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Talking with chatbots : the influence of visual appearance and conversational style of text-based chatbots on UX and future interaction intention

Stan, A.M. (2020) Talking with chatbots : the influence of visual appearance and conversational style of text-based chatbots on UX and future interaction intention.

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Abstract:Everyday communication has drastically evolved over the years from phone calls to texts and now to messaging apps. Integrating chatbot services by companies is also evolving and is in an ascendant trend. This study aims to explore the influence of visual appearance and the conversational style of chatbots on user experience (UX) and future interaction intention. In addition, the possible mediating role of social presence and the moderating role of gender have been analyzed. The study was conducted with an online experiment where the users (N= 221) had to interact with one of the four conditions of chatbots, followed by a questionnaire. A part of the online experiment participants (N= 12) also took part in semi-structured interviews. A 2x2 experiment design was used where visual appearance (human vs. logo) and conversational style (human-like vs. machine-like) were manipulated. The results show that there is no significant influence of visual appearance and conversational style of chatbots on user experience and future interaction intention. There was also not enough evidence to support the hypothesis according to which social presence is a mediator between the independent and the dependent variables. Based on the results, when interacting with the chatbot with a human-like conversational style and a human visual appearance, users did not experience higher levels of social presence, a more positive UX or stronger future interaction intention. However, the interview results show that users did perceive the chatbots as humanlike by attributing human characteristics to them (e.g. empathy, logical thinking, calmness, a happy tone, being too talkative). On the one hand, the human-like conversational style was criticised most for aspects like the length of the messages. On the other hand, the machine-like conversational style was only criticised for the limited number of damage options. The human visual appearance also received critique for not looking real, while the logo appearance did not receive critique except for one interviewe. The results can help anyone interested in chatbots but more specifically chatbot developers, copywriters and dialog designers. The results show what is perceived as important and of value when it comes to visual appearance and conversational style. This can be used to develop chatbots more effectively and efficiently. More effective because it can be used to produce the wanted results, e.g. better satisfy the needs of the end-users. More efficient because resources can be allocated more specifically, e.g. time and money can be spend on what is considered important.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/83151
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