Because Chat bots are text-based interfaces, writing clear, concise, and actionable messages ensures user success.
When writing messages for your Chat bot, consult the Google Material Design writing guidelines. Additionally, follow these best practices to ensure users easily understand your Chat bot.
Chat bot voice
Voice refers to the way your bot reflects the service that it represents. Each bot is different, and the choice is ultimately yours.
To communicate effectively with Google Chat users, your bot's voice should convey the following characteristics:
Professional. Your bot will be helping people at work. Make sure its personality fits into a professional setting, or it may feel jarring and inappropriate.
Authentic. Bots can speak colloquially, but should not pretend to be human. Avoid giving your bot a gender, or a name that could be confused with a real person.
Humble. There are few opportunities to convey your bot's user benefits. Don't waste them on vague claims. Undersell and overdeliver.
Considerate. Be thoughtful and noninvasive. Your bot shouldn't bother users unnecessarily. It should strive to anticipate user needs and offer solutions.
Efficient. Recognize that most users aren't looking for chitchat. Help people complete tasks by keeping the bot experience focused.
Chat bot tone
Tone refers to your bot's general attitude: funny, formal, and polite are words that describe tone. While your bot's voice should be crisply defined, tone can vary depending on the context. Here are some tonal notes we think are particularly important to hit when writing for bots.
Encouraging. Bots are new to most people. Be optimistic and friendly with the user as they explore.
Attentive. Your bot should make the user feel as if they're important and cared for.
Optimistic. Bots will fail the user at times. Remain optimistic in these moments to keep the user engaged and hopeful about future interactions.
Do's and don'ts of Chat bot dialog
Follow these best practices to ensure your bot's messages are useful.
Break up large chunks of text into multiple messages
Avoid saying everything in favor of saying the important things.
Do: Break up long messages into multiple short messages.
Don't: Send a "wall of text" to users.
Each message has one purpose
The value of bots is the ability to interact quickly. Be resourceful with your bot's messages. Try to limit them to one call to action, and make the information presented as relevant as possible.
Do: One message is one piece of information or call to action
Don't: Overwhelm the user with choices.
Each message is actionable
Users should always know how to move ahead towards their goal, especially if they encounter an error, like asking your bot to do something that it can't. Honestly tell users that they've encountered an error or limitation, and tell them how to proceed.
Do: Honestly tell users that the bot can't complete a request with an actionable error message
Don't: Confuse users with a vague, inactionable error message
Including a little character is good, but your bot should focus on its utility. When adding character to your bot, beware of making messages too long and difficult to scan. If your bot is a work-related tool, remember that your audience at work when talking to your bot, and will appreciate concise and clear communication.
Do: Send utility-focused messages that are easy to scan and actionable
Don't: Overload messages with quips, jokes, and pop culture references