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Conversational Smart Products: A Research Opportunity, First Investigation And Definition

by Ilaria Vitali and Venanzio Arquilla

Published onNov 06, 2019
Conversational Smart Products: A Research Opportunity, First Investigation And Definition

Abstract

This paper approaches the topics of Conversational Design and Conversational Interfaces (CUI) from a product design perspective. While this topic is more widespread in HCI and UX design community, there is a lack of insight coming from product design. Given that the integration of CUIs and assistants into physical products have the potential to impact product design prac-tice, the paper introduces the term Conversational Smart Products (ConvSP). It analyzes the topic of Conversational Design and the construct of “Product Smartness” and presents a framework to define and analyze ConvSP. The research aims to delve into ConvSP characteris-tics, deepening how the conversation can be embodied in the product, and how the physical at-tributes could work in synergy with the verbal dimension. Through a case study research con-ducted on a selection of 30 existing products with CUIs, insight is collected on four different topics. On product smartness and personality; on the level of physical embodiment of the con-versation; on request/response design; and on the tangibility of conversational inputs and out-puts. A descriptive definition of Conversational Smart Products is given. Broadly, the research aims to investigate what the role of product designers in the development of ConvSP could be.

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