The chatbot conversation

This week on the Boagworld Show we talk Chatbots, understanding colleagues and usability testing best practice.

Skip to the discussion or this week’s links.

This weeks show is sponsored by Proposify and Awwwards.

Paul: Hello and welcome to the Boagworld show. The podcast about all aspects of digital design, development, strategy and apparently drugs! As we’ve been discussing earlier before we stared recording. My name is Paul Boag and joining me on this week’s show is Andy Clark, Sam Barnes, Marcus Lillington and Ryan Taylor. Hello all.

Marcus: Hello

Andy: Hello

Sam: Hello

Ryan: Hello

Paul: I figured we needed to be honest about our sins.

Ryan: There is no sins here, mate.

Paul: That’s true, it’s just Andy.

Andy: It’s not just Andy!

Paul: Well you bought the subject up.

Andy: I did bring the subject at because I just think that it’s, well, can we talk about this on the podcast, I don’t know? For the listeners who are now very intrigued, I was… they are going to think I am on it right now! With this high-pitched voice…

Ryan: That would explain a lot Andy.

Andy: I seem to have developed this rather high-pitched voice. I was just wondering whether or not it was a good idea to take LSD. That is all I was talking about.

Marcus: There was a politician in the 60s that took it to see what all the fuss was about and he rated it massively highly! So there you go. There’s an answer for you.

Andy: I read an something recently about this person, I think it was in America, about micro dosing with LSD because apparently it’s about 80 – 100 mg you need for tripping. But this person takes 5 or 10 mg every day and it’s been massively beneficial to her mental health and creative output and all that kind of stuff. And I was just kind of intrigued by this. I’m never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Sam: Although she probably looks like Doc Brown from Back to the Future by now I imagine! (Laughter)

Andy: So there you go, that’s the extent of our drug conversation for those listeners that were wondering.

Paul: What’s the one that… You see I’m showing my ignorance, I’m very naïve. I could do with something that kind of hypes me up and gives me a lot of energy right now. What’s that? Speed, that’s it! Course it is.

Marcus: Or cocaine.

Paul: All right, one of those would do. The other worst thing that I could… I was saying before the show started LSD is a really bad idea for me. My mind is altered enough, adding LSD on top of it would not help. The other one that I really think would be really bad for me, I haven’t even smoked weed because I just think I would fall asleep and start dribbling down my own front.

Sam: That’s the idea.

Andy: Well, I don’t want people to get the impression that I am some sort of addled, drug addled stoner because I’m the guy that can’t actually have caffeine any more, so… (laughter)

Paul: And you want to take LSD?!

Andy: A can of Coke and I’m completely freaked out so, yeah!

Marcus: So what does caffeine do to you then?

Andy: Ooo, well you see I used to smoke very heavily as you know and when I quit I started to get this really strange experience. It was like my head had this sort of great big lump at the front. It felt like it was throbbing right at the very front between my eyes and I got this really strange sensation which was like my hands were were almost like inflated. It felt like I was wearing boxing gloves. They weren’t, they weren’t swollen up at all but it turns out that nicotine which I used to have a lot of, is a caffeine inhibitor so I used to be able to drink espresso and then sleep like a log. And now because there’s no nicotine even a can of Coke and I am a total headcase.

Paul: Do you know that thing you just said about inflated hands. I used to get that as a kid when I got a fever that it felt like all my hands were swollen up and I thought I was a bit wierd for being like this, it turns out it’s quite common thing amongst kids. Actually, someone wrote a song about it once.

Marcus: Pink Floyd. You are quoting Pink Floyd lyrics.

Paul: There we go, see!

Marcus: Comfortably numb it’s called.

Ryan: This is how boring I am, my body is a temple, I don’t even drink. The only thing I drink is tea. And if I don’t have tea…

Paul: Hang on, hang on.

Ryan: What? My body is a temple.

Paul: I’ve seen your body… Well not all of your body! (Laughter)

Ryan: It’s a very well upholstered temple but the (laughter) but the only thing I drink is tea and Pepsi. And if I don’t drink tea I have a similar reaction to the people who come of coffee. Because that is like as extreme as it gets. The caffeine in tea is as extreme as it gets with me. That’s how rock-and-roll I am!

Andy: E, you are a Wendy you are! (Laughter)

Paul: Marcus, you took loads… You experimented with lots of things when you are young, you were a popstar…

Marcus: I did, I was in the music business, it was part of the job.

Ryan: It came with your paycheck didn’t it?

Marcus: Paycheck, what’s one of those?

Paul: But you always strike me… you’re not an addictive personal at all are you? You don’t seem to…

Marcus: I don’t think I am, no. Because I think if you are an addictive kind of personality then that… If you like to drink then you start thinking about it in the mornings and if you smoke then you get up thinking “I need to smoke.” And I’ve never been like that so no. I like to binge! Rather than continually feed myself, that make sense?

Paul: Yes,

Marcus: Just talking about smoking and drinking now, nothing else. Far too old for that all that stuff. It would make me feel sick it would!

Paul: What amazes me is the different attitudes towards it. I was a party, I think it was at South By in America and somebody was smoking weed and it was like he had stripped naked and walked across the room. You know, there was this really very different attitude towards it of “wow how shocking that is.” And I know it is illegal out there and it is illegal here as well but it was very different reaction, it surprised me.

Marcus: Well, quite a lot of American states it is no longer illegal. So…

Paul: No. Which… My son keeps going on about that. My 14 year old son says that we should legalise marijuana. And that’s like “Okay, any particular reason James? Is there anything you want to tell me!?”

Marcus: I disagree with that by the way, even though I’m of a liberal leaning. Two reasons; one is it encourages smoking which is obviously not a good thing. Because it is impossible, I don’t care who you are, it is impossible to just smoke weed and not smoke tobacco. And, what’s the other reason, oh yeah, it is so strong these days that it is actually, I think, mind altering. I don’t know why I think that but I do.

Paul: Well there we go.

Marcus: I think it’s bad, bad.

Paul: Marcus has stated things the way things are and that that is done then. If you disagree then I am sorry but you are wrong. You need to change your mind.

Marcus: You know, I have smoked for 35 years and it’s like I’d really rather I didn’t. I can’t… I don’t know how you did it Andy but I can’t kick it.

Ryan: Have you tried E-cigs?

Marcus: Yeah, horrid.

Ryan: You don’t like them.

Marcus: No

Ryan: So are cigarettes though, you know.

Marcus: Yeah, different. Different horrid.

Paul: The horrid that you’re used to. So how was your time in Washington, did you have a good time in DC?

Marcus: It was kind of weird actually because I was out there on my own which is rare, it was really cold, I’d never been there when it’s really cold before and there were a lot of protesters which was kind of good in some ways. But yeah, I had the Sunday to myself. I always fly out on Saturday because it makes the flights cheaper, and it gives you time to acclimatise all that kind of thing. And I was kind of left with this whole Sunday all to myself. Said “what shall I do?” And you are always up really early because of the jetlag, although interesting I never feel jetlagged I just get up early and go to bed early but anyway. So I went walking miles, I went down to the Jefferson Memorial I had never been that far before and I found the Roosevelt Memorial which I didn’t even know existed. And I’m looking at all these wonderful wise words about equality and thinking globally and all this kind of stuff so I took lots of pictures of those and shared them on Facebook and said that Donald should go and have a look at what’s just in his backyard. But yeah, I went to the art museums, went to their modern one and their ancient one and then I decided that I would get a taxi back home and I walked out and everywhere was gridlocked because there were so many marches going on. So I did a lot of walking!

Paul: You didn’t join a march then?

Marcus: I went and had a look and smiled at some of the banners and things like that. But it was yeah, interesting. A little bit different.

Paul: Yeah, that’s a very different vibe. Ooo.

Marcus: I’ll be back out again in six or seven weeks.

Paul: Oh really? Not long then.

Andy: I don’t know whether you saw it or saw it in the guidebook or even went there, but there’s a museum in Washington called the Newseum.

Marcus: I’ve seen it, I’ve been past the front of it because they do the different, they have the headlines up in the window don’t they. If I’m thinking of the same place, yeah. I’ve never been inside. But I know where it is.

Paul: What is it?

Andy: Basically it’s a museum of newspapers. Print publications, magazines, newspapers et cetera and they have collections of magazines and newspapers that go back to, well, declaration of independence. They’ve actually got the real newspapers that you kind of pull out on these drawers and it’s all low lit to preserve the materials and stuff. I spent about a day and 1/2 in there. It is fabulous.

Marcus: There is so much to see, I mean their National art gallery is something else. I don’t know why, I wasn’t expecting much, I was thinking “It’s not going to be as good as the Louvre or as good as our National portrait Gallery or anything like that.” But it is wonderful. And I was lost in there about three hours. So yes, there’s a hell of a lot to see.

Paul: Cool, it sounds like a really good time. I fancy going back to Washington it’s been ages.

Marcus: Well, you can with us on the next trip, Paul. There are five of us going this time. We’ve got room for one more!

Paul: Crikey, that’s a lot of you.

Ryan: Is this to see a client?

Marcus: Yeah, yeah. A new client.

Ryan: You know I have never travelled abroad to go and visit a client. I work with some clients for as long as 18 months who were in a different country and I’ve never been out to see anybody. I’m just stuck in this room.

Marcus: You should always find a reason because I think… You carry on Paul.

Paul: I was going to say, I was about to say exactly that, you find a reason to do it. A) because you enjoy it but also B) because it makes such a difference to the client working relationship.

Marcus: Dead right. Yeah, I mean this time… We are still learning because our previous trip went out last year, we thought we would try and bung everything in to…. doing stakeholder interviews, workshops, the whole lot, we were going to do it in one solid five day session and we would have two streams of work and all this kind of thing. And it was too much and we learnt from that. This time I’ve just gone out on my own to do some interviews and do some initial kind of very basic high-level workshop type stuff but mostly just interviews. And then that… we can absorb all that and refine what we’ve learnt from that and then go out and do the workshops in a couple of months time. So yes.

Ryan: How do you, sorry,…

Paul: No, go on Ryan

Ryan: I was going to say how you account for all the cost of all the travelling out and stuff? Do you just roll out into your overall quote? Or do you… Because it’s like, it’s always felt like to me that if you were going to go out and visit a client as you are going to be there for three or four days and you’ve got accommodation and flights and everything else you’re suddenly slapping on a bill, expenses. How do you account for that? Without going “Oh, just don’t come and we can save three grand.”

Marcus: If they want to say “Don’t come, and will save three grand” then I will say “Yep, fine we can do that remotely and we can talk over GoToMeeting and zoom and all these kind of things and try get it as close to meeting in person as we can. We can do that but we would rather meet you at least once. As part of this. There is a cost in it involved.” My first tip of the day, don’t try and save your receipts and then charge them back to the client. Just agree on a figure up front that they pay and then you try and make sure that you come inside that figure. Because trying to save up receipts and things like that in an utter nightmare, and the last thing you want to be doing.

Andy: That is a very, very good piece of advice. And I would include that in all kind of client projects. Not just trips abroad.

Paul: Yeah, fixed price expenses.

Marcus: Exactly.

Paul: Way to go. Well I’ve just come back from London. I was… which isn’t anywhere near as glamorous but I was doing the Awwwards conference.

Marcus: Oh yeah, I wanted to go to that but I couldn’t because I was in Washington.

Paul: Well, do you know what. I think you really missed out. It was actually really good. Now this is a bit awkward because were kind of going into the sponsor section now but none of this is what they’ve asked me to say. In fact they haven’t really asked me to say anything this show. So consider this the sponsor section but it is all true. It was a really good… Not that my sponsor section are normally not true! (Laughter) That came out wrong! Yeah. No, it was a really good conference. Do you know what I really enjoyed about it, Andy you’ll like this, it was a very diverse conference. Not in the kind of gender or minorities or any of that way, but in what was being talked about. The trouble, you go along to these web conferences and it’s all web designers talking about web design. Which isn’t very good for the inspiration stuff, and Andy brings a different book every week and he’s talking about Neville Brody and that kind of stuff which by the way, came up. But this conference had lots of different people from lots of different disciplines. So there was an amazing woman that did… she was a fashion designer did haute couture but it was… it had technology built into. So some really good stuff. Sam, you would like this right, one of her outfits, one of her outfits was a very, I think should have been designed by a British person. She was actually she was from Belgium [Transcribers note: Netherlands actually] but when you get too close to her when she’s wearing this outfit, (laughter) it let out a smoke, so it creates this smoke field and you can run away, you see, you can get away from her.

Sam: Wow!

Paul: She did another one which was built around the appearance of a spider.

Ryan: Seen this.

Paul: Have you seen this? So it’s got this legs on the shoulders, all round the shoulders, now what you might not have seen when you saw it is that it responds to depending on how you walk up to it.

Sam: Sorry Paul, it sounds like you’ve done acid at this party! (Laughter)

Paul: I know, I know, it really does doesn’t it! I think she must have. So if you walk up to this woman too fast when she’s wearing this outfit the spiders around her neck, the spider legs, leap forward and attack you. It was brilliant. So there was her doing that, there was a VR specialist who kind of was doing all kinds of things with virtual reality and art in virtual reality. There were several data visualisers but people that were hand drawing datasets rather than putting it all the data through a computer. There was Mr Bingo who you know Andy, don’t you?

Andy: I do. How did he do?

Paul: He was very funny. Very funny. But basically he has made a living out of insulting people which is great. He produced for years, he hasn’t done it for a while actually, he’s moved on to other things. But for years he produced… You can buy hand drawn postcard from him to send to anyone that essentially was just kind of is him insulting someone on your behalf. Which is brilliant, very funny. So he did loads of stuff. And then there were UX people as well, there were boring people like me giving talks about user experience but then there was augmented reality people that was stuff on chatbots, all kinds of real good mix of stuff. So, you missed out Marcus it would have been a good one.

Marcus: Oh well, next time.

Paul: Yeah.

Ryan: A lad I know who does a YouTube channel who was really built it up over the last few years called Tom Scott, he does a series called “Things you might not know.” And he does like amazing places, goes all over the place.

Paul: Oh yeah, I know the guy. He’s well known isn’t he.

Ryan: I don’t know if he’d remember me but I know him from basecamps up here and stuff. ’Cause he’s been… I’ve spoken to him a few times but he did that spider dress I’ll put a link in the show notes I’ve linked you to it here but he told us about the spider dress that you’re talking about. But he must have interviewed the same person that you met. Creepy!

Paul: Yeah, Yeah. Really inspirational conference and I guess that’s what I’ve taken away from it is that we need to widen our view of where we look for inspiration. Which is what you’ve been banging on about for weeks Andy isn’t it really?

Andy: I’ve been banging on about that for years mate.

Paul: Well yeah. So, I really think in the UX community we are in danger of kinda getting sidelined if we don’t start paying attention to the other stuff that is going on. I mean for example all the stuff about sensors that were in the dress, because she talked a lot about the technology, all the stuff about… talks about chatbots and how they could be used. I mean, all those are all things that make a big part of the user experience but we’re so obsessed with apps and pixels that we don’t look at them enough I think. Anyway it was a great place for inspiration. They’ve got another one coming up in LA. So there you go Marcus, you can go to the LA one in June.

Marcus: I’m on holiday in June.

Paul: Ahh.

Marcus: What’s the date? Not that I’m going but tell me anyway.

Paul: Right at the beginning I think, I don’t know exactly. I’d have to look.

Marcus: Somebody needs to tell me the next good conference in London or Oxford or something like that and I’ll go to that.

Paul: Yeah, oh, the first and second of June. Go on, go to LA. You know you want to.

Marcus: That would be nice but no, I won’t be doing that. Because I’ve got two holidays this year Paul and I’ve had to make the first one… because I’m 50 this year’s, and so is my wife. So we’re having a couple of holidays, we were trying to spread them out but they are actually… one’s in May and the other one’s in June so any time off in between wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

Paul: Oh, just take the time off permanently.

Marcus: Yeah just you all of May and June! You there you go, done!

Paul: All the way through. So, if you want to know more about Awwwards, because obviously all of the things that were covered in the conference have been covered on the site at various times and also there is this upcoming conference in LA. You can find out more by going to A,W,W,W,A,R,D,S.

Round Table Discussion

Paul: Right, let’s do the discussion. Now, other than Sam nobody has told me what they are covering again.

Marcus: I did.

Paul: Oh, did you?

Marcus: Yes, I did!

Paul: Oh, I just ignored you.

Marcus: Yeah, see! What does that say?

Paul: Do you want to go first then? Marcus?

Marcus: I can.

Paul: Go on then, you go first.

Marcus: Yeah, I’m going to talk about… we are you doing some usability testing of the moment so I thought I would talk about sort of good practice, well what we think is good practice, for usability testing. That’s what I’m going to talk about.

Paul: Go for it, I will judge wether I agree.

Marcus: Okay, I’ve just written a load of notes down, kind of brainstorm. Provide a detailed introduction, so don’t just kind of is dive into your questions. You need to explain to people what you are doing and why you’re doing it. People are likely, or testers, are likely to feel a bit nervous so you need to make them feel comfortable and make sure that they know that they are not being tested. That you are testing a thing. Their reaction whether it’s “I have got no clue how to use these thing is helpful.” Tell how long it is likely to take and potentially even how many questions you’ve got because that is the same as filling in a form because nobody likes to think “Is this gonna take two hours” when it’s only going to take 10 minutes say. And most important I would say, when you’re kind of setting up a test is to say that you’re going to really need them to think aloud and I guess as a facilitator you need to keep asking people “So, what are you thinking?” Because otherwise you’re just watching a mouse go around the screen and you don’t necessarily know why somebody is doing something.

Paul: Can I interupt?

Marcus: You can.

Paul: Can I ask a question? Do you lie to people? Because I always lie to people at the beginning of usability testing.

Marcus: Give me an example.

Paul: I always say to them I wasn’t involved in the production of this in anyway so you’re not going to upset me if you say it’s crap.

Marcus: That’s a very good point. Yes, because I rarely am… It’s normally if somebody, I suppose I would be involved in the UX aspect of a design but is normally that kind of visual related design, aesthetic design that I can always say “I had no part in that, so if you feel the need to criticise…” then yeah, I do say that.

Paul: Because people are too polite. Especially British people, we are terrible. “Well it’s very nice in its own way”

Marcus: Yeah, “in its own way!” But then if you are getting people to do a task then you’re not really necessarily asking people for their opinion, I suppose there’s a difference between design testing and usability testing. Because if you’re testing a design you’re testing whether, you know, people’s reaction to something whether it fits with the brand, that kind of thing. Then you are potentially getting into the grounds of “I don’t like the style, who designed this rubbish,” that kind of thing.

Sam: There’s just one thing on the talking out loud thing. Do you think that that would in any way affect their experience? Given that they wouldn’t usually do that.

Paul: Ooo!

Marcus: Yes, I guess it could but…

Sam: I mean, yeah, you gotta get the feedback. I’m just curious how… Because I think if I was on the spot doing that I might just be more analytical, I don’t know. It just kinda makes me think that I might attack things a little bit differently.

Marcus: Quite possibly and the fact that you are being tested, if you like, with some facilitator going “Hi, I’m Marcus and dah, dah, dah, dah…” will make the experience different in any way. And I think that we have to kind of except that the results we get arn’t hundred percent… You know, we shouldn’t necessarily do exactly what we are told in these situations because they are slightly false. But yeah, interesting I haven’t thought about that one. Moving on, so start off with some easy questions. What’s your name, how often you use the Internet, that kind of thing. Again, to settle people in.

Paul: Where do babies come from? (Laughter)

Marcus: You could do that one! Do you do that in your testing sessions Paul?

Paul: My son… It’s my son he always comes into the room and starts… and says can I ask a question? Which I always think is a really weird way of starting a conversation. So I say to him “ Do you want to know where babies come from?” Which he finds hilarious every single time as you can imagine.

Marcus: Yes, so you’re on the 150th time of saying that Paul now!

Paul: Well, now he’s becoming a teenager I’ve started recently changing it to “How do I access the porn?” (Laughter) Which he doesn’t appreciate either!

Marcus: No, I bet he doesn’t, I bet that makes him feel very uncomfortable.

Paul: Yeah, exactly.

Marcus: Coming from Dad!

Ryan: He knows how to get better stuff than you do![Transcribers note: This is my son they are talking about! Although I am very aware of Pauls annoying question, I’m not entirely sure I want to be hearing this part of the conversation!][Transcribers note: This is my son they are talking about! Although I am very aware of Pauls annoying question, Im not entirely sure I want to be hearing this part of the conversation!] My wife has to transcribe this and now you’ve planted in her mind, she will be devastated that her little boy can access better porn than her husband.

Marcus: That’s a dangerous circle…

Paul: Apologise to my wife Ryan, go on.

Ryan: To be honest you’ve got no idea what she’s looking up either Transcribers note: Whaat!!!!

Andy: Cath, check the Opera browser history. Thats the browser that people use for porn. Opera.

Paul: Opera is it? Okay,

Marcus: Really?

Paul: I can’t be very good then because I don’t think I’ve got opera installed any more. Opera? Oh no I have! Oh shit! (Laughter)

Marcus: I used Opera but then it started breaking.

Paul: I feel that we have gone off on a tangent again.

Marcus: Yeah, what we talking about? Oh yes, testing because it was so exciting we felt we had to put a bit…

Paul: A bit about porn in there!

Marcus: Yeah, exactly. Here’s a really obvious one but I guess it’s worth saying. Decide what you want to test before you start writing any questions. And test against the highest priority user requirements and business objectives. So, let’s say, I can’t think of an example of the top of my head, but way back at the start of the project you will have prioritised what users… Who’s your highest priority user group and what is their requirements for the site. You would have put those in the priorities. So test the highest priorities stuff because what I was going to… the next point I was going to say is “don’t try and test too much” because they will get bored. Probably about 15 minutes is the maximum time that you’re going to get out of somebody. I guess that… Maybe some people disagree with that but I find a) fatigue will set in. Or maybe overfamiliarity as well. I’m rambling now but you get the point. You need to basically decide what you’re going to tests and make sure that you are selecting from those tests things that are really important rather than kind of edge case kind type stuff. So logical, but a good place to start. Don’t worry too much about handholding them. This is again may be a contentious points but I think if people are getting really lost, just help them. It doesn’t matter. Just say “go back to the homepage” or whatever and “We’ll start this one again because you’re obviously lost.” Nothing wrong with that. And finally I would recommend recording the interview and also taking notes. Preferably somebody else can take notes while you are facilitating all the better because just recorded sessions can be a right pain to go back through all of them again if you’ve got a written notes that helpful. So yeah, that’s me. On usability testing.

Paul: I like it! I like it a lot. That thing about taking notes and not just relying on the videos is good because you’re right, you want to kill yourself after you’ve sat through a dozen user tests in sessions! Okay, that’s cool. I think I’ll go next if that’s all right because one of the talks at Awwwards was by a guy called Adrian Zumbrunnen and he was speaking on chatbots. Now, I don’t how you guys feel about chatbots but I’ve been a little bit dismissive of them. I felt like, you know, it’s like everything isn’t it? When you’ve been in the industry this long you’ve watched things… You know, trends come and go and it’s like “Oh really?” So it was all websites, then it was all flash and then it was all Web 2.0 and then it was all mobile apps and now it’s chatbots. Chatbots of the cool thing, really?! And so I was pretty cynical when he started talking. And one of my big problems with chatbots and the idea of chatbots as a way of interfacing and accessing information is that they are pretty thick, you know what I mean? They are always kind of… You type in something and it doesn’t understand it. It’s like Siri and all of these kinds of things, it’s just not quite there, it’s not quite intelligent enough. But Adrian shared his own website. Let me just ping you guys the link which is a,z,u,m,b,r,u,n,n,e,

Ryan: Rolls of the tongue that one. (Laughter)

Paul: It really does. Well it’s a-zumbrunnen isn’t it .me, and it’s really good because it is the majority of the interface… You’re greeted immediately by a chatbot although you can scroll down and you get to the rest of his website. Which is… So he’s got the normal information as well but the primary interface when you arrive is a chatbot that goes “Hi there I’m Adrian a UX designer living in Zurich Switzerland. Want to know more or do you want to get in touch?” So, instead of it being this kind of open ended conversation he basically gives you options. It’s almost like one of those choose your own adventure books from back in the day right? Which is really nice and in his presentation he kind of stepped us through some of the interactions and conversations and it was really quite a pleasant way of interacting with the website and finding out more about somebody. He told stories about how actually a lot of people thought they were having a real-time conversation with him because he was limiting their choices in how they replied, they weren’t almost aware that their choices were being limited but it meant that the replies were incredibly tailored to them and, you know, felt very real. So I guess all I wanted to say in the show is don’t dismiss chatbots but instead check out this website, have a look. Because I think it’s an interesting way of interacting in certain situations. I mean one of the things that nicest on his site actually, and the bit I like most, is when you say “I want to get in touch” and then the contact form is essentially a kind of interactive conversation. Which is a very nice way of doing it rather than endlessly filling in fields in a form. And I really liked that. I’ve always liked that idea of a conversational UI for forms. Jeremy Keith used to do it on one of his sites. I can’t remember which one it was. And it actually works extremely well. The other thing that is really nice about this chatbot is that it is very context sensitive so if you go back to the site it says “welcome back.” It also takes into account some geo-positioning on you as well. Not massively accurate but enough to narrow it down. And it uses all kinds of… It stores some of the answers that you gave before so it remembers you. All of those kinds of things so it’s very, very clever and very, very well done. So, yes, check that out. Not got anything else to say on that. As has nobody else sounds of it either. So there you go.

Marcus: I have. I think that anything that relies on people kind of talking out loud for, you know, in any kind of connection with others through technology, it only works in certain situations. You can’t do it in an office…

Paul: Oh, this isn’t a speak out loud thing.

Marcus: Oh, isn’t it? Am I being thick?

Paul: The chat… It’s a type thing you type in your answers.

Marcus: I write, it’s a type thing sorry I thought it was a talky thing. You mentioned Siri.

Paul: Yeah, I did, but no. I’m thinking like a messenger app basically.

Marcus: Oh, okay. And also the other thing that I’d always associate… I’ve been equally thick, don’t worry Marcus, I had as well. In my head I had always associated chatbots as “Oh, okay so you need to download some software, you need to be running Facebook Messenger or whatever.” But what I like about Adrian is that he has embedded it into his website as a way of interacting. I mean, I don’t know whether I would use it quite as he has done where… He has obviously showing off what his specialty is. But you could certainly imagine using it for more complex interactions like the kind of things that we would traditionally do as a wizard for a long multipage form or something like that would work really well as chat I think.

Marcus: Yeah, what I hadn’t got with this site is that there is no… It’s literally click on this box or that box. Which kind of once you start interacting with it is cool. But I was looking for a way of… I was expecting a kind of text box or “Oh, I’m supposed to talk am I?” That’s when I got confused. So yes maybe the UX isn’t quite what it could be/should be.

Sam: You could use that kind of thing for FAQs or even for an agency site, a way to engage a prospective new client as again, rather than a contact form you can actually take them through a little bit more of an engaging thing. It does seem a bit like a, dare I say it, a bit of a novelty at the moment? But there’s something… You could do things with it for sure.

Paul: Yeah, you’re right, it is. And part of the appeal of this site is that it’s a novelty, it is something different. And I am not denying that, and I don’t think it is going to whole sale replace… I mean theres some people… Every time this new trend comes along “Oh, apps are going to replace the websites” and it never quite happens like that.

Sam: Are you not wearing your Google glasses right now then Paul?

Paul: No, no I’m not. Not at this exact moment no. I mean obviously I will do when I get up from my desk in a minute, yeah! But even he hasn’t done that, as you scroll down you can get to the information as you have before but I just think it’s a… in certain situations it’s an alternate way of interacting. So yeah, I think that’s cool. All right, Ryan, what have you got for us?

Ryan: Okay. So continuing my kind of theme of finding services that are useful for developers, today is So, This is an error tracking service, real-time error tracking service. So you plug this into your platform and any exceptions or errors that it throws it keeps track of them. It tells you how often they are being thrown and when they are being thrown and various other bits of information so that you can actually go in and fix those problems. Because… So, we use a lot of laravel which is a PHP framework and Vue which is a JavaScript framework. So you can actually connect this service to both of them and it will pick up laravel exceptions whenever an error is thrown and JavaScript errors from the Vue framework. So it’s just really useful for ensuring that you are not missing any issues that people aren’t reporting.

Paul: Yeah.

Ryan: So you can actually… You can also prioritise things that you need to fix. So if you’ve got an exception that is running that is throwing 10 times a day then that is something that you need to prioritise over something that is being thrown once a month. But it still gives you a list of things.… Just maintenance, just kind of tracking down big problems and it can be anything from when a form submits somebody has put a weird character into the field and it is thrown an exception. They don’t necessarily see an error but they just know that it didn’t work and particularly if it’s someone who is using your site for the first time they may just give up that point and go away. And you need to get on top of that, they’re not going to get in touch and report that kind of issue. It’s really nice Sentry, it’s not badly priced and is not the only one out there, there’s lots of different other services that do this, new relic, is kind of a big one which is quite expensive and it goes into kind of a lot more micro-detail. But this one is quite an affordable one for quite a cheap monthly fee. And it’s really easy to set up, you know, like including it in a laravel build it is like one include and about three lines of code and then suddenly it is picking up every exception that laravel is throwing. The same kind of thing with vue, you just include a JavaScript file and set one bit of code and it just picks up all the vue errors. So it’s really easy to include is kind of a quick win when you’re maintaining something long-term. It lets you pick up lots and lots of things going on so I thought I would recommend that one today.

Paul: I was thinking that the nice thing to do with this would be to integrate it with fullstory that I talked about before. That service that records the DOM and allows you to watch it back like a video. So that essentially when you see an entry in Sentry saying something has gone wrong there will be an associated video where you can watch what that actually was like for the user and inspect the Dom as well of the experience. So I did a quick Google to see if the two work together and you can use something called cloudpipes to integrate the two with one another. So yeah, there’s all kinds of possibilities for something like that.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s pretty cool it has got various platforms that you can integrate into just… You can write your own integration as well but it helps you with… Right off the back, it’s not just laravel, you can do it with cocoa for Apple apps and stuff like that. But it also integrates in with a lot of third party services so you could have it, if you wanted, whenever an exception gets detected it puts a message out on slack or you have an issue if you are using Trello for managing your little maintenance tasks you can actually turn a Sentry issue into a Trello card. You know, one click and then assign it to somebody. So yes, it’s got some really good integration as well. All the kind of ones you’ve come to expect these days. All the big-player integrations. But yes, definitely worth a look and it’s affordable so it’s one of those things that if you’re just starting out building an app, I mean it’s got a lot of features into it, so I’m not saying it’s only for small-time, you know, apps and it won’t work with the bigger ones but it’s got that price point where it’s affordable for people who are just starting with something and they need this level of tracking and alert and that kind of stuff. But, you know, budgets are limited, this one is a good one to get started with.

Paul: Well they’ve certainly got some big names. So it supports some big names.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah

Paul: You know, dropbox use it, Airbnb, Stripe, Uber so… It must do its thing. Cool, all right next up Sam. So you want to talk about introverts versus extroverts.

Sam: I do. So I celebrated a big birthday last week. It was the 40th. And I had lots of family and friends all trying to get me to do something special to celebrate. But I kind of politely declined all of that and stayed in my little flat with my cat and my friend and we watched TV and that was about it and you know what, I was really happy. I felt really relaxed and so I just thought, again, I talk about this all the time both at conferences and even everyone I work with but I just thought for the benefit of the listeners going into it again, very briefly talk about what it is, how I found it and how I think it… Or some ways it affects how we work in our particular space. So off the back of that the book recommendation is called “Quiet” by an author called Susan Cain. And I have to say it’s one of those books where, you know you read it and basically the world has changed after it. It’s just taught you so many things, in this case it was about me, which is what I kind of expected, but also about others which I didn’t but that was also very good. So I thought I would go through a few little things about introversion and extroversion and then how it relates. So firstly one of the key lessons is that no one is a pure introvert or extrovert, we all exist on a scale. Now we do move up and down on this scale in our lifetime, even perhaps during the day but generally during big phases of our life if, not all of it, we kind of reside around the same area. The people that reside in the middle are said to have the best of both words worlds and they are called ambiverts. I think when I first started talking about this people didn’t know there was a thing called ambivert, perhaps you’re one? Another thing people sort of often gets confused with is that there are actually both pros and cons to being an introvert or an extrovert but essentially introversion has developed a negative reputation and really, as far as I can work out, it is mostly down to numbers. Simply one in three people are introverted compared to 2 to 3 been extroverted so that’s really where I guess we get outvoted, I guess you could say. The biggest mistake, one of the biggest things I want to talk about is the fact that so many people think that introversion is to do with being shy, how you look or how you act. But actually this book blew my mind because it made me realise that actually it’s got nothing to do with that whatsoever and instead it’s got everything to do with how you react to stimulation and recharge your own energy levels. So I will go into that in a bit but one thing in the book that really blew me away was that until the turn of the 20th century there wasn’t even a word or concept of introversion. It just didn’t exist. The only reason that changed was that we as a society, especially in the US, we moved from agricultural way of life to an industrial way of life. What that means is that people moved from sort of isolated farms where they have grown up and their generations before had done that and then suddenly they were moved to populated cities where work… basically the boardroom became a thing where you had to be loud to be heard. There was a historian called Warren Susman, I think this is the lovely way to put it, and they said… They describe this shift “from a culture of character to a culture of personality.” In other words “a culture appreciating who we are deep down would replace with the culture of how we are perceived by others.” And I just thought that was an incredibly astute observation that I can certainly relate to. Other things that i don’t think people realise was that where you reside on the scale, you know, how much of an introvert or extrovert you are also actually is partly to do with biology, it’s not just to do with your social surroundings. So we’ve all got this part of our brain called the reticular activating system which is commonly known as the RAS. Studies have quite shown that in introverted people this particular part of the brain, which I should say responds to all sorts of stimuli, from anything from food, music and also social interaction. So the reticular activating system in introverts, it already… It has a very high level of activity even when it is not being stimulated. So when it is stimulated, so for instance, when I go… I am surrounded by lots of noise and lots of people it doesn’t take very long before it kind of becomes… It just gets over the top and becomes for me to be comfortable with so I have to sort of back off. Thats my instinct. But one thing the book taught me was that extroverts, you know, I used to think that extroverts were kind of like a loud brash… I was making the same mistakes, essentially, that people were making of me but I didn’t recognise it until I read this book. So extroverts they tend to have a very low activity level in this part of the brain. So actually they need to stimulate it quite a lot before they reach the same sort of comfort level that we are both looking for. They have even done tests on… You can even do tests on babies, I wouldn’t advise it that you do it yourself but they’ve done a medical test on babies where they will simply put lemon juice on the tongue of babies and they will see by the amounts that each baby salivates, whether that child is more, kind of, leaning towards introversion simply because you’ve put lemon juice on the tongue. In an introvert you are going to salivate a lot because you’re already active. Whereas for an extrovert it kind of doesn’t tend to do as much. So just a few little facts there. How it plays into our space… I’m sure many others as well but particularly ours, that I’m aware of, is that over my decade in the business what I have noticed is that the ratio of introverts and extroverts in production and non-production teams tends to be quite… There seems to be a trend to me. In my experience essentially production folk tend to have a higher proportion of introverts and you get more extroverts in your non-production. So your sales, account management, CEOs, whatever you want. That’s fine except that in our model, I think even now, I think non-production people are often put in positions of authority over production people and I think that’s where if you… I think that’s where it gets a little bit tricky at times where if you don’t understand the differences in people. So anything from work socials where you know your attendance at this after work or whatever loud party is actually linked to your loyalty, or your feeling of acceptance in the company. And I think this is a real big thing. I have spent years thinking the wrong things about people that love doing that as they have me who don’t. If I just know this stuff sort of 10, 15 years ago I would have just seen it a little bit different. Other things I have noticed over my time is that when I didn’t understand this stuff I would often be part of pre-sales or account management and I would be working with an account manager or an MD or someone in sales or whatever it might be and actually we would often butt heads about how we would go about selling a piece of work or pricing it or anything really. What I realise now that also linked to introversion and extroversion is very much about risk. So introverts tend to be much more risk averse than extroverts. The reason for that is simply because… I used to think extroverts i.e. people that sell things way too cheaply or seem to like winging it, I thought that they were just a bit crazy. But actually that’s the bit of the job that really does it for them. They enjoy the buzz. What I was doing by trying to sort of rein that in as an introvert, being risk averse, I just thought being kind of sensible, I would actually take away the very thing that they enjoyed that made work fun for them. And if I could go back sort of 10 or 15 years and work with these people again knowing what I know now I think I can really understand how a team of an introvert and extrovert is actually a really, really strong team because while the extrovert is going to keep selling, and thats fun for them, and I’m going to keep pulling them back, I think at the same time because I am the way I am I’m not going to be too entrepreneurial, maybe to risk averse… You know, when sometimes when you’re running, especially a small company you’ve got to take a few risks here and there. I think that if the extrovert is kind of aware that I am a bit risk averse, they might pull me into that world. But at the same time where they are taking it a little bit too far from their end I can kind of rein them in a bit. and I think this is like… With that kind of understanding you should be able to join forces and balance each other, each other’s weaker areas and become a stronger team. I think this is you know, diversity is talked about an awful lot, we talked about it on this podcast already and I think that it does produce the best results but I think there’s often more to diversity than, as you say, just gender and race and stuff. This introvert and extrovert mix again is one of many types of diversity that I think if it was more understood than I think we could really utilise it a lot better. Thats all I’ve got on that.

Marcus: Superb.

Andy: That’s really interesting. What would you class… You see people are such a mix though because you think that people that are… You perceive them as being confident and you know, you mentioned sales there. The sort of things that I did for a very long time was I used to knock on doors and sell camera equipment and you have to have a certain amount of confidence to do that and I actually used to really enjoy it. You mentioned kind of this buzz of selling, well to me it was no different now doing a conference talk as it used to be closing a big deal.

Sam: And me being an introvert I kind of get traumatised by doing conference talks, you know. So it’s the same reason we’re doing it but we just experience it very differently.

Andy: But then you think “Oh, he’s just a very confident person, or he or she is a very confident” you know, being able to get up to that kind of thing.

Sam: But it’s just not true!

Andy: Exactly, the people that do are generally the people that are, you know, incredibly nervous or get off stage and they’ll go back to a hotel room and they’ll be just, they’ll want to be really quiet. You know, it’s often it’s the front.

Sam: I must admit until I started speaking… I won’t say any names but I did a conference, I hadn’t done very many and there was a person that was speaking and when they spoke they would… You know when someone’s on stage and you just like “I want to be them,” like however they are doing this I don’t know how they’re doing it, they’re just powerful they don’t seem to need to see their notes, they just so amazingly, just brilliant. I had spoken at this conference which is quite a daunting thing for me and so, as you say I actually waited until the end of the conference and then just kind of legged it pretty quick because I needed to get back to my little space. I actually saw this very person who had done the last talk of the day down the side of the conference hall, in an alley essentially, not convulsing but hyperventilating to the point where you could just tell that this person just needs to be left alone, it really just shocked me. It made me realise that a) it’s not just me and b) it’s that classic thing of you’re judging people, how people appear on the outside by how you feel on the inside all that kind of business.

Andy: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Sam: You can’t. So yeah.

Marcus: I’ve got one point that I want to add there because I must fit the extrovert bill. I mean I’ve been in sales and standing on stages in all things like that all my life but I struggle… Being in Washington, this is why it’s come up. I struggled to motive myself to go and do things. I’ll just sit there and read a book all day, stuck in my hotel room. I’m just wondering whether that is laziness or whether that is a kind of type of introvert.

Sam: It depends. The kind way to tell is where… Essentially when I go… When I’m at a pub or party or whatever I am a very different person than I am at work so a lot of people at work can’t believe I’m an introvert because at work I’m comfortable. I know what to talk about I know the people you can literally take me out of there and put me in another place and I am a different person. Essentially the fact is how you feel when you’re in an environment thats very… Has high stimulation. So if you tend to find that… Okay so at the very extreme, when you keep an introvert at a party they are going to get really anxious and want to leave straight away. And the minute they get home to an environment that they find comfortable they begin to recharge and feel great. And that is the end of it.

Andy: That’s me.

Sam: Yeah, the same. That’s definitely me. I didn’t realise that but a lot of people… Again, the reason this book was so great was because despite knowing all this about me I was judging other people so wrongly. Party animals, I’ve said it openly so I can say… I genuinely thought that most of them were pretty dim and didn’t have any hobbies. Didn’t have the kind of things that we have at home and therefore what you do, you go out. But no, no, what I realised is that if you keep an extrovert at home for any length of time they will begin to feel how I feel at a party. They will feel very uncomfortable, they will need to get out and only then will they be able to begin to relax. So actually both types of people trying to surround themselves in the same environment, or the environment that makes them feel the same. That kind of “I feel comfortable.” And yet we will constantly look at the other one and say “You’re weird, you’re crazy you’re not right”. So I would say Marcus that it doesn’t sound, maybe you’re an ambivert, maybe you like a bit of both. That’s fine. And again that it’s a scale no one’s like either one or the other. It’s a scale so… Yeah.

Marcus: Yeah, I’m a bit ambidextrous. (Laughter)

Sam: There you go then.

Paul: Okay Andy, we should come to you next really shouldn’t we. But I’m not going to.

Andy: Oh, what can I say!

Paul: Well, we’ve had a book. See, Sam’s taken your glory with his book!

Andy: It’s because I talked about LSD at the beginning of the show isn’t it?

Marcus: It is, yes.

Paul: Yeah, you’re being punished.

Andy: Yes.

Paul: You’re being punished, there you go. So let’s… That was really interesting Sam thank you for that. It’s a fascinating topic we could have gone on for ages on that actually.

But we’re going to talk about our second sponsor if we can, which is Proposify. We were talking about sales and doing sales stuff and Proposify helps you streamline your sales so, you know, your proposal writing and all the rest of it. And it’s really nice because it helps you feel in control of all those various deals and proposals past and present. So you can know how your team is getting along and you can measure all the metrics that you want to. So one of the things that is really nice about Proposify is that obviously you are anxious to get your deal closed and so Proposify will tell you when the client has opened your email, is viewing your proposal, what they have looked at most. So you’ve got a real sense of what is going on with each individual deal. You can also see which team members have made edits to your proposal. So if you’ve got multiple people working on the proposal you can see what’s going on there as well. If you have got a team of salespeople, if you are a larger agency with multiple people creating proposals, you can look at people’s success rates of individual, of teams, how your success rate of the particular clients, so there are some clients which convert better that kind of stuff. And also you get a snapshot of what is happening now. So the status of your entire sales pipeline so you know which proposals are due when, which are waiting for a sign off, which had been signed off and all of those kinds of things. So it provides you with all kinds of really useful data to get the job done. So you can find out more about Proposify by going to and if you put /Boagworld then we get the credit for it which is great. Thank you very much. Right, before we wrap up I want to very quickly talk about the upcoming workshop that I’ve got. Basically I’m inserting an advert rather than Andy talking about his book.

Andy: Yes, I was just going to mention that!

Paul: Yeah, so we’ve got time for me to talk about my workshop we don’t have time for Andy to talk about his book. Because you know, what’s more important really? So I’m running an online workshop on persuasive design, so it’s a virtual workshop. It’s for 1 1/2 hour sessions spread over four weeks. So that’s one session per week and we are looking at the subject of persuasive design. So how to encourage users to take action, and to make that purchase or complete that contact form or whatever your call to action is. And we look at lots of different areas so we look at calls to action, we look at persuasive copy, we look at psychology in the web, how to build trust, all those kinds of good things. So it’s a good introduction to the idea of persuasive design and getting the most out of it. The first part of it starts on 2nd March 2017, so not long now. And, do you know what, I’m going to just make this up. If you enter the code podcast, that sounds like a good code, then you will get 20% off the ticket price as well so there you go.

So where can people find out about each of you? So Andy as you had your book taken away from you, you get to say where people can find out about you first.

Andy: Oo, like that matters.

Paul: Well,

Ryan: Everybody knows who he is already.

Andy: No, no. I got the hump now. In fact… No, people can get me at or @malarkey on Twitter.

Paul: So you’ve got the hump but you’ll still say it anyway.

Andy: Well, I was gonna not say but then I thought who I actually going to hurt if I don’t say it. It’s going to be me. I’m going to be cutting off my nose to spite my face. So I did.

Paul: There you go. So, Sam, what about you?

Sam: Twitter is @theSamBarnes and the website is

Paul: And Marcus?

Marcus: and I’m @Marcus67 on Twitter and I tweet about once a year.

Paul: So you’re wasting your time talking to him on Twitter. But you can talk to him on our slack channel because you do take part in that.

Marcus: Yeah, I’m in there every now and again yes.

Paul: Somebody posted absolutely tons of jokes Marcus, you’ve got so many jokes it’s unbelievable.

Marcus: Yes, I have. But I’ve got one that Ian gave me the other day at work, it’s a little bit inappropriate but it’s made me laugh so…

Paul: Okay, so will do that in just a minute because first of all we need to know about Ryan.

Ryan: Yep, we are on and I @Ryanhavoc on Twitter.

Paul: Cool, so if you want to join the slack channel you can do so by going to And Marcus what about your joke?

Marcus: Right, this is from Ian at work. “I was drinking a margarita and the waiter suddenly screamed does anyone know CPR? And I yelled I know the entire alphabet, we all laughed and laughed except one guy.” (Silence)

Paul: I see, because he’s dead. All right, I got it, I got it! It took a little while.

Andy: You see, I’m still lost on that one.

Marcus: Do you know what CPR is?

Andy: It’s the thing where you restart your heart isn’t it?

Marcus: Yeah, and I yelled because I was drunk, drinking the margarita. “I know the entire alphabet. Does anyone know CPR?”… “I know the entire alphabet. And we all laughed, except one guy.”

Sam: Not all of us. (laughter)

Andy: Oh, the one guy,… Oh, sorry I was being a bit thick.

Paul: It took me a minute as well I have to say. So yeah.

Ryan: It’s a bit dire if you need to explain the joke isn’t it?

Sam: Can’t we get a chatbot for this bit? (Laughter)

Paul: We need in AI to tell the joke. That’s what we need.

Andy: Hang on, so this time in the podcast for jokes like that but there’s not time for my book!

Paul: Essentially yes. (Laughter) Andy, I gotta be honest with you, the majority of people would prefer anything to your joke… to I mean, to your book. It’s just the way of it.

Marcus: That was a bit harsh.

Andy: It was, yeah! Cruel.

Paul: I get emails all the time going oh, for crying out loud don’t let Andy do another joke, no, oh, for crying out loud don’t let Andy do another book even. Just…

Marcus: Well, I would be hurt if I were you Andy.

Andy: Do you know, I don’t know why I turn up. (Laughter)

Paul: Wonderful, thank you very much guys and thank you too for listening to the show we will be returning again next week for more advice tips and reviews of apps and suchlike. Until then goodbye.