Our interests and those of the submitters will be used to identify a few significant areas in which to address challenges and consider opportunities for future research. Below are examples of possible themes, only a few of which can be explored in a one-day workshop.

  • Assistant/agent goals: open-ended dialog (e.g. ELIZA), narrow task focus (customer service), broad quick-response (Siri): How do we design for efficiency and engagement in different contexts?
  • Assistant/agent capabilities: How can users learn about limitations, capabilities, upgrades?
  • Usage scenarios: How do design assumptions shift when an agent operates behind organizational firewalls or supports patients and doctors in hospitals?
  • Usage and engagement: How do we measure success when use can be regular or occasional, short-duration or long?
  • User perceptions: How are assistants understood and experienced by users?
  • User-chatbot behavior: How is conversational behavior affected when talking to machines?
  • Skills: When should designers add a skill to an existing agent or create a new bot?
  • Context: How much context—conversation history or software application—can and should bots make use of? What issues arise when crossing boundaries, for example between home and work?
  • Platforms: Standalone apps, embodied in boxes or robots, or software platforms (SMS, email, Messenger…) What is effective for what purposes?
  • Modalities: When should agents support voice, text, images, video, menus as input or output?
  • Personality: When is personality beneficial? How should gender be selected?
  • Ethics and trust: How do we design responsible experiences? Manage bias? Should agents reflect societal norms or embody aspirational goals?
  • Bots in social networks: What changes when chatbots join networks of humans and bots?
  • Humans as partners: When should agents escalate requests to humans?
  • Training and assessment: How should training data be collected and curated? How can agents best be tested prior to general release?