November 02, 2023
Conversational interfaces: what they are, how they work, and benefits
From the different types of conversational interfaces to the future of those based on conversational AI.

Conversational interfaces, also known as conversational user interfaces (CUIs), are a crucial component in the evolution of communication between humans and machines. These intelligent systems are designed to make interaction more natural and fluid, enabling people to communicate with machines using natural language.

These interfaces are based onconversational artificial intelligence, which is increasingly close to the way people communicate. This allows them to better meet the needs of the user, who can address the machines with questions in their natural language and receive equally fluent responses.

Conversational interfaces, in fact, are based on conversational artificial intelligence that is increasingly close to the user's way of communicating. This makes these interfaces increasingly close to the needs of the user who can ask the machine questions in his or her natural language and get relevant answers from it in the same language.

Interaction between human and machine can take place through written or spoken language. Here are some examples of conversational interfaces: chatbots and voice assistants. These intelligent agents have artificial intelligence trained to understand human language.

Conversational interfaces are widely adopted by companies to facilitate communication with their Clients. To create customized interfaces, it is advisable to turn to experts in the design of artificial intelligence solutions, such as, the customizable and scalable AI platform that enables the design of conversational interfaces to meet different business needs.

The intelligence of conversational interfaces

In the landscape of conversational interfaces, technological evolution has played a crucial role. In the past, machines were able to process natural language, but over the years there has been a transformation that has led them to understand not only language, but also human context and intentions. This progress has been made possible by the application of machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) principles to artificial intelligence systems.

Specifically, Machine Learning is used during the design phase of conversational interfaces to build the algorithms that enable the technology to provide relevant responses. Natural Language Processing, on the other hand, causes the technology to learn human natural language patterns and then be able to replicate them. This means that the artificial intelligence with which conversational interfaces are equipped starts from a knowledge base that is continually being expanded-and becoming more sophisticated and precise-just through human-machine interactions.

The result of this evolution is a richer and more personalized experience for the user. With the use of artificial intelligence and less input required of the user, interaction with conversational interfaces becomes increasingly natural. Information is delivered gradually, with specific responses, creating a more fluid and engaging conversation.

Back in 2016, a report on network trends compiled by KPCB anticipated that the expansion of artificial intelligence would be a paradigm breaker. Since then, artificial intelligence has continued to evolve, reaching extraordinary levels of accuracy the creation of cutting-edge technologies such as ChatGPT and GPT-4, which have revolutionized the AI landscape.

Conversational interfaces are versatile and can be integrated into a variety of services. This flexibility is one of the main reasons why these interfaces have spread so rapidly. Companies can implement them to improve communication with Clients in a variety of contexts.

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Types of conversational interfaces

Conversational interfaces fit into business processes on different levels. They can be used in basic level customer care services, for example in providing answers to frequently asked questions, or they can be applied in more complex contexts to provide increasingly articulate and detailed answers. That is why conversational interfaces can be of different types depending on the preferred communication channel and the complexity of processing and response they can provide.

Rule-based conversational interfaces

These interfaces follow rigid, well-defined preset rules. A common example are Q&A chatbots, which are designed to answer predetermined questions and follow a specific flow of conversation. These interfaces are limited to responses based on predefined paths and cannot handle "outside the box" questions. They are particularly useful in first-level support, optimizing time and cost in customer care management, especially for frequent and repetitive questions.

Text-based conversational interfaces (text-based)

These interfaces use writing as the main communication channel. Examples include chatbots, live chat, widgets on websites, and other technologies based on textual input and output. One of the main advantageous features of these solutions is the ability to learn and cluster information, such as keywords and attributes, directly from conversations between machines and users. This helps improve the effectiveness and relevance of responses over time.

Conversational voice interfaces (voice-based)

These interfaces favor the use of voice as a communication channel. Users can interact with these interfaces by providing voice commands. Voice assistants are a widely used example in areas such as home automation and e-commerce. However, unlike text-based interfaces, voice interfaces have a limitation: they do not allow users to add detailed information or guide them through complex streams of conversation.

Hybrid Solutions 

There are also hybrid solutions that combine elements of different types of interfaces. These solutions offer a mixed type of human-computer interaction, allowing for greater flexibility and adaptability to the specific needs of the business and the user. 

Examples of conversational interfaces


Telegram, a messaging app, offers its users the ability to receive automated messages based on personal interests by creating specialized bots. For example, @trackbot allows users to receive notifications about the status of shipments, while @pricetrackbot monitors price changes of products on Amazon.

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant created by Amazon, uses the Echo speaker as its interface. This technology is also available in Italian and allows users to issue voice commands, including rather complex ones such as ordering a pizza or skipping songs in a playlist.


Typeform, which specializes in creating interactive forms and questionnaires, has designed an article that combines traditional content with conversational elements. This approach provides insights into the topics covered, offering an interactive experience. We recommend you try it to experience this new form of interaction.

Google Home

The Mountain View giant has demonstrated how easy it is to interact with a car via Google Home. Although the number of Google Home devices in circulation is smaller than Amazon's Echo, Google is gaining ground through integration with external services. It is possible to communicate with any brand that has developed its own chatbot for Google Home. For example, it is possible to say, "Hey Google, can I talk to KLM?" and interact with the KLM chatbot. This conversational experience stands out because of Google's focus on users.

Although the goal is to make interaction as fluid as possible, it is important to note that it is not currently possible to completely replace the human interaction experience. However, conversational interfaces are steadily advancing, opening up new possibilities for interaction between humans and computers. This evolution aims for machines to better understand humans, making the communication experience more natural and effective.

The future of conversational AI-based interfaces

We are experiencing a revolution in the way we interact with our devices, a significant shift. In the past, we have adapted to modes of interaction that were often foreign to our nature. A prime example of this challenge is the QR Code, which, in part, failed because it required people to conform to the language of machines, rather than the other way around. This forced us to sacrifice part of our innate way of interacting with the world in order to learn how to communicate with devices.

However, conversational interfaces, and even touch screens, represent a fundamental breakthrough. They allow us to preserve our natural way of communicating, through gestures and words, in a simple and intuitive way. We are finally teaching machines to understand humans rather than imposing a model of artificial interaction.

AI-based conversational interfaces are evolving rapidly, becoming increasingly intuitive and effective in interpreting our needs. However, the path to fully natural and human interaction with machines is still in progress. The future holds further innovations and improvements that will bring us ever closer to the goal of creating a digital environment in which AI adapts to our language and needs, making interaction with devices a natural part of our daily lives.

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