Hi Michelle, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello there! I’m Michelle. I’m a wordsmith based in Mumbai and officially a Senior Conversation Designer at Jio Haptik. When I'm not working, I enjoy helping grammatically-challenged souls, book-worming, and finding hilarious things on the Internet.
Can you tell us what you do as the a Conversation Design Manager at Jio Haptik for those who are unfamiliar?
Yes, well, I teach a computer how to talk like a human. But here’s a proper take: A Conversation Designer is responsible for designing the user experience of a virtual assistant. I ensure that the virtual assistants’ Haptik builds are conversationally engaging, impactful for the end-user, and match the brand’s voice.
How did you decide to pursue conversation design?
It’s a mix of good fortune, having the correct skillset, and being at the right company at the right time. I’m an engineer by degree, but I had always wanted to be a writer.
My first job was that of a Content and UX writer at a small digital entertainment startup, and I found that I really enjoyed that mix of technology and writing.
I joined Haptik in 2017 as the first Conversation Designer on the company’s payroll when the company had just started its Enterprise business. We started with designing bots on spreadsheets, and 4 years later, we have over 300 implementations under our belt with a 5-member strong Conversation Design team.
Any advice on how to get started for those interested in conversation design?
Don’t let your educational qualifications or past experience prevent you from applying for a new role or exploring a domain!
Join a few domain-specific communities to understand what the job takes and hear from actual professionals. When applying for a role in a new domain, do your homework, and do your best to understand your field. You should be able to give logical, fact-based answers when you’re asked about what interests you about the role or field!
What are some must-have resources (books, tools, podcasts, etc.) you would recommend for your industry?
I love the Google Conversation Design team’s public resources and love Cathy Pear’s book on Designing VUI. Our team at Haptik also shares our own Conversation Design resources here. We also have a LinkedIn page where you can keep up with new updates and resources!
The Conversation Design Institute has a good set of resources, and the teams at Botmock and Botsociety have some great Conversation Design tools as well.
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
1. Being open to learning
3. Being able to convert ideas into potential solutions quickly.
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
It’s so gratifying that my ideas are turned into products that help millions of people.
And knowing that a small conversation design mistake could ruin someone’s day is challenging. Conversation Design is an emerging field, so there’s not always a textbook-answer to practical day-to-day questions. You have to test and keep iterating to find answers.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Don’t worry too much! It sounds almost cliched, but it’s true. Do your best, and God will take care of the rest.And charge more for your work.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.