Is Conversation Design Certification Right For You?

We‘ve all been there. You call the cable company with a question. You get forwarded to the automated attendant…then the virtual assistant…then stuck in a loop of bad menu options trying to describe your issue. "Ugh, I just need to talk to a human!"

Situations like this highlight how much work is still needed to perfect conversational interfaces. But when designed well, AI-powered chatbots and voice assistants feel like natural, productive conversations.

That‘s where talented professionals called "conversation designers" come in.

As brands race to introduce conversational apps and smart speakers, they desperately need experts who can craft intuitive, human-like exchanges.

Specialized certification programs now exist to skill up these conversation designers of the future.

But are they worth exploring for your career? Let‘s dig in…

The Critical Role of Conversation Design

Here‘s an alarming stat:

67% of users say a bad chatbot experience damages their perception of a brand.

Conversation design is now vital for companies to deploy chatbots and voice tech that delights rather than disappoints customers.

These AI touchpoints are often the first interaction users have with your products. Their quality shapes brand impressions more than ever.

Well-designed conversations artfully blend aspects of:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) – Understand and respond to human requests
  • User Experience (UX) – Intuitive, on-brand interactions
  • Design – Personality, character, and emotional intelligence

Without thoughtful conversation design, AI apps come across as robotic, dull, and frustrating.

Great conversation designers make interacting with machines feel productive and — dare I say — enjoyable!

As more brands introduce conversational interfaces, talented professionals who can pull this off will continue to be in huge demand.

So what exactly do these conversation designers do day-to-day? And how did they build these niche skills? Let‘s explore further…

Who Are Conversation Designers?

Conversation designers come from diverse backgrounds like:

  • UX Design
  • Technical writing
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Content development

Their common trait? An obsession with natural language and user-centered design.

Skilled conversation designers blend part architect, part writer, and part empathetic advisor.

Architecting Intuitive Dialog Flows

Like architects envisioning a building layout, conversation designers map out back-and-forth dialogue flows between users and AI assistants.

They plot out lines of questioning, conditional responses, clarifications, and calls-to-action under different scenarios. The goal is to guide users to their "destination" — whether completing a purchase, diagnosing a tech problem, or having an engaging chat.

This requires understanding both user goals AND business goals at each stage of a conversation.

Seasoned conversation designers have an intuitive sense refined from years of scoping flawless dialog flows.

"I storyboard conversations much like a film director envisions movie scenes shot-by-shot," remarks Aileen Chen, Conversation Design Lead at HSBC Bank. "Every line brings the user closer to a satisfying exchange."

Writing Natural Dialog Prompts

Conversation designers also craft the actual words users see or hear during interactions with chatbots and voice assistants.

They compose prompts, error messages, FAQs, and conversational responses that read as if a helpful human typed or spoke them.

This writing balances being:

  • Natural
  • Casual
  • Friendly
  • Concise
  • On-brand

"I channel my inner improv comic sometimes designing dialogs," jokes Arun Kumar, Conversation Designer at Nestle. "I‘m essentially predicting the millions of ways users might express something to recommend the best responses."

Writing feels human and sounds on-brand voice takes considerable skill. But the payoff of seamless, enjoyable AI interactions makes the work incredibly rewarding.

Advising Like An Empathetic Friend

Beyond architecting flows and writing responses, stellar conversation designers tap into emotional intelligence.

How might users feel at this point? How can we guide them positively?

Conversation designers adopt an advising mindset – leading users down optimal paths under different circumstances.

"I draw heavily on counseling techniques I learned getting my psychology degree," shares Simone Keller, Conversation Design Consultant. "Understanding emotional states and projecting empathy lets you motivate users and deescalate frustration."

This "spirit guide" mentality combined with design/writing talents is the magic combo that makes someone excel as a conversation designer.

But these skills don‘t develop overnight. Guidance from experts via training programs now exist to help learners cultivate them faster.

Conversation Designer Certification Programs

Specialized certification programs equip aspiring conversation designers with exactly the right blend of creative, analytical and soft skills that industry leaders seek.

They deliver proven frameworks, hands-on practice and expert mentorship to prepare learners for real-world application.

Here‘s a peek at today‘s most popular conversation design credential – the Conversation Designer Certification from the Conversation Design Institute.

Admitted students praise this comprehensive, flexible course for immediately boosting their marketability for top roles.

conversation-design-certification-details

The curriculum balances both crucial theory and practical application.

Half the lessons cover core principles for crafting intuitive, ethical conversational interfaces. These cement best practices on how AI assistants should handle uncertainty, frustration and provide feedback.

The second batch of modules focus on step-by-step workflow – taking projects from initial ideas to deployed bots. Learners gain first-hand exposure using leading tools for mapping dialog flows, prototyping conversations, analyzing data and optimizing exchanges.

Add in supplementary resources like worksheets, quizzes and access to a professional community, and you‘ve got an immersive program designed to fast track careers.

Students culminate their learnings by completing a final capstone project and certification exam.

This badge of completion verifies their ability to tackle complex initiatives managing entire conversation workflows.

So who‘s signing up for these programs and are they worth exploring for your goals?

Who Enrolls in These Programs?

Conversation design certifications attract professionals from several related fields looking to specialize, including:

  • UX Designers – Expanding from visual interfaces to conversational ones
  • Technical Writers – Leveling up content skills for voice/chat mediums
  • Customer Advocates – Progressing into AI tools optimizing service
  • Marketers – Leading product campaigns around conversational apps
  • Product Managers – Overseeing development of new voice/chat features

The most successful students possess key traits like:

  • Creativity
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical abilities
  • Technical affinity
  • Empathy

Passion for language, problem-solving and understanding user needs also set candidates up for success.

Ultimately, anyone fascinated by the human-AI intersection and driven to shape it through thoughtful conversation design can thrive earning this niche credential.

But is conversation design a viable long-term career path worth pursuing?

Growing Career Potential

"Conversational designer" joins "social media manager" and "app developer" as emerging digital economy jobs with incredible upside.

Conversation-driven interfaces are the next major paradigm for human-computer interaction. Forward-looking brands know they must evolve past visual designs for this voice/chat-centric future.

By 2025 industry research predicts over 50% of medium and large companies will rely on conversational assistants as primary customer touchpoints.

To meet demand, they‘re staffing up teams fast.

Organizations like Oracle, Vodafone, BMW already employ conversation designers by the dozens. Expert projections show companies hiring between 5 – 20+ conversation specialists in coming years depending on size and scale of AI adoption.

And they‘re paying them well!

Average reported salaries for conversation designers fall between $75,000 to $150,000 according to talent marketplace data. High performers at global brands and sought-after agencies can make even more.

Factor in sizzling 30%+ yearly growth in this function and it‘s easy to understand why newly minted conversation designers feel they invested their tuition wisely.

"I literally had a job offer before even finishing my Conversation Design Certification!" remarks Teagan Klein, now Conversation Design Lead for beauty brand Beaubble. “The program equips you with so many in-demand capabilities – it’s an instant elevator for your career.”

Beyond full-time roles, freelance and consultant gigs abound assisting brands in planning, content creation, workflow optimization and training around their conversational interfaces.

Incredible flexibility and variety comes with conversation specialization too. Roles exist across industries like healthcare, education, retail, and more. Those intrigued by a specific domain can become resident experts crafting AI interactions for users in that field.

And it‘s still just the beginning. Conversational AI remains early days with plenty runway left for growth. Opportunity looks rich for those looking to stick with conversation design for the long haul.

Other Conversation Design Learning Options

The Conversation Design Institute runs the industry‘s most established, comprehensive certification program for aspiring conversation specialists.

But alternatives exist for those seeking a starting point before committing to a months-long credentialing.

Here are two abbreviated courses to also check out:

Course Description Price Credential
Google Conversation Design Certificate (Coursera) 6+ hours self-paced content on fundamentals from Google experts. Free access. $49 for certificate. Certificate of completion after passing assessments
The Power of Conversational Design (Class Central) 9 lesson course exploring psychology and principles. Free video course. Optional $99 certificate from Skillshare. Certificate of completion from Skillshare

Google and Skillshare‘s programs focus exclusively on core theory and best practices around crafting intuitive conversation flows. They lack the intensive hands-on application required to execute initiatives start-to-finish.

But the affordable, short format offers interested career-changers a valuable window into concepts and sparking passion. Light prerequisites too getting started.

Use these as low-risk kickstarters before evaluating if you should level up skills further through the Conversation Design Institute‘s intensive certification.

Conversation Design: Emerging Opportunity

Hopefully you now have a clearer picture of this fast-moving domain of conversation design and paths to quickly specialize.

Demand for professionals who can craft delightful, productive conversational interfaces explodes daily. And brands urgently need this expertise across every industry.

For designers, writers and tech-savvy creatives looking towards what’s next, focusing skills on humanizing AI through thoughtful conversation design looks to be a smart bet.

Those eager to accelerate their credibility in this space are already lining up to enroll in specialized certifications like the Conversation Design Institute’s program.

So is conversation design certification worth pursuing for your goals?

Only you can decide if dedicating ~3 months to comprehensive upskilling makes sense.

But for those intrigued by the human-machine communication frontier…and willing to invest serious time unlocking how to perfect it…the career potential already looks incredibly bright.

I welcome any other questions in comments below!