I’m All Ears #8: Interview with Jason F. Gilbert

Photo by Aline Kircchinbauer on Unsplash

Last year I interviewed my friend Jason F. Gilbert to discuss his approach to conversation design.

As I’ve tried to get my head around this whole new area of design Jason has been a wonderful inspiration. He’s generous with his thoughts and advice, and hilarious too. I’m so glad I recorded this.

As the interview was recorded last year Jason talks a lot about Anna — the bot he was designing at CoCoHub. Anna is one of those designs that I feel every conversation designer should study and learn from — a bot that’s been developed over decades, is the “world’s first transgender bot” (she was originally called “Alan” in honour of Alan Turing), and who has been developed by a large team of scriptwriters, psychologists and AI experts under the guidance of Yaki Dunietz. If you want to talk to Anna reach out to CoCoHub — the link’s on this page.

Since we recorded this interview Jason has moved from CoCoHub to become a Character Designer at Intuition Robotics.

In the interview Jason gives great insights into various stages of the conversation design process, but I feel his thoughts on personas as well as testing and updating designs after deployment are pure gold for conversation designers.

The interview

For those in a hurry…

On a lunch break that’s less than 50 minutes? Ok, you can jump to your desired point in the interview (opens new tabs):

1. Jason’s background in Film-making

2. Chatbots are never ‘done’

3. How much of you is in your designs?

4. How do you decide what to add?

5. Does Anna have linear flows?

6. How linear should conversational designs be?

7. Would aspects of Anna’s design work in a branded bot?

8. Do mean personas make good bots?

9. Do you work with subtext in your designs?

10. Can tech detect tone of voice?

11. How can you predict what will happen in a conversation?

12. Would you like to use other design elements than just voice?

13. What innovative piece of tech would you like to use in your designs?

14. What’s your relationship with Anna?

15. A Turing Test alternative

16. When will Anna be finished?

17. Where do you get persona ideas from?

18. What’s your writing method?

19. Testing: The Feedback Loop

20. How do you pitch testing to stakeholders?

21. Do you have any horror stories about vocal performance?

22. What do you hope will happen in the future with conversation design?

Connect with Jason

Jason F. Gilbert — LinkedIn


Thanks to Jason for giving me his time, and for his patience waiting for me to release this recording!

Conversation Designer (with audio super powers)

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Benjamin McCulloch (conch.design)

Benjamin McCulloch (conch.design)

Conversation Designer (with audio super powers)

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