The chatbot team existed for quite some time when I joined it. It consisted than of a product owner, a UX designer and a number of developers. There was already a lot of knowledge available but there should still a physical design to come. The UX designer was mainly occupied with the Conversational UI and indicated not to have time for the design. The tricky thing about designing the chatbot was that it not only had to comply with the brand values of the company, there also had to be a wow factor that did not fit the company (formal and business). The first design that the UX designer and I made in one afternoon was therefore rejected. The second attempt was made in a design sprint and contained almost all features but still missed the wow factor. It also turned out that not everyone thought the same about what the wow factor should be and whether it should be in the design or in the micro animations. The third design gave me more freedom because the Chatbot was still a new product and leading the Live Chat and in the longer term also Speech Chat.
For the Avatar it was important that the visitor should not get the impression that it was a real employee but a robot. Through research into other similar companies, I saw that various Avatars were used: an abstract avatar, an illustration, a picture of a person and a robot. An abstract symbol was found to be cold and a picture of a person was too misleading. We chose a robot and an illustration to work out further. From the illustrations that the company already had, a number of different options were selected. We also looked at a mix of young/old, male/female and various skin colors. An older man with glasses showed a more senior status while a young woman looked empathic. New robot figures have also been made. Several tests were carried out on the work floor and a name for the bot was requested. The answers from this survey were so different that no unambiguous story emerged.
In the department, I had previously made an identity in the form of a sticker with an illustration. The product owner asked me to add this illustration to the other illustrations. In addition, the UX designer and I decided to research both types of avatars in a poll with the final question which they preferred; an illustration or a robot. From this, it became clear that the previously made illustration was favorite with 51% of the people and that 60% preferred an illustration instead of a robot.
The chatbot was tested in the usability lab and was found to be completely good on design. The avatar received micro movements and, in addition to a brand identity for the department, has also become a virtual employee for customers.