Chatbots as new apps for mobile messengers

Chatbots will be one of the next big evolutions of mobile messengers and they are changing the way how users interact with a service. I will give an overview on existing messenger and chatbot platforms and how they differentiate from each other, not only in terms of technical specifications but also in terms of which different UI elements they are providing to enrich the communication within a messenger.

Full abstract

Messengers now have an incredible reach and in 2015 messaging apps have overtaken social networks to become the dominant platforms on mobile phones. Chatbots will be one of the next big evolutions of mobile messengers and they are changing the way how users interact with a service. People are downloading fewer apps, and bots within messengers are quickly becoming a new way to enrich these platforms with context from outside. Messengers like WeChat already showed how to build a truly mobile platform with a pioneering model of 'apps within an app'. Adding a chatbot has a way lower barrier for users, since there’s no need to go to an appstore and download an app, it can just be added as a contact. This is super effective for lower-frequency but important services like managing credit card statements, utility bills or recurring shop orders. For these use cases, chatbots are a perfect fit since adding the bot is extremely lightweight instead of downloading a separate native full-featured apps.

Chatbots unify the UI and the interaction with a service even more than mobile apps do. They have the potential to be easier to use and learnings to be transferred from one to the other. Users do not have to learn the UI from scratch because they are already familiar with the core UI and interaction concepts from chatting with other people.

This talk is an overview on existing messenger and messenger bot platforms, how they differentiate from each other, not only in terms of technical specifications but also in terms of which different UI elements they are providing to enrich the communication within a messenger. Furthermore I will provide best practices and personal experiences for developing and building chatbots from a technical point of view as well as for designing a great user experience within a messaging app.