UX will make or break your healthcare chatbot: Insights from our user research

Chatbots are more popular than ever, with organisations from restaurants and travel agents, to private healthcare providers and the NHS all using these conversational interfaces to interact with users. At Bit Zesty we are always looking for ways to innovate digital services for our clients and implement new technology where it is appropriate to do so. Many of our clients have been showing interest in chatbot technology and are keen to explore how it can complement their digital services. However, in some cases, chatbots can be nothing more than a gimmick, lacking any real value or function for the user. To find out if chatbot services could meet the specific user needs within different industries, we tested a number of chatbot services. We applied a particular focus to healthcare, as this is a key industry for chatbot services and one in which users, in this case usually patients, have sensitive and specific needs. We conducted an in-depth study by testing selected chatbots with recruited users, asking them to complete tasks and gathering their feedback. While chatbot services are highly useful as diagnostic and triaging services for patients, there’s one major caveat – usability. The results of our user testing revealed that the quality of UX design is a key indicator of a chatbot’s success with users, particularly within services which are meant to help users with health-related concerns. We are currently putting these findings into practice in designing a chatbot for our client SXT, a social enterprise improving access to NHS sexual healthcare through its digital services. We are also in the process of documenting our insights in a whitepaper. In this presentation, Laura Paplauskaite, Digital Strategist and Founder of Bit Zesty, will highlight the key findings of our study and draw upon our first-hand experience of designing the SXT healthcare chatbot. We will explore the cases in which healthcare chatbots can be most useful and are well-received by users, as well as highlight the most important considerations when creating a chatbot – including platform choice, design, and language. We will also share insights into what patients want from a healthcare chatbot and the common problems with chatbots in this industry. By sharing our research and experience, we hope to provide organisations with valuable insight into how to design patient-focused healthcare chatbots which will drive genuine digital transformation