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“Bots Won’t Replace Apps”

I've been struggling to put into words the inanity I've seen in the first "bot" implementations launched on Facebook.

Dan Grover has done an excellent job with his story about modern conversational UIs, WeChat (he's a product manager there), and the shortcomings of current mobile OSes.

I loved this bit:

This notion of a bot handling the above sorts of tasks is a curious kind of skeumorphism. In the same way that a contact book app (before the flat UI fashion began) may have presented contacts as little cards with drop shadows and ring holes to suggest a Rolodex, conversational UI, too, has applied an analog metaphor to a digital task and brought along details that, in this form, no longer serve any purpose. Things like the small pleasantries in the above exchange like “please” and “thank you”, to asking for various pizza-related choices sequentially and separately (rather than all at once). These vestiges of human conversation no longer provide utility (if anything, they impede the task). I am no more really holding a conversation than my contact book app really is a l’il Rolodex. At the end, a single call to some ordering interface will be made.

Great comparison.