Conversational UIs and Hybrid Interfaces



In collaboration with: Andrea Bascetta, Priscilla Lim and Hannah Postings.

Life moves at a fast pace and users have increasing to-do lists of tasks they need to complete, frequently juggling multiple things at a time. As a result, it is important that their devices are able to keep up with all that the user needs them to do in today's fast paced world. Hybrid UIs -- which combine the features of graphics and command lines -- can offer a level of efficiency that conventional GUIs, or graphical user interfaces, lack. Where conventional GUIs present users with multiple pieces of information to sift through all at once, hybrid UIs can deliver smaller snippets of information at the users’ command that the user can then take action on to quickly complete their tasks.

A hybrid user interface is originally defined as a type of computer user interface that achieves high usability by combining features of graphical user interfaces and command line interfaces. Today, a hybrid interface is understood a device that is able to combine digital to an analog computer, converting signals from digital to analog and vice versa. The main goal of a hybrid user interface is to increase the efficiency of a system that is used to perform repetitive tasks. A hybrid user interface can be developed as a new application or can supplement an existing graphical user interface.

Stretching beyond the conventional GUI as well as solely voice or natural language interactions, a hybrid approach to conversational interfaces can include text and voice combined with media such as images and video and graphical elements like menus and interactive buttons. These new ways of interacting with devices can provide users with the relevant information they need to complete their intended task as well as the necessary inputs at the appropriate time. This means that hybrid interfaces are the prime arenas for the development of conversational UI platforms. Conversational UI can include text as well as voice commands, but now there are additional ways to engage with media such as photos and images through being able to use a hybrid interface- thus expanding beyond the simple SMS interaction.

Combining a hybrid interface with conversational UI can create a dynamic and powerful user experience through combining a conversational interface with a graphic feedback loop. This also allows the application of conversational UI to a wide variety of applications.Companies and organizations are responding by designing and building CUIs with which  customers can engage with their brand. Issuing a voice or text command can produce an output with which a user can take additional actions. Additionally, there is room for expansion through integration with other devices, apps and services. We have really only scratched the surface of what can be done in regards to conversational UI and hybrid interfaces.


READ MORE: What is Conversational UI?, What You Should Know About ZeroUI, World Usability Day 2017, Designing a Conversational UI Experience: Conversation Basics, Why Conversational UI is So Successful, The Role of UX in Conversational UI

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