NativeChat

NativeChat is a platform for developing smart chatbots for a variety of messaging platforms.

The problem

Chatbots became the new tech craze in the recent years. With the advances in AI and Natural Language Understanding, chatbots promised that could successfully replace humans in various tedious and mundane tasks.

But for businesses and developers wanting to create a chatbot, there are a lot of unknowns – which technologies to use, which vendors to use, how to design the conversational experience, how to integrate it with existing business systems.

And while there are already thousands of tools to develop a chatbot, they all had some limitations – worked only on one messaging platform, had steep learning curve, were too complex, were too simple etc.

Progress needed to create a solution that eliminates this complexity by providing a platform that has all building blocks and makes using them easy and intuitive.

The solution

I was part of new team created within Progress Software that had to solve this problem. Operating in a startup-like mode with a complete freedom from the usual enterprise processes and hierarchy, the team was able to create a viable product and attract actual customers within just a few months.

NativeChat provided an integrated environment for developing a smart chatbots. Developers could easily (within just a few hours) create a chatbot that can handle simple processes and answer FAQs.

An extract from the website describing the difference with other products.

My role

As UX architect of the platform my role was to closely work with all stakeholders to ensure user-centered product development.

I worked on all important customer touchpoints.

The product

During the initial phase of ideation, solution hypothesis formulation and validation I worked with an interdisciplinary team of product managers, developers, customer and domain experts. My part was to create wireframes, task flows and interactive prototypes that were then validated via usability tests.

Rough paper sketches, outlining possible solution.
Basic story board created during a group workshop.
Usability testing of high-fidelity prototype.

I participated in defining the main principles behind the patent-pending Cognitive Flow technology. That is basically the algorithm that automates the chatbot dialog definition process.

The website

As a relatively new technology and completely new product the marketing website was a critical part of the customer journey.

Knowing how the product works and what it benefits were I created a website with very few pages, each answering specific questions and targeted at specific search queries.

Each page acted as a landing page. The main goal of each page was to trigger the visitor to start a chat with a custom-built chatbot (developed and designed by me). The goal of the chatbot was to answer common questions about the product and the technology and then collect contact information from the user.

The chatbot on progress.com/nativechat. Its goal is to answer basic question and collect prospect information.

I monitored the performance of the website against our key metrics. I continuously set up and launched A/B tests to find the best performing presentation and content.

Consulting, tutorials and documentation

Once the customers started using the product, they needed guidance on chatbot development best practices in general and specific help with the the product itself.

I helped our first clients by consulting on chatbot and conversational UI best practices.

I did a few iterations on a best way to structure and present the product documentation. I gathered feedback from user interviews and user testing.

Here is short video demo of a chatbot developed using NativeChat features. I created several such videos as part of the marketing and product support content.

The outcome

NativeChat is now part of the Progress portfolio of products. The product won several technology awards and recognition from industry analysts. The client base is growing and the interest is ever increasing.

Some links