BotXperts asked — with Seth Louey of BotList
This is the second interview of a series of interviews I’m doing with 10 experts of the worldwide bot scene. These interviews are part of my research which aims to find guidelines for designing messenger bots. If you want to read more about what I do and why you can do it in my previous article. You can also read the previous interviews with
Seth Louey & BotList
Seth is Creative Director at SimplyTapp but you might know him because he is Co-Founder of BotList. BotList is a directory of bots and a community which got launched on April 10th, 2016, one day before Facebooks F8 conference.
Since he started working on bots at the beginning of 2016 he released four bots which are: BotList, BotJobs, Groot and the personal chatbot for Steve Bartlett, CEO of the popular social media agency Social Chain.
BotList and BotJobs are subscription bots which send you new bots or jobs while Groot is a fun character bot from “The Guardians of the Galaxy”. They are all available on Facebook Messenger in English and used by people from all over the world and were built with NodeJS and Chatfuel.
Which problems did you face while developing bots?
I come from a design background with front-end developer knowledge, so backend and NodeJS stuff usually takes me a bit to wrap my head around. I can usually pick stuff up pretty easy when I learn from “doing”. YouTube helps!
What kind of problems do you see in the interaction between people and bots?
I think engineers build bots too technical. What I mean by this is that they approach building bots with the focus on the actual bot and not focusing on the value presented to the end users. Also, conversational UX / being story tellers, is going to be huge with building bots and keeping users engaged.
What have you improved on your bots since the release?
Everything! We started with using a platform called Octane.ai. It’s a great platform to get started but has limitations if you want to build out more features of your bot. It helped us when our initial audience thought that we had a bot tied to our FB page and we didn’t. So, Octane spun up our bot in minutes. We have come to realize that a lot of our traffic comes from Messenger, so we are focusing on building a more full featured bot.
Future of Bots
How do you see the future of bots?
Bots are going to become more popular as time goes on. All things really point to a future of chatbots, AI, and robotics. The industry is still early in figuring out how to create highly valuable bots with great retention, but as time goes on, bots will thrive. I believe that entertainment and marketing bots are going to drive mass awareness and adoption, but the valuable personal bots will create the best ROI.
What has to be improved so bots can work better?
Better NLP and a different approach to building them out. Right now it’s stated that people don’t want to have conversations with bots. They want conversational UI elements, buttons, etc. But as time goes on with better AI, people will want to have full conversations with bots.
“Bots will replace websites”
What do you think about this statement?
It’s like saying bicycles are going to replace horses, or tapes are going to replace records. I think these predictions are silly in the long term. No one can really predict this stuff. It’s just noise fodder. Stop reading click-bait articles and learn how to create a solid conversational UX. ;)
Follow Seth Louey on Twitter to learn more about his work on BotList and his other projects: