How bots help automation using MS Cognitive Services Framework

How bots help automation using MS Cognitive Services Framework

In this fast-paced world that is almost entirely technologically dependent; artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives. Know what artificial intelligence bots are!

For long, artificial intelligence has remained a vague idea, one which people weren’t able to fully comprehend.

Well, it is quite simple actually! In layman’s terms artificial intelligence can be termed as the ability to infuse human abilities of decision making or speech recognition into technology. It simply means making technology as intelligent as us, so as to make life easier and less time-consuming. Take for example the widely popular personal assistant applications on your phone. From daily appointment reminders to helping you locate the nearest pet store, these applications do it all. This basic form of artificial intelligence is something that makes your every errand quicker and easier.

Artificial intelligence bots (robots) are similar, but labour at a much larger scale than mere personal assistant applications. MS Cognitive Services is basically a framework that integrates intellectual and life-like qualities of vision, speech, language and knowledge into A.I bots that help make processes within a company fully automated. MS Cognitive Services use tools such as cognitive thinking, natural language processing and machine learning within A.I bots to help automate. Cognitive thinking is the ability to soak in information, interpret it in an appropriate manner and perceive or react to the learned information suitably. Just like a human being, A.I bots are able to do this! Usually, computers need to have information fed into them in a systematic and organized manner and in a specific language that needs to remain unchanged. Natural language processing is the ability of an A.I bot to interpret and analyze a person’s natural language and speech thus diminishing the effort of making use of Java, C or other programs and use only basic human language to function. Machine learning is the ability of a computer to deal with interpretation of data unsupervised. It is the computer’s ability to evolve and make intelligent decisions on its own. All of these abilities are infused into a bot making it intelligent and giving it the power to make calculated decisions.

Collaborating with Microsoft Cognitive Services, SpadeWorx develops artificial intelligence bots that can be used on a large scale in the corporate world. Our company creates user-centric customized bots that are unique in its utility. These bots are crafted to essentially manage, curate and simplify processes that are time consuming and fraught with inefficiency. For example, SpadeWorx recently created the Leave Manager Bot which helps employees and managers to redefine the way the leave request, approval and management processes are carried out. The employees can apply for their leave using the customized bot, are able to check for holidays that are available, can send approval notifications or pose questions. For managers or those in charge of the approval process, the A.I bot can present previous leave approved timelines, pending requests, various colleagues in the department who are on leave, calendars, etc. This easy mode of conversation that is systematic and practical, cuts to the chase and makes the entire process simpler than if done manually. Apart from the Leave Manager Bot SpadeWorx prides itself on creating various other artificial intelligence bots and programs to make work more productive and energy-efficient.
The future is NOW with SpadeWorx.
Recent Events

Recent Events

No posts available

 

The first rule of chatbots: Don’t lie to your users An interview with UX designer Joe Toscano

Chatbot

By Vishal Gangawane

Chatbots were all the rage in 2016 and 2017 promises to be no different. We spoke to Joe Toscano, an user experience design professional based in San Fransisco, about the current and future impact of chatbots. Toscano manages and lead experience design and prototyping for R/GA’s team embedded at Google. R/GA is a full service digital agency creating products, services and communications to help grow our client’s businesses in the connected age. He also blogs on the Invision blog and at Muzli.
Q. As a primer, could you tell us in brief about chatbots? Also, are chatbots truly the next big thing and if true what industries is this likely to disrupt?
Chatbots, for those that are unaware, are software programs created to replicate human conversation with human users.
The concept of chatbots has been around for several decades. Since the 1950s, to be exact. The beginnings can be traced back to Alan Turing, and his experiments with computer science and human intelligence. These would later form the basis for what we refer to as the Turing test.
Creating a true “chat” bot is very difficult. It requires a lot of data and a lot of iteration.
I believe chatbots as most people understand them are a trend at this moment in history. I think right now we’re going to see a lot of companies trying to own the space and create the best bot possible. And I think for that reason chatbots are going to disrupt a lot of industries.
But I think once our natural language processing systems have enough data running through them and we can speak to these bots, the bubble will pop. I think the modern chatbot manifested in a text messaging app will be around for a while, maybe 3-5 years, but I don’t think it’s the end all product that most bot makers and creative technologists are truly excited about. I think chatbots as we currently understand them are just the onboarding for the future.
Q. You have written about your best practices for building chatbots. Could you repeat them for our readers again in brief here?
1.Don’t lie to your users: I think this is important for any brand/product. But it’s especially important with chatbots. Humans are much less likely to trust a computer agent than another human. And if you blow it once, you’re probably not going to get a second or third chance.
2. Onboard with conversation: The general public isn’t used to interacting with and commanding their devices. Help them learn by initiating the conversation. Don’t create a tutorial, but ask them questions or give them commands about how to use your bot.
3. Design for human emotion: Similar to point 1, your bot is not inherently attractive to human users. We, as humans, crave human connection. It’s important that your bot meets your user as a human. But don’t try to trick your users into believing it is a human. It’s a fine line.
4. Conversation is limitless: Language is an incredible tool. It’s the closest tool we have to mind alteration. We can speak and communicate ideas from one head to the other with relatively simple ease. But teaching a computer to understand language like we do is not easy.
5. Create boundaries: We’re better off creating specific conversations and directing the flow of the conversation to keep people within the ‘loop’ we’ve created. It will not only help make sure your bot doesn’t break, but also make sure that your users are having the best experience possible.
6. Let them down easy: When your bot does fail, make sure you’ve created a plan to help keep people around. If your screen goes blank or you give them some painful error message, your users are just going to leave and probably not come back again.
7. Every interaction is meaningful: Unlike the web and apps where many interactions are required just to navigate the page, every interaction with your bot will give an output. Every interaction becomes meaningful.
8. Help users help you: You’ll never know everything your users want. That goes for any product. But bots make it easier to figure it out. All you have to do is ask. Or offer a spot for your users to submit things. Let your users shape the product by telling you what they want.
9. Identify and target user sentiment: As we’ve already recognized, human emotion is as important in bots as anywhere else on the web. Maybe more important. And it’s the first platform where we’re getting insights into human emotions through contextual conversation. We can use this to teach our bot to recognize the emotions and help create a better experience.
Q. Say five to ten years down the line, how do you envision chatbots transforming the lives of users?
Humans are very habitual creatures. Sure, not every day is exactly the same, but there are a lot of similarities across days. I believe the knowledge we get from bots will allow us to build systems that anticipate our needs and get us away from our screens. I believe eventually bots will become an extension of our self.
Right now we do this through sites and apps that automate things for us — Reminder apps to keep us on track, apps like Instacart to do our grocery shopping, apps like Uber to get us a ride from place to place.
I believe eventually we won’t have to pull our phones out of our pocket but we’ll be able to make all these things happen.
Q. In the same vein, how will the role of UX designers change in about the same period?
I believe the role of UX designer will stay relatively the same — create systems that meet your users needs in the most intuitive way. But I believe the needs of users will change, and that’s the difference.
That’s just a historical fact though. If we stayed the same, society would never move forward. I just think we’re going to start moving forward at exponential rates. I’d argue we already have in many parts of the world, but I believe it’s going to be global instead of just in pockets of the world like San Francisco, New York, South Korea, etc.
Q. Aren’t chatbots essentially a technical project? Will UX designers have a role to play beyond providing the script/dialogue of how the conversations will play out?
Similar to the last question, I believe UX designers will always have a role — understanding and empathizing with the humans using the product. I believe this will be one of the last roles to be phased out of technical projects, because human emotion is so hard to replicate in binaries.
Q. How will chatbots affect enterprise software? India’s software industry primarily caters to large enterprise clients overseas so we are extremely interested in seeing how this plays out.
I don’t have specific examples off the top of my head but any way that systems can be automated and made more efficient, an enterprise is going to love it. And I know that’s a fact.
Q. Will the emergence of chatbots mean lesser investments in building web, mobile applications by enterprises? Or will chatbots play a more complimentary role with what gets built?
I think initially you’re going to see businesses trying to build chatbots within their apps. I think it’s going to be difficult for businesses to commit to the fact that apps are going to be old news, because they’ve invested so much into their ecosystems and it won’t be easy to just toss that stuff out the window. I think that’s part of why it will take so long for bots to become the default.
But I believe eventually bots (i.e. Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, etc.) will become the next telecom. I believe there will be a few that hold the market and people will use them based on what their algorithms produce.
Data is the new oil and building the best AI system is the new race to space.
Q. Which companies/startups/people are the ones to watch out in the chatbots arena?
In terms of complex, data driven bots used for search and information/navigating the world around us:
• Google → Google Assistant
• Amazon → Alexa
• Apple → Siri
• SoundHound → Hound
In terms of focused bots performing specific tasks that do it really well right now:
• Pana
• Hipmunk
• Duolingo
• Penny
Q. What are likely to be the hurdles and roadblocks before we see mainstream adoption of chatbots?
I believe the biggest hurdle will be user adoption and I believe the biggest roadblock to that will be making sure bots do not turn into spam messaging bots, because bots already have a stigma of being spam and if we want people to adopt these systems, we’re going to need to turn that around.
Also, privacy. Making sure people know what their data is being used for and how they can control where their data is going.
This is a very important chapter in my book, actually.
Q. And finally, is the hype true? Will chatbots kill apps?
Yes, I believe the hype is true. I think it’s still going to take 2-3 years before we have a revolutionary breakthrough that makes these technologies accessible to everyone, and I believe it will take 3-5 before bots become adopted by the mainstream, but I believe automated systems that are backed by artificial intelligence and are interacted with through voice/text will kill off apps eventually.
If you want to know more about chatbots, Toscano in the process of writing a book that explains all these points and much more. It is likely to be done by mid-February 2017. You can sign up to join over 700 people that are already on the waitlist here: http://bit.ly/2eELh9W
Recent Events

Recent Events

No posts available

 

For intranet projects, search for ways to include unexpected delight for users

BY Prafull Mane

Jennifer Aldrich is a UX & Content Strategist at InVision, the popular prototyping, collaboration, and workflow platform. Aldrich’s interests are varied and include content strategy, design thinking, user centered design, writing, defining product voice and tone, usability testing and user research. She firmly believes that sharing knowledge is one of the most powerful ways that members of the UX community can make an impact on the world around them.
Aldrich spoke to Spadeworx about her UX prep, user research, convincing stakeholders to invest in the UX process, design thinking and how the path to being a UX professional can often be circuitous.
Q. How do you approach a project? What is your preparation process you follow before starting any project?
I honestly consider prep work part of my process. Including prep in your design time estimates and allotments will save you frustration and headaches down the line. Research is a huge first step. Chat with your target audience and deep dive to find out not just what they want, but what the underlying problems are that they’re trying to solve. If you’re creating a brand new product, don’t get hung up on what competitors offer, focus on what clients actually need. Often times competitors, especially those that have been around for a long time, get bogged down by legacy features that aren’t even useful anymore. You don’t want to do a competitive analysis and wind up working on features that are already useless. Focusing on specific problems that aren’t being addressed well currently can make your product lighter weight, easier to use and position you as a real contender in your space.
Q. It’s often hard to convince stakeholders to invest in the UX process. How do you make them see the value of good UX?
The key to getting a company to invest in the UX process if you’re working in-house or at an agency, is finding a high ranking internal sponsor. Bobby Meeks just did a great webinar with Designer Hangout that focused a lot on the topic. Don’t try to change the entire organization yourself, find a person at the top who will help advocate and evangelize the concept company wide. Once you have that buy in, other stakeholders tend to jump on board. When working with individual clients, sell the financial value. Explain that spending some time doing some user research and usability testing can save them huge amounts of money that would otherwise go to redesign. Saving cash is a big motivator for stakeholders and clients.
Q. Intranet sites often don’t get enough love when it comes to user experience. How can we make intranet sites more interesting and not just something that employees use just because they no option?
Getting a high ranking team member to sponsor it as a way to improve work culture can really help. As far as how to make them more interesting, treat them the way you would your product. Do some user research to figure out where pain points are, improve the UX, search for ways to include unexpected delight, focus on adding some content that would be interesting to internal staff members (perhaps a series of interviews about team members) etc.
Q. In terms of the UX process, how can applying the Pareto principle be useful?
Absolutely. Applying the Pareto Principle to your user research strategy can be especially beneficial. I’ve outlined a method that I used at my last startup here: https://uxmag.com/articles/pareto-principle-based-user-research
Q. What are your ways of finding pain points in any product?
To find pain points there are really 3 main discovery tools. The first is conducting user research. Get out and talk to your clients, walk them through various scenarios, ask them direct what is causing them the most pain. Next is reviewing support cases. Chatting with your support team, and analyzing case data can help you quickly identify areas of the product that need to be improved most. Thirdly, trying to use the product yourself on a daily basis can be extremely helpful in IDing major product issues. Even if the tool isn’t something that would be traditionally related to your role, learning to use it, and attempting to use it at least once a day to finish a primary task can be very eye opening. It’s one thing to hear about other people experiencing an issue, it’s another thing entirely to actually experience it yourself. It’s a very powerful motivator.
Q. Design Thinking is getting a lot of attention in recent times. Could you tell us your views on how it can be applied to various problems?
Design thinking is creating a cultural shift across organizations. In the past, design teams were siloed off within organizations. Companies are now realizing that the skills that designers use to think through and solve problems can be applied cross functionally, and as a result design has made its way to C level roles in businesses all over the world. Designers are being called on to apply their skillets to all kinds of business problems.
Q. Any tips for UX designers on how they can start thinking about sustainability more and bringing that more into their work?
Sustainability is so, so important. I’ll never forget the first time I watched Objectified. The scene that showed mountains of old tech in a landfill was burned into my mind and has stuck with me ever since. There are several areas that we tend to overlook, not intentionally, they just aren’t front of mind, in design. Focusing on sustainability is one, as is accessibility. As far as bringing it into our work, it really just requires a shift in thinking. If someone needs some convincing about designing with sustainability in mind, I’d definitely recommend having them watch the landfill scene from objectified. It’s pretty haunting.
Q. Could you tell us about how you made your way into User Experience? You have a science and psychology degree. How did that guide your work?
I took a circuitous route into the UX industry. I built my first website in the 90s and had a blast doing it. At that point it didn’t occur to me that design was something I could turn into a career, so I wound up heading to college and getting a degree in education and another in psychology. While I was finishing up my second degree, I took on a part-time job as a computer lab tech. I got to witness first hand the impact that well executed software has on the workflows and levels of productivity of members of various industries. I also got to witness the impact of poorly designed software—the loss of time and energy and high levels of frustration that it could inflict. After graduation, I wound up taking a job at a startup as a software trainer, but was eventually loaned out to the design and development department during a product overhaul project (rebuilding our entire platform on .NET). That was when I truly fell in love with product design. I was offered a job on the UX team soon after the project was completed, and had amazing mentors that helped me grow and launch my career. Pulling from a background in psychology has definitely impacted the way I perform user research and usability testing. I find the entire process and the results fascinating.
Q. We are huge InVision fans and very curious about how things work there. Could you tell us about the design process at InVision and the culture in general?
The culture here at InVision is phenomenal. We have clearer lines of communication than I’ve ever experienced in a traditional office setting and a very positive overall culture. There is much respect across teams, the leadership team is phenomenal and teams work together beautifully cross departmentally. We even have a peer recognition program that gets used very heavily each month. The employees at InVision are just fantastic.
Recent Events

Recent Events

No posts available

 

SharePoint Framework—a Page and Part model!

SharePoint Framework—a Page and Part model!
SharePoint Framework—a Page and Part model!
By Urvashi Bhat
Recently, Microsoft announced the SharePoint Framework, which is open to all and a connected platform. It is a Page and Part model that will fully support client-side development, an easy integration with Microsoft Graphs and support for open source tooling. Even the mobile app, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, are getting revamped with the addition of new document library list experiences using the SharePoint Framework.
The redesigning has been done to give chance to SharePoint developers to work both inside and outside Microsoft. Even we can use the same technology, tools and techniques that were used earlier to build more productive experiences and apps that are responsive and ready for mobile from day one. Leverage the new JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular with this framework as it provides better performance by letting developers to clinch new heights with .NET and beyond it. You can choose the framework you want as per your needs as it has opened new opportunities in the cloud to get more aligned closely to what customers have on-premises.
This Framework will be available to existing SharePoint sites also, and you can host client-side web parts developed with new SharePoint Framework on existing SharePoint pages. The good thing about it is, it allows to extend your existing tools and solutions and take advantage of exciting open source opportunities. The SharePoint Framework adds to the existing, powerful development opportunities with SharePoint—from Full Trust Code on-premises to Office 365 add-ins—to bring a modern client-side approach to enable powerful portal experiences in SharePoint Online.
The attraction of SharePoint Framework is new and modern SharePoint Page experience that starts with the page structure. The new SharePoint user experience comes with pages that are technology independent and can be constructed with any client-side JavaScript and templating framework. This page structure will provide a number of new opportunities, with ability to host web parts, add-ins and many more. The page structure will extend SharePoint capabilities into more efficient, reliable and faster than as it is ready for mobile and responsive from day one. Over the time SharePoint is being preferred as the content and collaboration platform in part through its extensibility by expanding new opportunities for developers, whether being a master in SharePoint or a beginner.
Let’s start thinking to innovate mind boggling solutions for next generation with SharePoint framework.
Recent Blogs

Recent Blogs

An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused…  So, design is worth that investment

An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused… So, design is worth that investment

‘An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused… So, design is worth th[...]
How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on SharePoint and Office 365

How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on SharePoint and Office 365

‘How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on Share[...]
To convince clients about UX, it is  important to speak the client’s language

To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language

SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS ‘To convince [...]
No thumbnail available

Growing in leaps and bounds

SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS Growing in leaps[...]
No thumbnail available

SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.

CULTURAL SOCIAL SPORTS SpadeWorx is participating in HR T[...]

Product Engineering, formula to incorporate concept into product!

Product Engineering, formula to incorporate concept into product!
Product Engineering, formula to incorporate concept into product!
By Urvashi Bhat
I have an idea but how will I incorporate it successfully?? Here comes into the picture the process of product engineering. It’s a formula to incorporate the idea or a concept into a product. Let’s say you have a concept and want to transform it into a product. What steps you will take??
  • Do some research
  • Ask friends
  • Discuss with peers
  • Check the limitations
  • Gather the required resources
  • Start Implementing
  • These are the layman steps but if we make them structured and design then these will form the steps of product engineering. Yes not to complicate, Product Engineering is a new area where companies are spending tremendous amount so that forte of the product will not be a failure.
    Now we have idea management solutions, where we can gather the review for the concept. Once the concept is well accepted, the process to develop the product starts. Product engineering has proven very promising in the present era. It has removed the enormous amount of repetitive work by creating a standard process that entails the cost issues, resources, quality, features and other detailed points that can be involved in the lifespan of product or service.
    There are many phases which are compiled in Product Engineering. Now we have SaaS (Software as a service) that has transformed the traditional phase of delivering user specific services to a well-designed Product Engineering process. It starts with Developing then Testing and ends with Maintenance phase. The developing phase is most critical phase, if we don’t spend time on it we may end in overspending the last phase.
    Whatever be the concept it should be the practice of involving rigorous research. Ask peers, friends, clients, customers their view, just ask don’t stop. You may get a clear vision of the acceptance of concept. This gathered information can be used to create a well-structured architecture. Keep moving and design the product with the steps involved in the architecture.
    Start testing this pro-model by doing the Release Test and Quality Assurance Testing. You can also include regression and Stress Testing. Also do the performance and compatibility testing of the product in the said environment. Testing gives the conjugated report of the all the errors and bugs in the pro-model of the product. With it starts the Maintenance phase, where you start bug fixing, product enhancement and support and finding the proper solution.
    If well followed it is an interesting process and much planned way to create a remarkably distinct product. It is must to add a wow factor to the product to survive in this diverse and competitive world. As it is well said as we innovate we evolve.
    Recent Blogs

    Recent SpadeWorx Blog

    An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused…  So, design is worth that investment

    An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused… So, design is worth that investment

    ‘An intranet that doesn’t engage will grow stale and unused… So, design is worth th[...]
    How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on SharePoint and Office 365

    How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on SharePoint and Office 365

    ‘How SharePoint is changing: Behind the scenes with Adam Harmetz, Partner GPM on Share[...]
    To convince clients about UX, it is  important to speak the client’s language

    To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language

    SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS ‘To convince [...]
    No thumbnail available

    Growing in leaps and bounds

    SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS Growing in leaps[...]
    No thumbnail available

    SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.

    CULTURAL SOCIAL SPORTS SpadeWorx is participating in HR T[...]