Back in 2022, about 88% of customers had at least one conversation with a chatbot. And this number is expected to continue growing in 2023. Company owners have already understood that creating better conversations with chatbots can lead to an improved customer experience. The question is, who will lead the conversation?
Many customers who book vacations or update their payment information with the help of chatbots are unaware that there is a real person behind the chatbot conversation. This person writes the script and orchestrates the dialogue. This person is a Conversation Designer.
This article delves into the emerging role of Conversation Designers – the creative minds responsible for shaping most human conversations with chatbots. Whether you are seeking to hire a Conversation Designer or looking to build a career in this exciting field, understanding the Persona Profile of a Conversation Designer can be helpful.
We took a look at Conversation Designers who work at Amazon, Oracle, Intuit, as well as AI startups to determine who these professionals are, what challenges and goals they share, and what makes them in-demand employees in 2023.
Meet Emma Green, a Conversation Designer who uses content to build relationships and create value
Short Description of the Persona
Emma Green is an experienced Conversation Designer in the voice tech industry with over 8 years of diverse roles at companies like Meta, NLX, and Apple. She specializes in creating conversational interfaces for both large voice assistants and customer self-service applications. Emma is an advocate for Conversational AI, contributing articles and volunteering with a voice podcast. Her goal is to ensure virtual assistants provide efficient and human-like problem-solving experiences. She seeks opportunities to deepen her expertise through courses and certificate programs in linguistics, NLU, and human behavior.
Emma faces the challenge of staying updated on conversational AI and user behavior trends while balancing user needs with business goals. She emphasizes topics like conversation design, UX/UI, accessibility, user-centered and inclusive design, user research, and equitable and accountable AI in her work.
The Rich Background of Conversation Designer
As Conversation Designer is considered a new profession in tech, we attempted to understand what their backgrounds are and what their future career paths may look like.
After analyzing over 30 profiles of Conversation Designers, we understand that the majority of them come from linguistics and UX design. Emma works closely with product teams to plan and deliver User Experiences in an agile development environment and collaborates with client stakeholders, project managers, engineers, and others to guide the UX and design Language Systems of an AI product from conception until launch.
Envisioning the Long-Term Role of Conversation Designers
While it is easy to learn from what background Conversation Designers come from, it is quite challenging to predict specific future roles for Conversation Designers after promotion, as the field of AI and conversational technology is rapidly evolving. The one thing that is clear, these roles will involve more strategic and leadership responsibilities. What future holds for Emma Green?
→ Conversational UX Strategist. This role involves a higher level of strategic planning. Conversational UX strategists focus on understanding user needs, business goals, and emerging conversational technologies to develop long-term strategies for creating meaningful and impactful conversational experiences.
→ Conversational AI Product Manager. This role involves working closely with cross-functional teams, including engineers, designers, and business stakeholders, to define the roadmap for conversational AI products. It includes setting product goals, prioritizing features, and ensuring that the product aligns with user needs and market trends.
→ AI Ethics and Bias Specialist. As conversational AI becomes more prevalent, ensuring ethical and unbiased interactions is crucial. This role involves examining conversations for potential biases, understanding ethical concerns, and implementing guidelines to create fair and inclusive conversational experiences.
→ Innovation Strategist. This role involves staying up-to-date with the latest developments in conversational AI and identifying innovative opportunities to enhance user experiences. Innovation strategists explore new technologies, techniques, and trends that can be incorporated into conversation design strategies.
Collectively, these roles create a vivid picture of a field that is ready to reshape the way we communicate, interact, and connect in the digital age.
During an interview on Inside VOICE & AI, Peter Erickson, CEO of Modev and main organizer of VOICE & AI, asked Emily Banzhaf, Content Designer at Willow Tree, "What are you most excited about regarding the future of Conversation Design?"
Emily gave a brilliant response: "It's exciting to be at the forefront of new technology and to efficiently integrate it into our workflows. Figuring out how to do that effectively allows us to create the best experiences and save time for ourselves."
Conversation designers are at the forefront of a new technology that will continue to evolve in the near future.
Success Formula of Conversation Designers: Books + Events = Constant Learning and Networking
Conversation designers are constantly learning and networking to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices. They often discuss books and attend events to improve their skills and expand their professional networks.
As conversation designers mention the lack of quality materials, and more of them are ready to contribute and share their expertise with others, we expect to see more books published on conversation design in the coming years.
Events such as meetups, conferences, and even livestreams are great resources for networking. They are helping Conversation Designers find new job opportunities, break into the industry, or connect with someone who can guide, support, and inspire them.
Interestingly, Conversation Designers attend more online events than in-person ones, which may be due to the lack of in-person events on the topic of their interest.
Women in Voice Summit remains one of the most mentioned events by analyzed Conversation Designers. You can see other events that were shared by Conversation Designers on LinkedIn on the slide below.
Who to follow?
While looking at influencers of Conversation designers we can state that it’s a mix of classic influencers and public figures, respected professionals and AI business owners, and, again, book authors on Conversation Design. What connects them? Educational content.
Conversation designers respond better to educational content, which is not a surprise taking into account that one of their biggest needs is “to dive deeper into my studies and continue to grow as a designer 📚 I'm looking for any courses, certificate programs, or other resources around linguistics, NLU, or human behavior and how they can tie into conversational ai.”
On the slide below you can see a few LinkedIn influencers in Conversation Design.
Websites, articles, videos, LinkedIn events, and livestreams - Conversation Designers engage with platforms like iai.tv, Uxdesigninstitute.com, bootcamp.uxdesign.cc, Dribbble.com, and conversationdesignerjobs.com. The content covers topics such as general agent design best practices, effective UX leadership, AI product design, understanding conversation designers' roles, the hiring process, and job opportunities. Additionally, they find value in resources like video content and blogs, with notable sources being Chatbots Journal, Chatbots Life, ManyChatbot Blog, and BotCore, which contribute to their understanding of the industry and allow them to practice conversational design.
The last, but probably most important, is the Conversation Designer Community.
Community plays a pivotal role in Conversation Design as it fosters a collaborative environment that cultivates diverse perspectives, insights, and experiences. Women in Voice and Conversation Design Institute are two of the most influential communities in the field. Engaging with a community of fellow Conversation Designers, practitioners, and enthusiasts offers the opportunity to share knowledge, exchange best practices, and receive constructive feedback. This collective engagement leads to the refinement of conversational interfaces, ensuring they cater to a broader range of users and scenarios. Additionally, a thriving community provides a platform for staying up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and technological advancements, enabling designers to continuously evolve and innovate their approaches. Online communities for Conversation Designers are in the stage of development and they are appearing.
Conversation Designers are responsible for crafting conversations between humans and chatbots to create better customer experiences. With improvements in AI technology, chatbots are becoming more reliable and efficient. As a result, we expect that in the near future, people will look forward to interacting with chatbots, confident in the knowledge that they will receive excellent service, thanks to the work of Conversation Designers.
Modev believes that markets are made and thus focuses on bringing together the right ingredients to accelerate market growth. Modev has been instrumental in the growth of mobile applications, cloud, and generative AI and is exploring new markets such as climate tech. Founded in 2008 on the simple belief that human connection is vital in the era of digital transformation, Modev makes markets by bringing together high-profile key decision-makers, partners, and influencers. Today, Modev produces market-leading events such as VOICE & AI and the soon-to-be-released Developers.AI series of hands-on training events. Modev staff, better known as "Modevators," include community building and transformation experts worldwide.