While there are a lot more tools and platforms around today to create conversation designs on, it can take some time to figure out which works best for you. Of course, designers aren’t always able to pick what tool will be used on a project, but it’s that bit easier to pick up how new platforms work, once you’ve familiarized yourself with one that suits you.
To help you in your quest for the tool that best fits your way of working, we’ve asked the conversation designers that are behind some of the best bots out there what their tried and tested go-tos are.
Namely, we want to thank for their contributions:
Marlinda Galapon (Zendesk), Amber Prause (Gordon Food Service), Peter Isaacs (Voiceflow), Olivera Bay, Emily Banzhaf (WillowTree), Manisha Laroia (IBM), Oluwabusayo Adeniyi (Reliance Health), Lisa Precht (IBM), Christy Torres (Store No.8/Walmart), Wouter Sligter, Iulia Lipatov (Zendesk).
Let’s see what their recommendations are.
The best tools for Conversation Design
Conversational AI is a recent technology and the field of conversation design has only relatively recently started to structure itself. While, in the early days, designers would need to find their way to make existing tools work for them, today there are dedicated platforms that have been developed to suit the specific needs of this role.
From our conversations with the experts, it emerged that designers rely on at least 3 categories of tools in their day to day:
- Conversation Design-specific tools, which are usually low-code platforms allowing to create prototypes and easily communicate the designs to developers
- Conversation Design-supporting tools, which they rely on for brainstorming, collaborating and documenting their ideas and processes
- NLU & Implementation tools, needed to bring their designs to life
Conversation Design-specific tools
With Conversation Design-specific tools we mean all platforms that were developed with conversation designers in mind. These are the tools that usually feel the most natural and easy to use in the process of crafting a design and communicating it to others.
Some designers like to brainstorm first and jot down ideas elsewhere and then move into one of these, but some might even directly jump into one of these prototype-friendly tools.
The Conversation Design-specific tool that most of the experts have vouched for and that we ourselves have always relied on is Voiceflow, which allows teams to collaborate on flow designs for chatbots and voice assistants alike.
Designers like how easy Voiceflow makes it for everyone to pick up where others have left off and to share a testable prototype with customers or other teams. The platform is extremely intuitive and it supports a variety of channels, whilst also offering excellent customer support.
You can also trust the team at Voiceflow to be always innovating and bettering their product, as their advancements in the integration of LLM capabilities have proven.
Conversation Design-supporting tools
There are different reasons why our experts choose to rely also on these conversation design-supporting tools. Some are used for brainstorming with their team, others to communicate with other teams or with the client.
Depending on team structure and project you’re working on, any of the following might come in handy:
- Lucidchart, to map out flows and figure out what paths still need to be built. What designers like: it allows you to visualize complex tools and add new flows, when needed.
- Miro, Figma, Visio, Whimsical, Draw.io, to collaborate with others, brainstorm, and work on bot persona canvases. What designers like: allows for lots of people to access it at once, see what everyone’s working on, visualize different options, and it’s very flexible.
- Excel or Google Sheets, which some use to translate their designs for collaborators who aren’t fluent in flowcharts, while others rely on for its spreadsheet intense-math powers. What designers like: makes it clear where everything fits in a big architecture.
- Google Doc, to write down initial ideas for conversations and to keep track of the documentation. What designers like: everyone knows how to use it and it’s easy to share.
- Pen & paper or whiteboards, to start off more playful. What designers like: it allows you to get the whole team on board and move things around.
- 30-minute meetings, to ask questions, communicate with developers and ultimately push the needle forward. What designers like: they don’t take too long, but they can often solve problems that would otherwise take lots of back and forth and avoid misunderstandings.
NLU & Implementation tools for Conversation Design teams
Finally, the experts agree that one of the most important things is to implement designs efficiently and correctly. For this purpose, it is crucial to have a great NLU system in place, as well as ensuring that communications with developers and other stakeholders run smoothly.
Some popular platforms in these contexts are:
Looking for more ways to support you in your Conversation Design journey? Check out our reports Road to Conversation Design and Leading with Conversation Design to find out more about our and our experts’ insights on the subject.
And if you’re still hungry for knowledge, follow us on LinkedIn for weekly updates on the world of conversational AI, or check out our latest article where we dive deep into our 5-Step Bot Building Process.