Outware wanted to develop an app that would allow students and graduates to find out what it’s like to work at Outware, and register for ongoing updates about available job opportunities and community events.
Each year, Outware attends a range of careers fairs, where we network with students and recent graduates and encourage them to apply for positions in our team. These careers fairs are often extremely busy, and the students have limited time in which to make the rounds and speak with potential employers. We wanted to develop an easy way for students to find out about Outware, even if they weren’t able to speak to one of our staff in person.
At Outware, we always look for innovative ways to solve problems and improve the user experience of digital products. Starting with the theory that people communicate best through conversation, Outware developed OrtoBot, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows candidates to find out about Outware’s culture, projects, and offices, as well as sign up for ongoing updates about available positions and interesting events.
Building OrtoBot was a three week process, involving a squad made up of a designer, two developers, and a product owner. The project began with a design workshop, where the team identified key conversational flows, and developed a high-level information architecture for the bot. The upcoming careers fairs presented a tight and immovable deadline for the team, so daily stand ups became a key forum for raising issues, dealing with blockers, and obtaining consensus on project strategy.
A key success factor of this project was the bot’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively with the user. In order to maintain a user’s interest, a chatbot’s conversation must be engaging, unambiguous, and natural. The personality of the bot was key to keeping the user engaged in the conversation.
Our aim was to have the bot reflect Outware’s workplace culture: fun, casual, and friendly. This was implemented through conversational tactics such as exclamations, slang, informal register, and humour. It was also supported by the use of graphic elements such as emojis and gifs, which referenced pop culture topics familiar to our target audience (university students).
The conversational flows were built in wit.ai, with student details collected via the sign-up function being stored in Firebase.
User testing was conducted internally within the project team on a regular basis, as well as with the wider Outware team in the week prior to release. Feedback was used to update conversational copy to improve clarity, and to introduce new features to address previously unforeseen user needs.
Finally, the project was marketed through word-of-mouth at the careers fair, as well as posters featuring the bot’s unique Facebook Messenger code.
OrtoBot project proved popular among students at the careers fairs, logging over 180 unique conversations. Additionally, a significant number of students used the bot to register to receive ongoing updates from the Outware Recruitment Team.
Throughout this project, the team gained valuable skills and knowledge relating to conversational UI, anthropomorphism, copywriting, and developing for chatbots.
The team is now in the process of identifying new feature sets for OrtoBot’s product roadmap, and plan to implement Orto as part of our onboarding process for new staff.
This project has proved the value that a chatbot can bring to both internal processes and customer engagement. If you have an interesting idea for a chatbot project, contact Outware to speak to one of our Innovation Experts.