Talk Over Text: Conversational Interface Design and Usability

Talk Over Text: Conversational Interface Design and Usability

With the ongoing explosion of conversational interfaces in the form of chatbots and voice assistants, a concomitant revolution is happening in content strategy, design, information architecture, and user experience for conversational experiences.

Conversational content throws several wrenches in the web-based content paradigms that have been essential to our current understanding of content, how to design for it, and how to manage it. Just like the wholesale transformation of content from print to web, we are witnessing a similar transition where marketers are increasingly freeing content from the confines of the website.

But conversational content is inherently different from web-based content and comes with distinct concerns. For instance, conversational content tends toward single, contained utterances rather than the long-form prose found on websites. It is organised differently too, with unidirectional-guided flows favoured over reference-rich links. From a usability and accessibility standpoint, voice assistants and chatbots pave new opportunities but present puzzling obstacles.

In this session, we'll talk about how to handle conversational content, with the help of real case studies in the wild: how to write, model, manage and organize it; how to design conversational interfaces when your tools are aural, not visual; how to perform usability tests on conversational content; and how to ensure your information architecture works for both web and conversational cases. We'll also talk about content reusability when you don't have the luxury to distinguish two separate channels for content.

Here's a sneak peek at what we'll cover:

  • Design: The aural and verbal canvas
  • Information architecture: Decision flows, not navbars
  • Content strategy: Constructing conversational content
  • Content auditing: Preparing for an omnichannel content strategy
  • User experience: Dialogues, not dialogues
  • The curious case of Ask GeorgiaGov

This session is intended for content strategists, digital leaders, editorial teams, marketing organisations, architects, designers, and developers who are interested in delivering conversational experiences and the implications of conversational content on issues of design, content strategy, information architecture, and user experience.


Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT): 11 AM
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 10 AM
New Zealand (NZDT): 1 PM
Singapore (GMT+8), Hong Kong (HKT): 8 AM

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018 AEDT


11:00 AM



Preston So, Acquia

Preston So

Director of Research and Innovation Acquia

Preston So has been a web developer and designer since 2001, a creative professional since 2004, and a Drupal developer since 2007. As Director of Research and Innovation at Acquia, Preston leads Acquia Labs and new open-source and research initiatives. Previously, he managed the Entertainment Weekly website, led its development team at Time Inc., co-founded the Southern Colorado Drupal User Group (est. 2008), and operated an award-winning web and print design studio. Preston has presented at conferences on four continents and in multiple languages about diverse topics such as decoupled Drupal, responsive design, front-end development, and user experience. Most recently, Preston presented the keynotes at DrupalCamp Connecticut 2016 and, in Portuguese, at DrupalCamp Campinas 2016 in Brazil.

"Working at Acquia allows me to contribute back to an open source community I love deeply," he said.