5 Principles and 6 Tips for an Awesome Conversational App UI Design

If you are not hiding in a cave shunned from the tech interfaces, it is very unlikely that you have not come across terms like ‘interactive’ or ‘conversational’. A UI design based upon the automated conversation is the new hip trend in UI ad UX design for mobile apps and web interfaces. All your queries and to-do things are listened and addressed by a chatbot in real time. Sounds strange or tricky? Wait, if you think these chatbots just do the job of blabbering out some recorded sentences only to add to your boredom, you are terribly wrong. To your amazement, chatbot just as we human do asks questions and replies to each user in a personalized manner. So, in conversational interfaces, personality is the new normal.


Artificial personalities of chatbots are opening a whole new vista of UX opportunities for app developers. It is the new in-thing to address users individually and know their needs and expectations and cater to them accordingly. But conversational UI design is not an easy task; it requires having a solid grip over several interactive elements. Let us introduce all the effective design tips for conversational UI in one place.

Make the basics perfect

There are some design elements in a conversational UI that inspire users to engage in communication with more enthusiasm and share more information. Make sure that the following conversational UI elements have been focused on your design.

Multiple options: First of all, when asking questions to get the information you need just do not ask open-ended questions that can lead to a negative outcome. You can also give hints for the kind of answer you are expecting.  A short list of probable answers is another way to derive answers you need.

One question at a time: Remember, in conversation most of the time we remember the last points and if numbers of questions are asked at one go, the user is likely to concentrate on one. So, avoid asking several questions at a time and rather stick to one each time. Secondly, before asking the next question, always ensure you have got the right answer and state it once again to make the understanding clear. In the case of wrong answers, you need to explain again and provide hints of the expected answer.

Be tolerant: Be patient and tolerant with your users as they are more like customers in a store. Even if their answers are wrong you cannot do anything but explain how it is misunderstood and what answer you expect from them.

Consider the discontinued time: A conversational chat on an app can be discontinued for the time being and get timed out just because the user had to leave for some other purpose. Next time the user returns to the chat box he might have forgotten the earlier conversation. Your app chatbot should be aware of this discontinued time and accordingly start the conversation again.

Forcing for a crucial reply: Some answers are mission-critical for your app to allow the user proceed to the next step. You need a reply of your open-ended questions as whether they are ‘interested or not’, or whether they would agree to participate with a ‘yes’ or show disagreement with a ‘cancel’. For forcing such an open-ended reply you can using a popped-out modal window works well.

 Awesome conversational UI design tips: What does a conversation refer to at the bottom? What a conversation is basically made of? Certainly, these are questions and replies that a conversation is primarily made of. So, the UI should be designed to help your app to drive a conversation towards the expected answers. The better it is done, the more effective it becomes to engage users and cater their needs. Here are 6 guiding tips for designing an awesome conversational UI.

  1. Focus on user reactions

A conversation from the perspective of the UI design is a step by step process to get to the expected answer. From the perspective of the app user, the conversation must have something that relates to their interest and need. So, the first screen initiated by your app chatbot should begin with the specific user need. Begin with trying to have an answer of what they need. Once you know what they need you can go deeper in the query.

  1. Offer text in a talkative tone

A conversation is a dialogue and so, it should be heard and felt like a talk. A dialogue or talk quickly lets the audience participate. On the other hand, a prose like the text is looked upon with a detachment and indifference. So, when writing a copy for the conversational UI always maintain that tone of dialogue, as if you are talking to the person sitting next.

  1. Give visual hints

Sometimes explaining a product, technical aspects, and objective differences become too complex and lengthy with text. Instead, using visual hints like graphics or images you can instantly explain the point without least ado. Infographics will help to put statistics more in the context and images will help to depict products, explaining features and differences. With GPS enabled maps you can easily let users share address without using any text.

  1. Add emotion with Emojis

What emojis are made for? They are used for expressing emotional response without using text. So, in a conversation, they are somewhat like seeing facial expressions of a person you are talking to. It is this humane element that makes emojis so irreplaceable in any digital conversation. Naturally, your app chatbot also cannot do away with them.

  1. Make it informal

Dialogues are always informal in nature and we always open ourselves more in them without any concern. Informal tone of the chat with the use of localized English and expressions you can always make users more engaged and drive the conversation better to your expected outcome.

  1. Test and iterate

Finally, it is time to evaluate the conversational UI design. By testing the effectiveness of the UI across different user scenarios you can know where it needs to be fine-tuned. By only testing repeatedly and iterating you make the chatbot deliver audience insights you have designed it for.


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