Conversation design: Key principles behind good chatbots

Chatbots have become a common part of customer assistance. Designing conversational dialogues for chatbots is as challenging as it is rewarding, and technical communicators might just have the skills and experience required.

Text by Marianne Macgregor


Image: © B4LLS/

The speed of digital transformation and the demand for chatbots have increased greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing regulations, which have resulted in a growing demand for conversation designers.

This demand allows technical communicators the opportunity to move into the area of conversation design. We already have many of the skills that conversation designers require, but conversation design is not only about designing content in a conversational style. This type of human-machine interaction requires research, planning, prototyping, and testing in addition to writing the actual conversational dialogue. Understanding how a chatbot platform works and how this platform handles dialogue is also a requirement.

Good conversation designers have skills and knowledge in technology, basic psychology, and conversational writing. Many of the big players in the chatbot and ...