photo of meeting

Talking to industry – Emmet Connolly

My secondary research to date has been very focused on reading blog posts, medium articles and twitter comments around conversational commerce. So it was with some excitement that I was able to line up an interview with one of those that i’d been following for some time.

I had an opportunity to speak to the super smart and extremely generous Emmet Connolly head of digital product design at intercom. I was really interested in his view as he has spoken on numerous occasions about the power of conversational UI in this landscape. His blog post on Principles of Bot design  is also hugely informed think piece. Here are a few of the areas covered in our chat.

Micro Interactions

We started by discussing and reviewing the landscape of apps in this space – quartz news app, peach app, WeChat and Facebook messenger to name just a few. It was here we the conversation moved on to how different each of these apps have approached this same UI pattern.

The micro interactions were really the defining difference – Peach has it’s magic words, Quartz uses structured responses with emoji’s and WeChat has developed a whole new UI pattern with dropdown menu’s present onscreen. It’s not clear what is more successful but Emmet is sure that some form of structured response is definitely required. The affordances it offers the user are more successful in a better user experience.


We also discussed the appropriateness of conversational UI. As a business you need to think about where and when to use this form of interaction design. For instance Emmet questioned the use of conversational UI when a user would traditionally be browsing shelves of a store – let’s take fashion for instance. In this case the more appropriate mode of interaction is a mobile website where the user has time to click around, compare and come to a conclusion through their own decision making methods.

A hugely fruitful conversation with Emmet and much more insights gained than can be shared here in this short post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *