ needs and interests.
  1. Chatbots can be powerful tools for platforms to engage users, smooth-over confusing steps in technologies, or simply entertain. However, design and function must be highly intentional to ensure intended purposes are achieved.
  • Failures are largely due to language processing issues, outdated designs, inappropriate tone, and poor visual cues.
  • Chatbots without clear intentions (or those which are poorly implemented) may do more harm than good, alienating or confusing users.
  1. User involvement should be viewed as an important aspect in the creation and design process.
  • Users can indicate which Chatbots/Chatbot features will be most useful during the selection and testing processes.
  • Users may spread the word about new Chatbots, providing a first line of promotion for these new technologies.

I’m still unsure of a good deal of the Chatbot ecosystem. Maybe that’s because Chatbots are constantly evolving; maybe it’s because their potential is only just being discovered. I do know that the next time I interact with a Chatbot I’ll have a better understanding of how to assess its efficacy, as well as a greater appreciation for its development and complexity.