Conversation design

Embodied conversations: Beaples Barton



  • To learn how to set up an end-to-end voice pipeline: from speech recognition to speech synthesis.
  • Learn about conversation design for embodied interfaces: not only copywriting, but designing the mouth and eye movements as well.
  • Familiarize myself with Microsoft Azure Speech services and the Picoh bot open source ecosystem.

Beaple’s dialog is completely rule-based. By creating smart responses that are basically context-free with just one or two keywords, Beaples seems to be following my lead.

What fascinated me, is what a difference it makes to design for an actual face with eyes. Beaples’ personality seemed to simply emerge! Even to the extent that it was very clear that he should speak English. 

Time spent

Most of my 2 days that I spent on this project went into technical research and getting things up and working. The small dialog with Beaples emerged as we went, and took me about 30 minutes. I plan to extend and document the flows in the future. 

Beaples in action

Pebbles, your catbot – Chatbot as linktree in Instagram


Learning goal

  • To create an alternative to traditional linktrees on Instagram that’s more than just a row of buttons.
  • To investigate whether a conversational button bot could serve as an archive for my instagram posts.
  • To familiarize myself with the Landbot platform, and the concept of conversational landing pages.

Time spent

  • Flow design & copywriting: 5 days
  • Maintenance: around 10 minutes for adding new content from Instagram. Around 30 minutes to design and build a new flow. 
  • Refactoring to version 2: 2 hours.

Catbot version 1 – Bumper & Pebbles

My first version was actually one of the very first bots I built. And it showed 🙂 Even though the rudiments are all there, it’s pretty much impossible to maintain, due to the complex underlying structure. I wanted to create reusable building blocks, and even though Landbot supports nested ‘bricks’, trying to nest three levels deep really stretched this visual flow editor to its limits. Also, analysis of the flows showed that the (very few) visitors dropped off quite early. 



Give Bumper & Pebbles a try

Catbot version 2 – Pebbles

Based on my insights from version 1, I created a much leaner and smaller second version. Also, Bumper, one of the catbot protagonists, has passed away, so I was faced with a tiny ethical and emotional dilemma: what do you do when the real-life person or pet that your bot is based on, passes? I decided to write him out of the script; somehow, I couldn’t hear his voice anymore in my head.


Give Pebbles a try