All Posts in chatbots

January 17, 2017 - No Comments!

My first chatbot part 1: Getting to know api.ai

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have chosen api.ai because it offers more options other than facebook. There are probably more platform that might offer the same, but since I got a good recommendation I felt no need to look further.

Getting started with api.ai

api.ai offers a getting started guide, well organized rich documentation and a supporting community in the forum.

Following the "Get started in 5 steps" manual, you'll be able create your own chatbot and enjoy testing on the same platform. Personally, I learn much better when following a video rather than a text manual (even when accompanied with and photos). Luckily, api.ai do offer them and they are quite clear. There are even videos of Google developers to help you get started. Highly recommended.

Is there a course online?

Well, searching for one myself I found one on Udemy's website. Take a look at this online course on by Jana Bergant - ChatBots: Messenger ChatBot with API.AI and Node.JS. Currently, this is the only one I found, and I can personally recommend taking this course, since it keeps being updated by Jana, who is also open to improvement suggestions and question and do her best to keep it up to date.

What's next?

My first impression after I overcame the initial confusion was "no way it's that easy". However, I had to create a new chatbot with a topic I find more interesting and face new challenges. I will talk about it in my next post.

January 14, 2017 - No Comments!

5 essential steps to create your first chatbot

Since my journey has begun, I read numerous articles, joined communities and started following individuals, groups and companies on twitter. At this point, I believe it is only just if I shared my experience in hope it will help chatbot fans to start their way. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Join an online chatbot community

Joining a strong community online allows an access to a dynamic knowledge base, articles and support. As a newbie I had so many questions on where to begin and how to start creating my first chatbot. My friends might share some thoughts I have on facebook, but I believe it is essential both as an up to date knowledge base and as support platform in almost every subject or hobby. I can gladly recommend the upgrowing international community of AI chatbots.

2. Always keep up to date

I believe that at least one article about chatbots is published everyday. It is impossible to read them all, past and present articles while finding the balance between reading, learning and creating... oh, and life. Since I adopted uxdesign.cc my main fountain of knowledge, the interesting content helped me built a habit of reading at least 3-4 articles a week. Having contacts that share the same interest is a great way to find more fountains of knowledge. Join groups, attend conferences, meet people, follow key people in the industry using Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and keep reading.

3. Choose a platform to experiment

Knowing I didn't want to constrain myself only to facebook bots, I was in a search for a platform that communicates with broader types of solutions. As a person who insists on not installing facebook messenger on my phone, and believes not to be the only one, it was really important for me. I tried one or two before choosing api.ai. I believe that this in an individual choice, so here are few articles to help you make a decision:

4. Don't be afraid to ask

If there's one thing I believe in, is that one must bring up questions and learn as much as possible from the experience of others. It is as important as experiencing and keep asking throughout the process - even for things that might seem "obvious". Always try to explore further more by also asking "what do you base it on?".

albert-einstein_quote

5. Challenge yourself and have fun

Start by creating a simple bot. You might find it's easier than you thought. Creating a good bot however is more challenging, one that will eventually communicate well with the user, use natural language processing while trying to cover type mistakes and as many cases as possible (after all, your bot will be chatting with humans...).

First things first
Even though my aspiration is creating a bot that is based on research and built upon the milestones of UX design process, I believe that first I should learn the platform and what it offers and experience the process.

Spice it up!
Having created one simple bot, it's time to move on and choose an interest or a hobby as your subject:
- What do you like? Music? Chocolate? Guitars? Traveling?

Now, try to think how creating a bot would make a change:
- Will it save you time? Collect all the relevant information and even surprise you? Engage you with new information? or one that will only choose best fit music for your mood?

For that I'll say:  Have fun, you'll learn better!

In conclusion,

So far, the process towards creating my first chatbot have been enriching and intriguing. In my next posts I will also share my hands-on experiences.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and tips in the comments 🙂

[30 Jan 2017 Update]
You might find this article interesting:
Conversational Design Essentials: Tips For Building A Chatbot

January 9, 2017 - No Comments!

And the winner is…

In 2016, there was an immense creations of chatbots, and the demand for them keeps growing. It is fascinating to see and as well to take part in this world of chatbots. There are so many interesting articles and probably a new one almost everyday it's hard to keep up, especially while trying to dig deeper and to create one.

One article that caught my attention lately is The 8 best chatbots of 2016 by Etienne Mérineau. I found this particular article interesting because he built a list of criteria by which the chatbots were evaluated:

  • Value-oriented concept (insight, usefulness, solving a unique problem)
  • Conversational UX (logic, content, overall experience)
  • Copywriting (personality, tone, manner)
  • Marketing (branding, promotion, discovery funnel)
  • Business model (monetization)
  • Results (number of users, value creation, engagement)

I believe that with this list, new standards have been set and it surely is one to follow.

My bot is better than yours

It seems there's a higher set of values for today's chatbots to be successful and the competition is growing and going to be rough. Of course, there's a more amusing and effortless to test a chatbot...

chickenfight-chatbots

Some find this competition rather amusing and put 2 artificial intelligence to an endless "chicken fight". The last word is a live cast of a rather amusing and strange dialog of two chatbots Estragon and Vladimir two twitch channel. If the live cast is still on, you might find it here. Otherwise, even though it's running only for 2 days now, there are already videos on youtube you might want to watch.

Watch live video from seebotschat on www.twitch.tv

December 12, 2016 - No Comments!

Conversational Interfaces and chatbots – where to start?

According to Khari Johnson, "Facebook Messenger now has 11,000 chatbots for you to try". That was in June 2016. The number of chatbots is growing exponentially, even as we speak there might be a new born chatbot, or a few.

My inspiration to begin this journey is uxchat.me, launched in August 2016 and created by the cooperation of uxdesign.cc and Adrian Zumbrunnen.  It was the first time I've encountered a chatbot that is focused on enriching my knowledge in a subject that really interests me: User Experience, and it really does provide an effortless intriguing experience, which doubles the value to me.

I'm heading towards the bots world! There are already few dominating companies for creating chatbots. Along with you and possibly with a new chatbot that will join us, I start this intriguing journey.

As a starting point, i believe you will enjoy reading the following articles as a starting point:
1. Conversational UX News: Introducing The UX Bear
2. The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Chatbots