Essential Reading Series (Week 23/2016): Exploring the Conversational UI meme for the future of the digital workplace

This week’s “Essential Reading Digest” is dedicated to “new kid on the block” in the discussion about the “future of work”. It’s about the “conversational interface” idea as new UX pattern for the digital workplace. This was a hot topic at the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT in Paris – especially the lightening talk of Siegfried Lautenbacher was well perceived on this topic. In my follow-up work (as well in the preparation to the upcoming London edition of Enterprise Digital SUMMIT and the German IOM SUMMIT) I did some more Google searching on the topic and found some more interesting resources that I want to share with you:

  • Clint Boulton: How messaging bots will change workplace productivity – In this article (from February) the CIO editor Clint Boulton explores the new exciting hype of the new conversational ux approach for collaboration and getting things done. It ends with a quote of IDC analysts: “IDC analysts David Schubmehl and Vanessa Thompson agree, writing in a research note that such assistive collaboration and productivity tools will become “ubiquitous over the next five years, and will fuel a massive reengineering of the workplace, making it more responsive, agile and able to facilitate data-driven decision making in all areas of businesses.””
  • Metis Strategy: Conversational Experiences: The Next Frontier in Consumer Experience – This article also is already a little bit older and dated from Dec last year – but it provides a very nice image on the “Conversational Interface Landscape”:
  • Kory Becker: An Overview of Conversational UI – In this artcle from April 2016 the author Kory Becker, software developer and architect, explores the interaction patterns of the Conversational UI. At the end he draws his personal evaluations: “Another potential use for conversational UI is when the series of tasks to be performed are numerous, exist within a crowded UI, or require time-intensive configuration. Complicated action scenarios might typically require the user to select several different UI elements and move between different screens to complete an action. Provided the services are API accessible, a conversational UI may offer an easier solution. With a single sentence, a bot may infer many of the required configuration pieces and complete the action. If additional details are needed, a bot can prompt the user through a hierarchy of questions, guiding them to the desired result.” The pitfalls he sees in the following: “It’s important while designing any type of bot or conversational UI, to keep the user’s best interests in mind. Avoid intruding on the user’s work. A bot should only be activated upon explicit request, and when doing so, it should remain unintrusive and possibly even out-of-sight. When keeping this in mind, the conversational UI can become a powerful addition to a user’s computing needs.”
  • Martin Bryant: Chatbots and chat interfaces: Fad or the next big thing in tech? – This article discusses the AI and chatbot trends in a broader sense – while asking whether this trend is a fad or the future. His answer is: “Not everything will suit a chatbot or a conversational UI. As interesting as Quartz’s iOS app is, I find it a chore to use – a list of headlines is far more efficient when I want to know what’s happening in the world. That’s not to say there isn’t massive potential in ‘having a conversation with the news’ – show me version two or three of the app and I might have changed my mind.”
  • Siegfried Lautenbacher: Are Enterprise Messaging Platforms à la Slack the Future Collaboration Platforms? – The published slides of Siegfried Lautenbacher from his lightening talk at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT:
  • Mikael Cho: Original message I sent to our team about why we should try Slack – Notes on a field test of the team at Crew.co about changing from HipChat to Slack – with very nice recommendations on what to add and enhance in Slack to make sense of it.

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