Will Figma replace Sketch? Designer’s opinion

 As you may now, Sketch has a big competitor on the market and I’m not talking about Adobe Xd or InVision Studio. That’s right – Figma. It basically came out of nowhere putting Sketch in a precarious situation. Why? Let me tell you.

Introduction

Before I tell you why we’re slowly switching from Sketch to Figma, you must know that Figma and Sketch are very similar.

I would say that they are like brothers. Most of the shortcuts are the same, layout is almost identical, the overall feeling is just like Sketch, so what is so special about Figma?

Performance

After a few years with Sketch, we all noticed a significant decrease in performance. Few gradients, 30+ artboards, or copied artwork from illustrator and you can’t work properly. This problem started to occur some time ago and systematically returns. Let’s add random shutdowns, errors without save, plugins problems to the list. It really started to get annoying. 

With Figma, no problem at all. I thought that with a browser-based design and prototyping tool there were bound to be performance issues. Turns out there is no such thing. In fact, in a lot of ways, it is faster. I don’t see any lag. I can work from any hardware I want. Any browser I want. Also, I have availability to download a desktop app, which is for Mac and Windows and thanks to the latest iPadOS update, I can take my iPad, connect keyboard and mouse and work on it. And in my opinion, it still works better than Sketch.

Collaboration

Initially, I was negative for all kinds of real-time collaboration, because I like to work alone and privacy is my number one priority. Then I tried Figma collaboration with a friend of mine from iteo (Cheers, Kasia) and the conclusion was simple. Holy moly. It’s awesome.

They took the approach of Google Docs or Time Viewer. It allows all the designers to work on the same file at the same time. With availability to peek what your mate is doing. It’s so much better than the Branch system when you have to resolve conflicts. Also, you can download the Figma Chat Plugin and chat with others about the awesome project that you’re working on. 

Vector Tool

I don’t know how you’re feeling about it but for me, Sketch Vector Tool sometimes is unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, it works great, but I miss some major options and finally, Figma gave us the option to connect more than two strokes to a node. They made drawing complex shapes and symbols easy-peasy.

Design Systems — Symbols vs. Components

Sketch Design System is good, really good, but let me tell you why I moved to Figma.

Text styles. When I wanted to create text in Sketch, I have to define all the cases of the styles I want which can end up to so long list of text styles. 

Let me explain how Sketch styles work: when you define any text or layer style, Sketch saves all the properties in this style and if you do any change to any property then you are overriding the text style. For example, if you want to have a different alignment for the text or different colors – with Sketch, you have to make a text/layer style for every case.

With Figma, you have better control of your “Atomic System”. You just define the text basic options, like weight, size, spacing, line height and that’s all. I don’t have colors in text styles and colors in layer styles like Sketch. In Figma, it is one place of truth and if you change it in one place it will change everywhere. You can save colors, fonts, shadows separately and use any combination you want to define your main style. This is how Atomic Design should work. Got it Sketch?

The last one about components in Figma. In Sketch if you have a symbol you can only modify through the overrides, but you cannot remove elements inside the components. For example, if you have a button with an icon, you have to create 2 symbols, one with an icon and the other without the icon. Figma’s components are a bit different, you can change the overrides but you can also modify the component layers and the properties of the layers.

Unfortunately, our master components won’t create on the extra page like in Sketch where we have a “Symbol” page. So you must be aware of that when you’re creating your component, to copy master onto a new page. Too bad.

Smart Grids

Smart Grids in Sketch? Nah. Too complicated. We had a problem with creating a good grid in Sketch. You changed one value, the other one changed. You corrected it and again another value has changed. Probably Rows is the only Grid in Sketch, that is easy to make and you can’t mess it. But when you created a new artboard, you cannot apply the grid you previously made, you have to create it again or just copy the artboard with the correct grid.

Figma made grids like another element of atomic design. You create grids with few clicks (you can define your column/row width, your margins and how many columns or rows you want), you add your grid to your Design System and you’re ready to go. 

The client wanted a change with smaller margins? No problem. You just edit your option in Grid System and all your artworks with applied Grid updates, too. Again, a strong point for Figma. 

Place Image

In Figma, you can just place the image into the shape and when I resize, it will act as a mask. Don’t think about it as it’s nothing. It is a huge advantage that saves you time. You don’t have to worry again about resizing your mask and image differently. The image will just fill the shape saving original aspect ratio. 

Plugins, plugins and plugins

Yes, yes and yes! Initially, when Figma came, the biggest disadvantage was no support of plugins. Thank God, it changed. Now the library is full of great plugins and thanks to reviews, you can be sure that a plugin won’t mess up your project file. Icons, animations, prototypes, flows and even 3Ds. The variety of plugins it’s just amazing. 

Zeplin

A few weeks ago Zeplin redesigned their own plugin with Figma and I must say that it’s great, besides one option but I will tell you more about it later. 

As you export frames and components, Zeplin now keeps track of them. After a design iteration, you can export all your changes in one-click using the handy button on the right panel. 

Zeplin also will automatically generate an asset for developers in different formats and sizes based on your project type and if a master component is exportable in Figma, Zeplin now generates assets for all of its instances automatically. It has pros and cons. Why? 

You don’t have to worry about other components. You just take care of your master. Awesome but… when you have a massive file, with a lot of frames and components and you try to export them all – it will generate every asset exportable. So you end up with 10 000, 15 000 elements to export (sic!). I had that situation many times. And unfortunately, every time Zeplin threw me an error in the middle of this process, I was forced to export frames by parts.

Shortcuts

Figma has plenty of shortcuts and they give us a great option to take a look, what kind of shortcuts you used and you didn’t. Just click that question mark in the bottom right corner and select Keyboard shortcuts. You will find a lot of pages with useful shortcuts. The blue one – you used this shortcut at least once and the white border means that you didn’t discover or used this shortcut. When you use it, simple animation will pop up. That’s what is called a microinteraction.

Other smart things that we love about Figma

  • Frames vs. Artboards – a frame is a primary object that you design within. You can have frames within frames, enabling you to set constraints and grids in child frames.
  • Sketch Support – you can just drag & drop your Sketch File into the Figma dashboard and you’re good to go.
  • Pricing – not sure about Figma? No worries. Just create an account and start designing. Figma is completely free. Yes, Free! 
  • Prototyping – no need to use Sketch and InVision. Just make your design in Figma and prototype in Figma. It works well, not great but still better than Sketch. Also, you have plenty of options for animating elements inside your frame. It’s like a little Principle. 
  • Figma Mirror – our worst nightmare was Sketch Mirror, sometimes it worked, sometimes not and based on a Network, not an account, you could see someone’s work instead of yours. Figma came up with a solution. You just sign to your account and it will mirror the actual artboard you’re working on. 
  • Handoff – developers are curious about your design? No problem. Just add them to your project. They can take a look and in case of a problem/question, they will leave you a comment.
  • Comments – at iteo, we have a simple board with Designer Name, Jira link, Project Manager, Mail, etc. We also have a board where the client/developer etc. can leave feedback in the form of a comment which Figma allows to. Simply press C and write it down!
  • Smart Layout – Hell yes. Finally, we can make components that adjust by themselves, without worrying if anything is the same, or we didn’t mess something up.

Does Figma have any disadvantages?

A few, but major. The main and biggest is that you can’t work without an internet connection. It will simply won’t load your work. We all sometimes have a situation when our ISP failed, or there are technical repairs. In those cases, you won’t be able to load your project.

The second one. We really miss the Symbol page and sending a master component to that page so you will never lose it in your project. Maybe in the future… 

It’s been already almost 3 months with Figma. Great months and I’m amazed how they manage to create such a great tool. I didn’t found that much of problems, they may show up in the future. And if they will, I surely come back with another article.

If you want to work with our team at iteo – contact us. We can create extraordinary software with pixel-perfect design just for you.

Call Center: to Outsource or to Automate?

Call centers are still a very common concept to be implemented into companies that need quantitative, scalable customer support. But they often become ineffective – when the number of requests grows, when the employees are overwhelmed with workload or when we need to offer more services. There are many ways to optimize call centers – let’s find out which ones can be beneficial for your business.

Communication via voice channels is still one of the most valued by the customers. That’s because they give the users a feeling of personal treatment. They can talk with a real person that cares about their problems and does everything to fix them. Talking human-to-human creates space for nuances and complex issues.

Customer support facilities like call centers also address the need for constant contact between the client and the brand. People trust companies that answer their phones and often look for information about businesses by calling them and asking questions. 

So what should you do to optimize the work of your call center?

In-house call centers – pros and cons

So the internal call center means that you rent an office space, hire people, buy hardware and take care of the whole process yourself. It needs a lot of constant investments – paying for the location and salaries, maintenance of the equipment, having managers that will organize the work and control the quality of the service. There’s a lot to remember about and it takes a significant chunk of your budget every month.

If you are not scared of the costs, you might benefit from creating a call center on your premises. Being able to look over the daily operations can actually be an advantage, but also a drawback. That’s because it can take a lot of time and effort. Without a good structure based on the positions of your employees, you will probably waste a lot of energy trying to know what’s what. You need analytical, competent and experienced subordinates that will report the work for you thoroughly.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think of and it’s not always a bed of roses. You can optimize all of the processes you handle with your call center – and there’s a couple of ways to do it. But first, we should take a closer look at all the purposes we usually consider opening call centers.

Processes served by call centers

Here’s the overview of the most popular cases that are solved by call center employees. They are the perfect material for optimization.

  • Debt collection

It’s quite a sensitive and unpleasant process that has to be done when the clients are not paying on time. Calling and reminding them about the debt is tough but needs to be done. This type of process has to be treated with extreme caution to not break the trust between the customer and the company. It also requires high effectiveness.

  • Conducting surveys

To constantly grow the quality of your products or services, you need to collect feedback from your clients. Call center workers contact the users that recently decided to become one of your customers and ask them about their satisfaction. Then, they report the results to determine which areas require improvements.

  • Booking appointments

Many clients still rather call the facility themselves and book the appointment than use mobile apps or web systems to do so. Giving them this possibility helps you maintain a significant group of clients. Confirming and changing the dates, as well as canceling appointments should also be available.

  • Sales and marketing

Informing clients about promotions and new products is also a part of a call center’s job. They also place sales offers directly so the process is simplified – the person on the other end of the line doesn’t have to walk to a store to purchase something. Employees can make reservations or send packages and then inform the customers about the status of their orders.

  • Malfunction submissions

When there’s an issue with hardware or something’s broken at home, people want to act fast. And there’s no better way to quickly submit a malfunction complaint than calling the provider or service. The customers should also have a chance to find out when the problem will be fixed and what’s the stage of request processing.

  • Providing information

Sometimes there’s just a need to find out something about the company or their products and services. And going to the source is the best way to do that for so many clients. You need to be able to communicate all the details comprehensively and transparently. This way, the users that call you will understand everything they were asking about and your brand’s opinion will improve.

  • Technical support

Explaining how stuff works and fixing small technical errors is the second easiest way to do it, after meeting face-to-face with a service rep. Sometimes reading a manual can be not enough – when weird issues start to pop up or we can’t understand the instructions. Explaining everything by the phone will take less time and is a chance to pass additional information about the product.

How to optimize a call center?

You have two ways to do that: you can outsource your call center needs to an external contractor or automate the processes mentioned above with a voicebot.

Outsourcing means you keep the human contact factor but you don’t need internal infrastructure to keep the operations going. This solution is more scalable than having a call center on-premises, but it can mean you have less control over the whole system. You will probably receive reports and other useful documents but you won’t be able to visit the place whenever you want to.

When it comes to voicebot, you can read more about them in our previous blog articles:

Optimize Your Customer Service with Voicebot

How to Create a Perfect Voicebot for Your Business?

Voicebots, chatbots and livechats. How do they work?

Automating a call center with voice technologies can be highly beneficial. First of all, you save time because you don’t need to recruit, hire and onboard new employees – and we know that with scalable call centers your needs will grow. It’s also efficient budget-wise as you need just one technology to provide service simultaneously to multiple clients 24/7.

You may not be sure about this whole voicebot idea as it’s not a human being. It might not be able to solve very complex cases but it’s pretty much independent if you program it right. We also created our own voice product at iteo and we always take care of implementation so all our clients are satisfied with the results.

Voicebots are quite universal, as they can provide various services – including all we described above. Their capabilities are quite impressive – thanks to artificial intelligence and other algorithms. A bot will not only hold a conversation but because it’s connected directly to the database, it will send all the information in real-time. It can also analyze data and create insightful reports that will be useful for your future business decisions.

Conclusion – what to do with my call center

Become the master of customer service and look for innovative methods of optimization to make your call center effective and liked by the customers. It’s one of the elements that build your brand’s image so it is crucial to do it carefully and with your business goals but also clients’ needs in mind.

We recommend reaching out to us if you want to discuss voicebots and how this technology can improve your company’s work. We will help you implement it into your current, existing system or we will create something completely new – whatever your vision is. Find out that we are a reliable business partner and can help you expand your business in any direction you want. 

Voicebots, chatbots and livechats. How do they work?

Modern customers have really high demands. Not a surprise here – constant digitalization and automation of business processes accustoms them to get what they want almost instantly. Having customer service available 24/7, being in constant touch with companies, calling them without a need to wait for a free line, running errands using only a smartphone – the list goes on. Today we give you 3 solutions that will help you to truly optimize your operations.

How can we meet the needs of the market and the customers themselves? There are two options – text or voice. The first one is more convenient for people who don’t like to talk to others or can’t do it for some reason. The latter can definitely be faster and bring more personalized, detailed experience.

Text automation usually happens via some form of online chat. And voice solutions are mostly available via phone calls. Let’s discuss a couple of different options and see what we can expect out of them.

Livechats

Livechat is a form of help desk where all communication between the user and the customer service rep happens through an online chat. The conversation resembles the one that we conduct with our friends on messaging applications.

To provide this type of communication to our clients, we need a widget installed on our website. It will allow access to the chat window that will connect the user with the agent on the other side. Oftentimes, brands use Facebook’s Messenger widget to allow customers to contact their fanpage directly from the website. Also, it doesn’t require any additional systems and programs to operate the livechat.

As for the administrative side, there is also an application that allows customer care employees to answer requests from the clients and converse with them to fix their issues. For Messenger, that would be the fanpage panel where every person with authorization can answer sent messages. Off-the-shelf systems provide their own solutions.

Chatbots

The whole process is similar to livechat described above but instead of a person, we have a bot answering questions. It is a piece of software that we program beforehand with knowledge about our company, most common issues and other useful data.

Chatbots used to sound unnatural and they wouldn’t share any information unless we would provide a question that was written exactly the same way it was programmed by the owner. Now, thanks to artificial intelligence, machine learning and other algorithms, chatbots are behaving quite human-like and with time their database evolves to provide even better answers.

Facebook Messenger also provides chatbot features that every brand can turn on in their chat. This way, even if the owner or admin is not available, the bot will provide useful information about some topics.

Voicebots

An original solution that is still quite fresh on the market. At iteo, we even offer our own voicebot called Hellobot. It is a tool that allows us to optimize and automate almost any process within the company. Basically, it’s a voice technology that is programmed beforehand to answer or make phone calls and talk with clients about particular issues. 

A voicebot can be used in debt collection, sales and marketing, booking appointments, receiving complaints and many more cases. It provides clients with useful information, but it can also confirm visits or change their dates, register technical malfunctions, take orders – it has countless capabilities. From artificial intelligence customer care tools, this one has the most personal touch – because it can not only talk but also take concrete actions. Artificial intelligence is once more a technology that helps the bot to improve and provide a more individual approach to the client.

This is a more expensive option that is not available as a DIY. To get a voicebot for your business, you should reach out to a company that can program one just for you – like iteo. We provide Hellobot that can be implemented almost seamlessly into the system you currently use for customer support.

Comparison

Artificial Intelligence

AI is an area of computer sciences that is dedicated to creating algorithms that will operate similarly to human brains. So the goal here is to make them understand our behaviors and mimic them in context. Also, particular divisions of artificial intelligence focus on human-like abilities – for example, machine learning was created to constantly improve itself and make predictions based on previously provided data.

This is the technology that gives the chatbots and voicebots this human-like feeling where they can interpret speech, answer questions written in various ways, understand non-specific inquiries and constantly learn how to better themselves based on past performance. Advanced products based on AI can also analyze data they collect from the customers and draw conclusions that can be essential for business decisions.

Will artificial intelligence substitute people in some professions? Possibly. But for sure it will be developed to perform even more complicated tasks and to resemble humans as much as possible. This way, using AI in daily business processes won’t seem lifeless for people and the capabilities will significantly outgrow the ones of human employees. No worries, there is a lot of work that still needs creative approach robots can’t achieve. We will work side by side for spectacular results.

The Future

Algorithms and voice technologies undergo constant dynamic development. This way, companies will be able to offer more sophisticated yet cheaper solutions. And that will probably happen quite soon. Voicebots and complex chatbots won’t be available for big corporations only. More commercial use is a matter of time.

Optimizing and automating business operations has an important justification – our team members can take care of tasks that require their attention instead of the repetitive actions that would exhaust them. Robots are way more effective in this department. This way we can invest in the creative growth of our employees and get better outcomes when they leave these difficult but still important duties to machines.

Summary

Which solution will be truly suitable for your business? That depends on your budget and current customer support needs. But even startups and small companies can afford to build livechat infrastructure or use a chatbot to improve their results when it comes to communication with clients.

If you are interested in these innovative tools – don’t hesitate to contact us. We will help you to pick the best one for achieving your goals and addressing your pains. Then we will prepare the whole system and implement it according to your requirements. Let’s work together and create software that will complement your brand in the best way!

Quick Dive Into Azure Service Bus

Are you developing an enterprise product? Need the right solution for communication between microservices? Looking for a way to improve the reliability and scalability of your application? Azure Service Bus might be the solution you are looking for.

Stay with us to find out!

What is it? And why should I use it?

Azure Service Bus is a highly reliable cloud messaging service. Service buses, in general, provide a solution for communication between services. Modern software starts to be created in microservice architecture more and more often. The need for a reliable communication solution is not a new thing, though. In the classical approach, one would use services like RabbitMQ, Mass Transit, or so to achieve this task.

What advantages does Azure Service Bus give, then? Besides many advanced features, which will be covered, it’s the availability. Advertised as dedicated to enterprise solutions, it’s one of the most mature products, which gets constant support for many years, used in many commercial projects. It grants disaster recovery, so even fire or flood won’t stop services from running. Being serverless PaaS, serverless solution frees the user from the need for installation and supporting local instances of the product, saving time and money, in the result. Everything can be configured in the Azure Portal with just a few clicks.

Quick Overview

There are two main ways Azure Service Bus can be used:

Queues

Queues let us implement First In, First Out (FIFO) communication between services. When using Queues for every message, there can be only one receiver type. Even if there are multiple instances of such service, only one of them will handle each sent message. Communication participants are named “message sender” and “message receiver”.

Sent messages are stored, even if the receiver is temporarily unavailable, and delivered later upon request (pull mode). Another advantage of using queues is the possibility of the sender and receiver to work with different frequencies. While messages can be sent very often, the receiver may choose to process them on its own rate to prevent crashes.

Topics

Topics can be used to send messages in publish-subscribe scenarios. Unlike in Queue, where each message always has only one type of receiver, topics can have multiple. Each subscriber gets their own copy of the message. There is a possibility to set rules that define which receiver can get which type of message so certain one can be sent to the wanted group of receivers only.

Which should I use?

If your applications are going to communicate with each other in one to one model, and your messages must always be delivered at all costs, use Queues. For example, for receiving many orders, which all must be processed.

If you need to broadcast messages to many systems that can react to the same message with different actions, use Topics. It can be used, for instance, to send notifications via many services (one service can provide SMS notifications, another – email, and so on). Topics are perfect for implementing microservice infrastructure where many services can react to a particular event.

Azure Service Bus – Advanced Features

Azure Service Bus has some advanced features that put it ahead of the competition. Let us list just some of them.

Dead-letter Queue

Azure Service Bus supports a queue of messages that cannot be delivered or processed where the operator can look into the issue, correct it, and resubmit the message.

Get-disaster recovery

When the entire region or datacenter of Azure experiences downtime, geo-disaster recovery allows data processing to continue on another region/data center.

Batching

Client-side batching enables a queue or topic client to delay sending a message for a specified period. If the client sends additional messages during this time, it transmits the messages in a single batch.

At least once / At most once delivery

Depending on the configuration of the Bus, a message can be processed in two ways. With “at least once” approach, if the application crashes while processing the message, it is delivered when the application restarts or is sent to another instance of the receiver if such exists. That guarantees, each message is processed at least once.

“At most once delivery” approach guarantees that once processed messages will never be received again, mitigating the risk of duplicating data (sending the same order twice or sending the same message multiple times).

We could go on and on with those features, but if you like to know more, you can always visit a page dedicated to Azure Service Bus and find out yourself.

How do we use it?

Do you want some real-life examples? Sure thing! We also use Azure Service Bus in our projects! Here are some use cases in which it comes in handy.

Sending emails with the order confirmation

User has placed their order. We have saved all necessary data in our database and now we want to send them an email with the order confirmation. Still, we don’t want them to wait until the service for notifications finishes its job, we want to show them nice “your order has been placed” as soon as possible. And what if the messaging service is down at the moment? Using Azure Service Bus, we don’t need to worry! The message will be sent after completing the request, and if it fails for any reason, it can be sent later.

Integration Events

If you are familiar with Domain-Driven Design in a microservice architecture, you probably know the term “integration event”. In short – integration event is some broadcasted message that might be of interest to third parties or services from other domains. Let’s not dive too deep into the DDD concept, for now, it’s left for reader’s research, and let’s focus on some particular cases. 

All users’ orders should be stored, besides in our database, in the partner’s service. After an order has been placed, saved in our database, just before we notify the user about success, a message is sent to the Service Bus with details of the order. Partner’s service can subscribe to those types of messages and react with them in the desired way. If more services like that are added in the future, all requirements will include subscribing to the same message and handling it accordingly.

Conclusion

It’s worth mentioning that Service Bus is not the only one Azure messaging service. There are also Event Grid and Event Hubs, which all share some similarities but are designed for different scenarios. But that’s a story for a whole new article.

To wrap up Azure Service Bus is a solid enterprise solution to manage your communication between services with excellent scalability and reliability. It’s easy to create and maintain, and being popular software, users can find lots of solved problems and original usages online. Want to find out yourself? Then get on the Bus and try out! And if you are looking for a reliable business partner – let us know. We can work together on your software development product to achieve spectacular results.

Microinteraction: a small but essential design element

The current market is very competitive, with thousands of products that fulfill the same purpose. Microinteractions and animations are the magic things that keep us coming back to the products we love, but you have to use them deliberately.

Microinteractions are rather small and single-purpose focused events that occur within apps. The ideal microinteraction helps the user to accomplish a task in the most delightful way and then – interpret the results. 

Why should we create Microinteractions?

Microinteractions, as we mentioned in the intro, are catching our attention and make us want to use the product constantly. They’re the satisfying little details that happen when we perform a single task. They humanize products and make them more enjoyable. Still, many web developers and designers still ask such a question. They don’t understand that ignoring microinteractions may cost their clients a lot. Attention to detail is what differs an exceptional website from an ordinary one. You may ask, but what are the pros of it?

  • Accomplishing a single task more easily
  • Enhancing navigation
  • Making it easier for users to interact with a piece of data
  • Viewing or creating a small piece of content, such as a status message or update
  • Directing user’s attention to a particular element
  • Offering recommendations to customers
  • Controlling a process through constant feedback
  • And, finally, they just make your app or site more emotional

So, what’s the anatomy of microinteraction?

1. Trigger – starts interaction, should be rather visible and prominent, depending on how important the action is.

2. Rules – they determine how interaction acts after initiating it, how and if it’s animated, and so on.

3. Feedback – gives user information whether action s/he performed was completed successfully.

4. Loops & Modes – they decide how animation acts over time – is animation different for the first time? What happens if you hold the button (trigger)?

What are the most known microinteractions that we all know? 

We can see MI in almost every app. Apple is doing great at this. Just launch a random Apple native app and I bet you will get some of the microinteractions. 

That subtle bell animation combined with little vibration when you switch your iPhone to Silent Mode (sometimes I did it just to see that great bell swing – great job there, Apple!).

While you press the Like emoji in Messenger for too long, it starts vibrating, and the animation shows you this: “ONE SEC LONGER AND I WILL POP!” – then just a “Poof” sound appears and it looks like nothing happened.

The next one, one of the most common microinteractions, is when you swipe your finger over the alphabet in the contact book. You see what current letter you are browsing, combined with zoom effect and vibration. It gives you this really nice feeling of browsing through pages like in a normal book.

The last example (in this article, because there is an infinite list of common interactions) – the click when you turn something on and off. Confetti while you complete one of your tasks in the app. A trophy or achievement.

Mobile games are packed with microinteractions. You see them on every page, every task, every move you do, it’s all interactions. They encourage

you to do more, more and more. Just to stay in the app a little bit longer 😉

What’s the relationship between animations and microinteractions?

Let’s get one thing clear: animations and microinteractions aren’t the same things. Microinteractions are small functionalities that serve one purpose only, while animations are useful add-ons that complement the interactions.

An animation can be as simple as the coloring of a thin bar that indicates progress on a task, or display of a side menu after the burger menu icon is clicked on. The point is that these micro-animations are there to make the microinteractions intuitive and to help them convey their function to the user.

Sometimes you see a Dribbble shot with so many animations – everything is moving and sliding so easily. Unfortunately, it’s wrong. Sophie Paxton wrote a really important sentence in her article:

“Animation is like cursing. If you overuse it, it loses all its impact.”

And that’s true. Probably if you’re into animation, you know very well the basic principles of animation by Disney. It’s great, but only in the case of animation. If you use it in the app, it really slows the user down. 

So how can I apply animations or microinteractions to my app and website?

It all depends on what kind of application or website you have. What do you want to achieve with that? What is your main audience?

For example, if you’re making an app for children, try to focus a little bit more on animations and interactions, make really cute animated onboarding, try to award them with microinteractions for every completed task, etc. Things look different when you’re making an app for a more adult audience. Animated onboarding? Sure, but it should be subtle and non-distractive, including your microinteractions. 

Protip: Having too many microinteractions can lead to the user being distracted or losing sight of the real function of the app.

In iteo we’re trying to stick some of the simple principles that we worked out with time:

  • Think of the benefit that animation can bring to you instead of “it’s cool”.
  • Keep animation duration at or under 400ms.
  • Linear animation is boring, mechanical and looks robotic. Avoid that.
  • Give your animation a simple Easy In or Easy Out. You can even combine these two and add Easy In and Out.
  • Spring and bounce are okay. But only when it’s really needed. If your animation doesn’t require it, skip it. 

And finally, which tool should I use?

The variety of programs you can use is very wide, but based on how simple or complex you want them to be, there are different tools.

If you’re familiar with coding:

Mobile: Xcode, Android Studio

Mobile or Web: Framer

Web: CSS animation

If you want to create more detailed Interactions with simple drag and drop options:

Principle, Adobe Xd, Origami Studio, and Protopie

If you want to create detailed interactions + animations:

After Effects

In my opinion, the best one is After Effects. Why? Because the only thing that limits you with it is your creativity. It’s a really powerful tool that requires a lot of work and learning but when it “clicks”, everything changes. 

After Effects also has one powerful extension. Which is Lottie (we’ve mentioned it in one of our articles about animations – check it out!).

Lottie is a JSON-based animation file format that enables designers to ship animations on any platform as easily as shipping static assets. They are small files that work on any device and can scale up or down without pixelation. You can use Lotties on basically any platform: web or mobile. This means you can integrate them seamlessly into both apps and web pages. Lottie animations can even be used as stickers on messaging platforms. It isn’t technically limited to web and mobile. You could use it on desktop apps as well as some watches. Also, the size is super small. 

The wrap-up

Go ahead and observe the little things in all the apps you use frequently. You’ll start to understand that these interactions are everywhere and yet are so easy to overlook. You’ll notice that micro-animations can spice up any app, and guide the user to where the action is.

And if you would like to cooperate with a seasoned team of designers that know all about microinteractions, animations, illustrations and more functional and pixel-perfect solutions – contact us. We will create an extraordinary product just for you.

Client Side vs Server Side Rendering

What are the performance differences between CSR and SSR? It depends but also, the type of rendering can influence many processes in the mobile app. That’s why we would like to compare these two types of techniques for rendering applications on the example of Next.js and Create React App. Let’s see what are the results and which rendering method will be suitable for different kinds of projects.

Quick overview

CSR

Client Side Rendering – rendering method that relies on executing JS on the client’s side (browser) via JavaScript framework. The client will first request the source code which will have a little amount of indexable HTML in it. Then a second request will be made for the .js files that contain all of the HTML in JavaScript as strings.

SSR

Server Side Rendering – rendering method where all of your page’s resources are kept on the server. When the page is requested, the HTML is delivered to the browser, rendered and JS and CSS downloaded.

Frameworks

Next.js

Next.js is a React framework that allows you to create a React application with server-side rendering. According to nextjs.org

“With Next.js, server rendering React applications has never been easier, no matter where your data is coming from.”

The framework uses such libraries as React, Webpack and Babel.

Create React App

According to documentation

“Create React App is an officially supported way to create single-page React applications. It offers a modern build setup with no configuration.”

It is a tool built by developers at Facebook that gives you a massive head start when building React applications.

SSR vs. CSR

To compare these two techniques, first I used Next.js to create a React application that supports server-side rendering. In the second case scenario, with Create React App I could use React for client-side rendering.

Surely, there are also other frameworks when it comes to either choice. I have chosen two of the most popular to make that comparison.

The comparison

The performance was tested on a simple example with one API request and JavaScript dependency – Moment.js, using the Chrome browser. Here are the Lighthouse results for a full-page load on each application.

Next.js (SSR)

Create React App (CSR)

One of the more notable differences is the First Meaningful Paint. That means the time at which the user feels that the primary content of the page is visible. For the CRA it is 3,5 seconds, Next.js 1,3 seconds.

Also when it comes to the Speed Index, which shows how quickly the contents of a page are visibly populated, CRA is delayed 5,5 seconds, compared to Next.js (3 seconds).

In both examples, with CRA the image and non-image content cannot be displayed and the application becomes interactive when the JavaScript files are downloaded. That’s why these results differ so much.

If you are interested in a more detailed description of these metrics, read the Lighthouse Scoring Guide.

SSR – pros

  • Thanks to better SEO, search engines can crawl the site higher
  • The initial page load is faster
  • Useful for static sites

 CSR – pros

  • Rich site interactions
  • Website rendering is faster after the initial load
  • Great selection of JavaScript libraries

SSR – cons

  • Frequent server requests
  • Full page content reloads
  • Overall page rendering is slower

 CSR – cons

  • If not implemented correctly, low SEO score
  • The initial load may require more time
  • Requires external libraries, in most cases

Conclusion

For a web application with React, better SEO score, easier social media optimization and faster render, you should think about SSR and framework like Next.js.

If you are building a SPA (single page application), and you don’t want to configure everything on the server’s side like i18n, router e.t.c. you should use Create React Application.

Of course, further recommendations are going to be based on the type of project and many other factors. Contact us to get detailed information about mobile or web development. We will gladly cooperate with you to accomplish your business goals!

How Does Flutter Work? A Basic Guide

Flutter is known for its great performance regarding UI rendering. It is quite safe to say it is the fastest hybrid mobile development framework. The question one may ask – how does it work? What makes it so fast? The core three classes that are responsible for this process are: Widget, Element and Render Object.

Widget?

Everyone who had any contact with Flutter already knows what a Widget is. For those who do not know, Widget is a basic UI element. The documentation says: „A Widget is an immutable description of a part of a user interface”. The word immutable here is very important. This basically means that any changes we want to perform on the user interface need a new Widget to be created. This sentence raises even more questions. If there is a new Widget needed every time we change something in the UI, how come it is so fast? Here the concept of trees comes into play. Under the hood, Flutter uses 3 instances of trees. Yes, you guessed it, these are: Widget tree, Element tree and Render Object tree. Each one of them has slightly different purposes, but combined together they allow for fast UI rendering and great performance.

Element?

Element, in comparison to Widget, is mutable. It means that properties inside an element can be changed without the need of creating a new one. The documentation states that the element is: „An instantiation of a Widget at a particular location in the tree”. Element is responsible for updating the UI, being a kind of connector between Widget and Render Object. 

Render Object?

Render Object is the source of information for drawing the UI. Instead of looking at the tree of Widgets, Flutter looks at the tree of Render Objects. A single instance of Render Object contains all of the info about sizes, painting and layout logic of the Widget. That makes it very expensive to create, so Flutter is trying to create a new Render Object only when necessary. 

Combining all trees

To understand how it all works together, consider the following code example: 

So there are actually three steps that will happen when the app starts:

  1. Flutter will create a Widget tree from all the Widgets used above.
  2. For each Widget in the tree, Flutter will create an Element by calling the createElement() method on the widget. That is how the Element tree is created.
  3. For each Element in the tree, Flutter will create a Render Object by calling createRenderObject() on a widget, creating a Render Object tree. 

Now when we press the button, the text inside it will of course change to „Hey”. Element object which has references both to the Text Widget and its Render Object will compare their runtime types. If they are different, a new Render Object will be created, with new values. However, if the runtime type is the same, there is no need to create a new Render Object, only properties will change and updateRenderObject() will get called, saving a lot of time. In our case, the second scenario will take place. Both Element and Render Object will stay the same, the only thing that will change is a text property and a new Widget will get created. This doesn’t bother us though, because Widget objects are very light and really fast to create.

Example of a first scenario could be a view like this: 

Here, when a button is pressed, a child of a button will switch between Row and Column. During rendering, Element will compare runtime types of Widget and Render Object, discover that they no longer match and instantiate a new Render Object in a place of the old one. 

Optimization like above lets Flutter render the user interface really fast. However, each build requires each Element in the tree to compare its Widget and Render Object, which could take quite some time for some really complex views, with dozens of Widgets. In order to avoid such situations and improve performance, we can try to extract complex build methods to separate Widget. If we manage to extract twenty Widgets from the build method and create another Widget from it, then the number of comparisons goes from twenty to one. That is quite a saving.

Bonus: In addition to comparing the runtime type of Widget and Render Object, Element is also comparing their keys. That topic will come back in future posts.

And if you need an experienced cross-platform development team that is enthusiastic about Flutter – give us a buzz! We will gladly help you with a product that will meet all your business requirements.

Creating animations in Android using MotionLayout

During the Google I/O 2019 event, the company introduced new features to the existing ConstraintLayout. One of the biggest advantages is a powerful motion editor called MotionLayout. It allows you to build complex, multi-parameter transitions driven by clicks or swipes.

Main benefits of using this approach are:

  • Visible way to create start to end transitions
  • Ability to change scenes on the fly
  • Connecting animated components with each other
  • Defining single frames called KeyFrames during the transition

Basic principles of MotionLayout

To better understand how this tool works we need to establish some elementary concepts. Firstly, most of the things are declared in your view file, not in code. To build motion scenes you need MotionScene, Transition and ConstraintSet. The main idea is to create a start and end scene and let your IDE fulfill everything between. It sounds pretty simple and in fact, it is!

Always have a vision of the end

We have a great landing page that shows projects that we brought to life in years of our existence. It would be great to create a landing app, too. Let’s think about the components that the app will contain.

The header is the first component and sits always on top. This is the first source of knowledge about our company. Next, we have cards with projects. I decided to create a minimalistic and not overwhelming form, so the users can decide which project they are interested in. Action dot is added in order to show the viewer that the card is interactive and the header isn’t. The last component is a rounded contact button. These views are clean and readable but with animations, we can show some details even better.

Animations that are meaningful

Let’s consider step by step how every detail can be improved. For example, the header replaces the logo, but for the user, it would be too big to show it always on top. There is a way to collapse it and still showcase the brand.

In MotionLayout, we create big and small cards. On transition, we define transparency change of title and description in order to hide or show them. Now it doesn’t take much space.

Clicking on the button, the user can pick our number and call us, but we also want to show him that we have a website. This can be achieved by exchanging a floating button with a bottom information label.

Here we scale the button depending on scrolling state. It is important to scale both X and Y axes. The label is enlarging its width from 0 to screen’s width.

Showing more information on the card

As we create a landing app all the needed information must stay on the same screen. This is quite a challenge. In this case, the card is also a separate MotionLayout. The result to which we are straining to is shown below:

In some way, the card’s title must be moved from the center to the upper left corner. This can be easily performed by adjusting the position of title in the middle of the way. Using the mentioned KeyFrameSet we can adjust the path to reproduce an exponential path.

The description is just expanding to the card’s borders and during growth, it is less translucent. This part should be declared in ConstraintSet.

When the card has more information we also should hide the “Click to show more info” text and notify the user about action to learn more.

To encourage the user in clicking, we spin the button 360 degrees and it jumps in from the bottom of the card. This is done via a simple rotation parameter. Helper text is moving to the end of the screen in that way it isn’t visible anymore. This is a vastly meaningful animation for users. This says: “You have shown more information but still it is possible that the helper text will come back with less information”.

Let’s sweeten this screen with a little of Lottie

Lottie is a big thing in the development of our apps. For example, in the InPost app, Lottie helped to guide the user through remote parcel unlocking making this process easy and pleasing.

On the card, we wanted to animate the action dot to make clicking action yet more interactive. Lottie is aware of MotionScene’s progress so it animates along with other components. We have used this open-source Lottie file created by Sumesh Sughatan.

The final app is clean, beautiful and completely animated. Playing with MotionLayout, you can show paths that represent all possible movements on the screen.

Summary

Now creating composite transitions in Android is faster and much more accessible. With MotionLayout we can build expressive and eye-catching layouts in order to approach flexibility and easiness now firmly identified with Flutter.

Hope you liked this short tutorial. We can do much more for you when it comes to animations, but not only. Contact us and find out what else we can do to make your product shine.

How to Create a Perfect Voicebot for Your Business?

Designing the process to perform Product Workshops for our innovative new service called Hellobot – which is a custom voicebot for almost every business out there – was definitely a challenge. But we did it and we want to show you how. In this blog post, you will find a case study with all main goals, solutions and the outcome we achieved. Fasten your seatbelts and let’s go!

As you may know already from our blog, a voicebot we’ve created is a tool to improve a lot of operations that are a part of daily business routines. Customer service, booking appointments, sales and marketing, even debt collecting – its capabilities are countless.

We’ve already done some Product Workshops for our clients to determine why they should invest in our Hellobot and what benefits it can bring to their companies. And when it comes to our workshops, we take things very seriously. Mostly because we know they are a chance to discover or improve the value of any product idea our clients might have. This method of work was designed by our team from scratch to deliver results for both parties in the software development project.

It was a natural step for us to design the whole process. We’ve built an original process that allows us to perform complex workshops full of comprehensive work methods and tools. All the stages we describe in this article are dedicated especially to voicebots and other voice technologies we offer at iteo. In this article, we focus on Hellobot – our pioneer voice service that we already implement into our clients’ businesses.

Let’s start with the basics.

What are voicebots?

Voicebot is a piece of software that allows people to communicate with voice interfaces using spoken language. It is a solution that doesn’t require additional programs or apps.

A bot can substitute people in many activities. For example, in the services industry voicebots often automatize customer support. They can solve many problems faster, which is a huge benefit. Also, scalability and availability are highly improved.

Why are voicebots gaining popularity?

Using speech as the mean of communication is one of the basic human interactions. Thus, all new voice-related solutions introduced to the market are much more natural to use by people, who appreciate simple conversation-like processes that don’t require additional learning or familiarizing oneself with new tools and systems.

That’s why voicebots are also promising products that can attract many clients in the future. Voice interactions can be connected with any other type of operations to build a complete customer experience with our products or services.

Part 1 – Designing Product Workshops for our Hellobot

Before we could even start selling Hellobot as one of our products, we needed to have a complete Product Workshops process ready to be used whenever a client needs it. So we’ve taken a couple of steps to be sure that we can provide a comprehensive solution for this type of service, so the client could be satisfied. Also, this way we could improve the development process on any stage of production.

Challenges and solutions

We needed to begin with the essential first step – which was to learn as much as possible about voice technologies. Our whole team studied blogs, YouTube videos, scientific articles and books on the subject. We wanted to be prepared for any questions and problems we could stumble upon along the way.

The next decision was to grow our team by hiring seasoned experts that were familiar with voicebots and similar solutions. With them, we could organize internal workshops that helped us to supplement and systematize our knowledge. Then, we discussed the main assumptions of the project and prepared original materials and methods we could work with during voicebot Product Workshops. Creating a stakeholder map helped us to understand who is involved in the project and what is its impact on them.

Designing the process

The main goal of all Product Workshops we perform is to create a product that will fulfill the needs of the clients but also their end-customers. To achieve that, we organize the workshop and then our experts work on the product using the collected material. That wasn’t any different for the voicebot case.

We wanted to organize workshop meetings that are insightful and engaging for both sides. That’s why we used different methodologies to create a process in a form that allows creative workflow and focus on business priorities. Before we even start, we usually meet up internally with the whole workshop team to discuss the agenda, the main goal, the materials we will use and the role of each team member.

Preparing the action plan was an interesting process itself, so we should focus a little bit more on it.

Creating the agenda

Preparing the agenda with clear steps to follow helped us to obtain a solid base for creating tailor-made voicebots and other voice-based solutions. Here is the list with all actions we’ve taken on our way to preparing the best Product Workshops for clients interested in voice products:

  1. Learning more about voicebots. Collecting information and knowledge from different online and analog sources in both Polish and English.
  2. Setting goals for the workshop. It is extremely important to have an explicit idea of the results we want to achieve with the workshop meeting with our client. The goal also determines the workshop format and enhances communication between the client and the team.
  3. Another goals-setting process is now dedicated to the product itself. That means we need to know all required functionalities to implement so the solution works properly and can be released.
  4. Now we can pick the methodologies for the concrete workshop subject. This stage is divided into two steps:
    a) Finding out if standard digital product workshop methods are suitable for this concrete product
    b) Browse for methods that are not used in digital product workshops but can be used in this project (eg. methods used for offline services)
  5. When all of the above is ready, we can now design the workshop process with all required materials – canvases that will motivate the client to work. They also make the whole process more appealing and help to see the whole effect of the workshop process.
  6. The last step is to pick the right team and introduce them to all the plans and the project itself.

What should be considered when designing the process?

Beforehand you should create a dedicated brief for the client that suits the type of workshop we are performing. This type of communication allows the team to familiarize themselves with requirements and pick the strategy accordingly. Also, using brief simplified preparations before the workshop. The brief has two goals – to give the client an idea of what they should expect and to give our team a chance to ask first questions – like the current state of business processes or how do they imagine a voicebot in their company.

Afterwards, it is worth spending some time researching work methods. Their purpose is:

  • To determine personas
  • To identify the target audience of the product
  • To design the bot’s personality that will match the company’s image but at the same time will correspond with the target group
  • To pinpoint and design the processes that should be automatized by the bot
  • To evaluate all the main process stages and defining KPIs so the bot’s performance can be measured and developed based on the important metrics

When browsing for adequate methods, we should consider a couple of factors. First of all, the methodology we will use should logically arrange the whole workshop process during two days of meetings. The amount of work should be diversified in terms of time and areas of influence, so the workshop is productive and interesting.

All the methods we use in this case were supposed to be based on empathy maps and problem-solving solutions. They should not require specialized knowledge, skills or vocabulary from the voice technology industry, because that would prolong the introduction phase of the workshop.

We’ve picked several methods but all of them required some modifications. This way we’ve customized these methods to fit our workshops process. These are among others: personas, bot’s personality and voice processes flow. The design of these methods is based on our experience in previous projects and workshops for mobile apps and software systems. Thanks to the mentioned canvases, we can help the client to be a co-creator of the solution we are building.

Determining bot’s personality

After the personas are set up when we know the real purpose of the voicebot we can determine the personality of it. It is supposed to match the company’s vibe. That’s a very important element because the communication style of the bot will influence client satisfaction directly. This is also crucial for the company’s image.

Voice processes flow

This complex part is the most time-consuming stage of the workshop. Using it we can design the bot suited for the chosen service. It allows us to draw the course of the process and also to summarize and describe all the elements that need to be fulfilled so the conversation with the bot can be performed with success.

Part 2 – Case study: Voicebot Product Workshops with our client

One of the biggest vehicle dealerships in Poland expressed interest in our Hellobot. As usual, we’ve started our collaboration with a Product Workshop session that lasted 2 days and gave us plenty of insight for the future voicebot product.

Product vision

We wanted to develop a minimum valuable product (MVP) to test the process for just one branch of the company. Based on the performance of the first version, we could collect feedback and the client could decide if they want to implement more of similar solutions. The MVP was supposed to not only simplify communication with customers but also collect the surveys after voicebot conversations.

The processes that the client wanted to substitute with bots were performed by assistants and advisors. Most of them were manual and time-consuming. With automatization, the employees could give more attention to the clients that visit the dealerships in person. We could also add another process that was not included in the phone customer service but would bring significant financial benefits for the brand.

Business goals

The main processes that could be optimized by the voicebot were:

  • Receiving positive feedback from the clients after a conversation with the bot
  • Reducing the number of unanswered calls which could result in losing potential clients
  • Reducing the number of clients that don’t show up to the service appointments and don’t cancel them beforehand

The marketing potential was not neglected either. With the voicebot, our clients could position themselves as an innovative pioneer of the automotive industry in Poland. As for internal benefits, simplifying the processes could reduce costs, raise the availability of the services and the customers’ satisfaction, too.

Target groups

As for the target audience, we distinguished two main groups.

  • Individual and corporate clients

They expect quick service, affordable prices and high-quality offers. Their relationship with the brand is rather close. Usually, they are well prepared for the conversation. They ask for prices and want to avoid a long wait for the service.

  • Fleet clients

Their habit is to call the service while driving via a hands-free set. They don’t mind higher prices but expect high-quality customer care with additional conveniences – like service appointments on Fridays and Saturdays, a lounge at the car service, etc.

For both of these groups, the voicebot can offer innovative customer support that is available 24/7. The main concern is that the bot might not understand the expectations as it is not human.

The course of the workshop

We’ve met with our client – a chain of authorized car showrooms and services in Poland – in their headquarters to perform Product Workshops. We aimed to achieve our goal within 2 days.

The beginning was dedicated to explaining voice technologies and all related themes to the client, so they could actively be a part of the workshop. We had to keep in mind that using complicated industry terms should be substituted with understandable vocabulary. In the case of more complicated topics, we needed to explain them clearly. We’ve created a visual map key to support our actions in this matter.

On the first day, we determined the target group and the bot’s personality. To do that, we needed to analyze which processes in the company can be automatized by the voice solution. We’ve also mapped the first process that would be a part of voicebot service. On the second day, we mapped another 2 processes and we discussed the technical aspects of integration between the systems.

We can proudly admit that we achieved all our goals. With all the actions described above, we could also build a positive relationship with the client. And that’s what matters when cooperating on a long-term IT project.

Outcome

The whole Product Workshops process that we designed particularly to offer voicebots to our clients was a huge success. The result of our collaboration with the mentioned client we described in this case study was working out a solution based on voice technology that can solve problems and automatize operations.

If you would like to invest in a voicebot for your business – we can help with that. Hellobot by iteo is a complex, custom-made package that includes many types of voice-based services that can be implemented into your brand’s operations. We want to give you an extraordinary product, so let’s discuss your project. Don’t hesitate to contact us and tell us what you need. We’re here to digitalize and modernize your company. And we can always help you!

Optimize Your Customer Service with Voicebot

The current global situation is not comfortable for most companies. Nowadays the economy is based on customer relationships that are hard to maintain when we can’t meet face-to-face. Banning shopping malls and small businesses doesn’t mean our customers suddenly won’t have any issues, complaints or questions. We need extraordinary solutions for these tough times. A voicebot can be an example.

At iteo, we’ve been working on our own voicebot for some time now. We wanted to have a unique offer for all our clients that need an innovative, easy-to-use customer support system. But that’s not the only purpose this bot can fulfill. Let’s see which industries can benefit from using a voicebot and what kind of services it can provide.

Voicebot as customer service support

Customer care services can now be overloaded and overwhelmed by the magnitude of work. Queues on helplines suddenly can’t be unloaded, because clients can’t go to the closest facility and talk with an agent to fix their problem. Instead, they call and ask for help.

Voicebots can simplify the process of initial verification so consultants will get the calls that are suitable for their field of expertise and won’t need to forward them. Also, the voicebot can receive and process complaints, for example at home goods and appliances stores.

After the whole process of customer care conversation, voicebots can call the clients to perform satisfactory surveys. This way we will automatically collect data about the efficiency and performance of our employees. In exchange, it can offer free coffee vouchers or other small prizes.

Another great functionality voicebots can offer is collecting consumption data for power and gas plants, as well as water facilities. Instead of sending meter read-outs via email, the voicebot would call every customer once a month so they can provide the correct information. With a voicebot, handling thousands of clients at once and updating the database in real-time is not a problem, so the process would take much less time.

For all digital businesses that need to fix problems and reset passwords hundreds of times daily, a voicebot can take over some of these issues and automatize them.

Voicebot and all kinds of appointments

Every company that works based on appointments that are set to concrete days and hours have problems with clients that don’t cancel and don’t come to the prearranged visit. That includes doctors, hairdressers, beauticians, car workshops and many more. Sending text messages solves the problem to some extent but not completely.

Let the voicebot call your customers on your behalf. It can confirm, change and cancel appointments. The client will more likely pick up the phone than answer a text message. This solution is definitely worth trying!

Other industries that could benefit from voicebots are events and conferences. They can collect a confirmation of arrival and update the participants about the agenda.

Voicebot in debt collection services

Well, the bot won’t knock at the client’s door to collect the debt. But it can be helpful at other stages of this long process. First of all, the voicebot can monitor the current database of indebted clients and contact them to inform them about their balance. Then, it can collect payback declarations and control how many of them were paid on time.

Because the voicebot is storing data of all performed operations, afterwards we can analyze and report its effectiveness. If the client fails to pay back their debt, it can contact them again. All these actions can be automated and done simultaneously for many customers at any time we will program it to call them.

Voicebot as an informant

Scriptwriting for voicebots allows the developer to program them to do the exact action we need it to do. For example, for our client InPost that offers innovative logistics services, we would propose a parcel status functionality performed by a voicebot. The bot would call the client to inform that the package is waiting in the Parcel Locker. And the other way around – the client can call the bot to find out what is the status of their parcel at the moment. With remote Parcel Locker opening, InPost would offer the most modern set of features among all courier companies in Poland.

Another informative scenario we can imagine for a voicebot is to handle knowledge bases for museums and art galleries. Placing interactive devices in or close to the exhibits allows the viewers to ask them directly about the thing they are seeing or the place they are visiting. The voicebot will answer in an elaborate and detailed manner – of course, if that’s what we want. Voicebot scripts give us countless possibilities.

In times of coronavirus pandemic, voicebots would allow governments to quickly react and create FAQ helplines for citizens to find out what’s going on and how to act in times of crisis. Also, they could automatize 911 calls (in Poland the number is 112) to receive emergency reports and send them to adequate services like police, fire departments, hospitals, etc. 

Voicebot in sales and marketing

Imagine contacting us at iteo via phone and hearing a voicebot sharing all the details about our digital agency, including the clients we cooperated with in the past. Voicebots can be an amazing tool for marketing and sales support.

Marketing campaigns via voicebots can be highly informative and motivating. The bot could tell clients about current promotions and free deliveries, handing them discount codes and giving them practical tips about online shopping and complaints policy. Especially useful for retail and e-commerce businesses.

For food chains and delivery services, voicebot could be an alternative to online orders. Sellers (eg. IKEA) can use this system to receive and process purchases, especially in times when their on-site stores need to be closed.

Not to mention contests and quizzes that can be automatically run by a voicebot.

Why did we produce our own voicebot?

When we decided to produce our own voicebot, our goal was to provide our clients with business value in a short time but with high quality. We want to offer and integrate the majority of voice technologies in Poland and abroad. They can create positive experiences for our clients and their customers, no matter what industry they are a part of.

Voicebots can perform inbound and outbound tasks. Phone calls are operated by the bot using natural speech which is possible with technologies like ASR (automatic speech recognition) or STT (speech to text). The technology and provider can be will be picked depending on the process requirements.

The natural language processing system interprets the intent of the statement and the original Hellobot system directs the conversation to give the right answer that will be then spoken with TTS (text to speech) synthesizer. We can also record a voice-over for the bot beforehand.

Hellobot by iteo can be integrated with existing call centers or can be a separate tool connected with other systems that belong to the client – for example a CRM.

Hellobot – a voicebot curated by iteo

An off-the-shelf product that allows to quickly fit it into the company’s operations with an intuitive setup process. Hellobot optimizes and supports key processes like debt collection, setting and confirming appointments, sales, help desks and more. Best for SMEs and enterprises in banking, insurance, automotive, different types of services, governmental organizations and many more. Our voicebot adjusts to variable branches and different types of customer service models. Hellobot can also serve as an individual unit to support corporate operations and internal processes.

We can offer ready-to-use, predefined voicebot prepared to be used in specific processes within chosen industries or customize it according to customer’s specifications. In both scenarios, the voicebot can be quickly set up and implemented into existing operations.

Tough times for your business? Try voicebot!

We can provide any type of voicebot solution just for you. All you need to do is this first step which is contacting us and telling us about your business. We can provide exactly what you need to simplify your current operations. With a voicebot, your firm will be safe in times of pandemic, but not only. Once you try this solution you won’t let it go. Automatization and data organization is unbeatable. And that’s the key to give your customers an even better experience and grow your company’s value. So? Will you say “hello” to Hellobot by iteo? 😉