Innovative UX Approaches to Chatbot Design: A Conversation with Designer Tammy Craggs

Welcome to our Q&A article featuring Tammy Craggs, a level 3 UI/UX designer who recently spoke at RR.Conf23 about standardizing a UX approach to chatbots. Tammy shared her insights and experiences on exploring different UX methods and documentation that she has implemented to make her team's ways of working more efficient. In this article, we'll dive deeper into Tammy's background, her presentation, and the valuable knowledge she has to share on designing chatbots with an effective UX approach. Join us as we learn from Tammy's expertise in the world of UI/UX design.

1. Welcome! It's great to chat to you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the role you fulfil at Retro Rabbit?

I am Tammy Craggs, and I am 23 years old. I studied Interaction Design at the Open Window institute, and I am a lv 3 UI/UX designer at Retro Rabbit. Some fun facts about me is that I have a massive sweet tooth, so chocolate is always welcome, and I am a huge animal lover.

2. How long have you worked for Retro Rabbit?

I have worked with the company for a year and a bit now, I started in Jan 2022.

3. What is your favourite part of your job?

I enjoy having the exposure to various kinds of technology and the opportunity to solve some unique problems.

4. Which client are you based at and what project have you been working on?

I am placed at Standard Bank and I work on various chatbots to be used on WhatsApp.

5. How did you first get interested in UX design?

In highschool I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, but I have always had the urge to do something creative. So with a spur of the moment decision, I decided to go into design. While I was studying I slowly fell in love with the course and through my studies I became more and more interested in honouring and understanding users through user experience.

6. What inspired you to tackle the issue of standardising a UX approach to chat bots?

Chatbots have been an emerging technology for a few years now and because they’re still new, it feels like conversational UI for chatbots is still under-documented. Therefore, as I am now in the position where I am designing for chatbots, I felt that sharing my experience can only aid other designers in understanding a design process for conversational interfaces.

7. Can you tell us a bit about your experience working at Standard Bank?

It has definitely been a learning curve, especially as it is my first client in industry, however it has been a lot of fun working on unique solutions for the bank and the team I am working with has a really good vibe and we get along very well which helps a lot.

8. Can you describe the challenges that you and your team were tasked to solve at Standard Bank?

As a team we service the Standard Bank Group and often the stakeholders come to us to find new ways of engaging their new and existing customers. Each business unit requires a different solution, so we often adapt to the client’s needs. In order to begin a project, we often ask what their existing digital channels are and what content they already have available to their customers and the main goal they would like to achieve on WhatsApp. One example of a project I worked on was when a business unit wanted to take the pressure off of their call centres when customers had issues with using the banking app and they decided to try and educate their customers on WhatsApp instead.

8. What was the biggest challenge you faced when trying to improve the team's workflow?

I think the most challenging thing was honestly just finding the time to put in new processes and complete the new documentation. In an agile framework the backlog of tasks has to be prioritised and each sprint has a set limit on your work capacity, so I had to wait for the work to be prioritised by my product owner which is often difficult when there is client work that is higher in priority at the time.

9. Can you describe WOMP?

Womp is a messaging platform that will hopefully enable various units within the Standard Bank to send out messages to their customers on WhatsApp instead of using sms’s.

10. How did you come up with the design plan and proposal for WOMP?

As there was no documentation on the previous work that had been done for WOMP, I felt that restarting the project would be the best course of action. However, I didn’t want to work on the project and leave everything as undocumented as it was before, therefore I thought that by creating a proposal and a design plan with the use of the google design sprint, we could outline the desired design phases and potential outcomes. This would guide us forward in the process as well as allow all participants to have a checklist of tasks which we could document as we go.

11. Were there any unexpected roadblocks or surprises that you encountered along the way?

I have worked with a few designers that I had onboarded onto the team and then they left to be on a different project, which is the expectation for some consultants. I have now been a solo designer for a while and that can sometimes come with its own challenges when you can’t sound board ideas off of another person.

12. How do you see the field of UX design evolving in the next few years?

This is an interesting question because as technology evolves it is often quite unpredictable. But I definitely see interfaces becoming more ubiquitous in our lives and hopefully with that human centred design will be more prioritised in businesses in order to honour users in the products they build.

13. Do you have any advice for aspiring UX designers or people who are interested in getting into the field?

I think one of the main things I have learnt is that experience doesn’t have to be measured in years. So if you believe that you have the passion, the skills or even just the aspiration to be a UI/UX designer, go for it. If you have a portfolio that can showcase what you can do, that is the most important thing. You don’t need to have years and years of experience behind your name in order to move into this industry.

14. What's one thing you wish more people knew about UX design?

I wish people knew the actual amount of thought and consideration that goes into designing the products that they use on a daily basis. Sometimes it feels like the work we do is undervalued because it is misunderstood.

15. What do you like to do in your free time outside of work?

I enjoy boxing at the gym as often as I can, and I really love to bake cakes and puddings for my friends and family.

About the author

Theo Crous profile picture

Theo Crous

Theo Crous

I co-founded Retro Rabbit in 2003 with my university friends. In my spare time I like to raise my two kids, drink wine, hit the mountain bike trails and learn how to sail with my beautiful wife. Read more from Theo Crous...