FAQ Chatbot

23 February 2017 ● 1 min read ● 1 image
FAQ Chatbot

There's a lot of hype at the moment about AI in general, and chatbot's being the next big "app market". Reality is the tech is still very immature and there are not a lot of use cases where the chatbot workflow is a better UX than simple point and click with a well defined menu and information architecture.
FAQ's are an important corner of the customer support sector and is one area where they may have use so I decided to test out Microsoft's bot service, which is still in preview mode: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/bot-service/
I created an FAQ chatbot for one of my own products as a practical test, which you can see running live here: http://www.harpninja.com/wp/faqhelp/
As you can see from the image there's quite a bit to it, architecturally and technology wise, with a number of different services from NLU (Natural Language Understanding) to the bot development to connecting various user touchpoint services. There are a number of different types of bots you can implement and an FAQ bot is best implemented using another service they have called https://qnamaker.ai
Overall it's a pretty nice developer workflow considering the different services they have hooked up to make the development and deployment a relatively painless experience. This FAQ chatbot is using their inbuilt web chat preview which made it a snap to integrate into WordPress without having to code up a plugin.
There's a lot of different options for developing chatbots, which this article gives a great overview of: https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/bots-what-you-need-to-know , but I would definitely recommend Microsoft (the new Apple!).

I'm thinking you could also use these for some more creative applications if you put your mind to it!

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing Paul. QnA Maker looks nice, and fun. Wonder if it might be good for Canvas?

QnAmaker impressed me with it's intelligent question parsing which makes it more flexible than dumb Interactive Voice Response style chatbots. It opens up some design issues in terms of personality bot vs pure functional task bot in terms of user interaction, so writing becomes a key design task. I've only started exploring it myself so still thinking about it.
It depends how you see it adding value to Canvas and users.
A genki chatbot to create some sticky user behavior or something more functional? or both?

It could be interesting to use it to extend Canvas via messaging platforms.
I just integrated mine into Facebook messenger and slack, and it's not bad.

Not thought too much about how it could help Canvas yet, and seeing as few people use our Intercom service, which is human-powered, it might not really be something that is useful for our members. But I like the idea of an interactive and learning FAQ type thing.

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About Paul

Paul Cohen

I'm a producer in Tokyo, Japan

Creative Technologist

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