Conversation Design: Why it will thrive in 2020 and beyond?

August 11, 2020
Athar Majeed

You must be excited to know what conversation design is.

Here is a plain definition of conversational design sourced from by Google:

“Conversation design is a design language based on human conversation (similar to how material design is a design language based on pen and paper). The more an interface leverages human conversation, the fewer users have to be taught how to use it. It’s a synthesis of several design disciplines, including voice user interface design, interaction design, visual design, motion design, audio design, and UX writing.”

Honestly speaking, this plain definition is not enough for all to understand what exactly conversational design is.



The conversation is defined as a sort of interactive communication taking place between two or more individuals.

Apart from being verbal, the conversation can be carried out through text messages or passing notes. Such forms of conversation facilitate the exchange of ideas and news.

One of the basic functionality of conversation is turn-taking to speak one at a time. It is done to minimize overlap, reduce silence between turns, and keep track of who said what in previous turns.

Cues like sentence structure, eye gaze, and body language help other people know that it’s their turn to speak.

This way, the cues or indication can be both verbal and nonverbal.

These cues work when you interact with people but might not help when you’re interacting with a human or digital agent.

And the whole concept of conversation design is based on this nuance. A conversation design aims to make machines should understand how to respond and where to pause.

Conversation Design to Make Machine Talk Like Humans

The point of the above given example is that conversation should be “free-flowing” and simple between a machine and a man as it is between two individuals.

For example, voice assistance responds to your command. When you order it to turn AC on, it does so. But this is too short and “one-way communication”, thus, can’t be called dialogue. You said one thing and the software reacted to it.

There should be a model to interact with these machines on more complex topics. This means that the user is not just giving a command, but communicating in several turns with the software, which also interacts in natural language. This communication can be in written or spoken form.

This is where conversation design comes in.

Conversational Design is aimed to develop a humanized language for machines, to make “conversational” more engaging and natural. The process includes understanding the context of the client’s business in creating the content.

Nowadays, the interaction between a man and the machine (software) is becoming more humane and natural. If a user asks a machine to turn off a fan, a machine can respond by saying how long a fan to be kept off. Facilitating such kind of complex dialogue between a user and software is what conversation design is all about.

By this point, you have understood what conversation design is. It improves the interaction between human and machine by supporting complex conversation.

The example that is close to the functionality of conversation design is a chatbot, virtual assistants, and IVR. Good conversation design lead to meaningful interactions with the users.

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Understanding the Principles of a Conversation Design

Conversation design, whether for chatbots or virtual assistance, is comprised of many factors, including conversational norms, the context of use, interface design, and dialog structure. And these important elements can be achieved by working over the factors given below:


The definition of persona goes beyond voice. It is something that engages with the users and stands for the brand value of your business. To make the most out of it, the persona should be delivered by a professional voice actor.

Rhythm and Sound:

Does the persona sound natural and engaging? Are they clear and easy to understand? Simply put, does the interaction sound like a conversation with a human being?


Interacting with humans is often co-operative, with both individuals collaborating to ensure a clear understanding. If the tool doesn’t understand what is being said by a caller, does it move things forward in a simple, easy way—or does the IVR just keep on saying the same things before discharging them.


Whether it’s a chatbot or an automation device, a conversation design should meet the requirements of a user. They can be given command for making a reservation; resetting passwords; or ordering pizza. A potent conversation design lets both users and your tools achieve the goal in one go.

The Growth of Conversation Design in 2020

Conversation design is gaining momentum in the world of digital design.

The computers have become sophisticated, so too has their ability to communicate in a natural language. Thanks to the rise of smart tools or programs like chatbots and home assistance devices.

Starting from chatbots, it is a kind of robotic software being able to imitate human conversation through text chats or voice commands such as Siri or Alexa. They are designed to provide automated, smart responses to questions asked by online customers, and are used to provide information about products or services, customer support, and forwards customers to the relevant human rep.

Chatbots are becoming popular for both B2B and B2C brands that want to ensure a better customer experience.

According to one study by Gartner, 25% of customer service and support operations will imply virtual customer assistant or chatbot technology by 2020. The same report also concludes that it will reduce the call or email inquiries by 70%.

The ever increasing adaption of chatbots shows that conversational design is going to be a game-changer in 2020 and beyond.

Like chatbots, digital assistants are also leveraging conversational design to be more useful, whether it’s Siri or Amazon Alexa. They are seriously incorporated with their products while also ensuring flexibility to make them work with other products as well. From setting alarms for you, and telling game scores to booking movie tickets, they meet your varying requirements on your command.

The immense growth of chatbots and digital assistants will set new conversational trends in the future. With an improved conversational technique, these products can perform better. A tremendous amount of websites and apps will need chatbots and digital assistance, accelerating the use of conversational design.

Bottom Line:

The concept of conversational design is about taking inspiration from human conversation to prepare interactions with digital systems. Simply put, it is the art of making machines learn how to communicate like a human being.

Leveraging the principles of what makes human interactions engaging; it’s possible to create natural dialogues with machines.

However, the codes of conversational design can go beyond voice assistants and chatbots—UI, web design and even print design can be more engaging and interactive.

Conversation design, whether for chatbots, virtual assistants, or IVR, depends not just on an understanding of conversational nuances, but on a detailed understanding of the context of users, emotional engagement, interface design and dialogue structure.

Therefore, it requires various skill sets, including UX design, psychology, audio design, copywriting, and linguistics. All of these elements are put together to create natural conversations aiming for great user experience.

What do you think? Let us know by commenting below!


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