User assistance goes conversational

A conversational user interface (UI) enables people to communicate with machines via naturally spoken or written language. We no longer need to download, read or search through manuals to understand how something works. Instead, all we need to do is have a chat.

Text by Marianne Macgregor Ekaterina Mitova


Image: © Jozef Polo/

A conversational UI is a key component of digital transformation, and technical communicators need to embrace it with open arms. The essence of our job is to communicate. We are good with words. We know how to explain concepts and how to provide instructions. Therefore, we believe that technical communicators play a crucial role in adopting and applying conversational UI in existing and new products and solutions.

In April 2018, we set up a project at SAP to bring conversational UI to user assistance. The project united 35 colleagues from various areas and roles across the globe. Our motivation and goal: to ensure that user assistance can support the intelligent enterprise through conversational UI. Four guidelines helped us through the transformation:

  1. Involve everyone from the start.
  2. Train everyone and provide the right materials.
  3. Equip everyone with the infrastructure and ...