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Bastian Breibert:

Delineating the Role of Chatbot Personas as Design Objects in Conversational Agent Design

Academic Advisor
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)


Medical students have to overcome many challenges in their daily learning routines. These include learning Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), stan-dardized procedures that are used by physicians in their daily work. Above all, these must be practiced frequently so that all the details of the sometimes complex procedures are remembered. Chatbots, which are becoming increasinglypresent in everyday life, can provide support here.

Freie Universität Berlin, together with Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and FernUniversität Hagen, is developing the proactive, transparent, andinteractive chatbot DocTalk. Commonly, the focus when creating chatbots is on functionality. However, it is becoming increasingly important to give chatbots a personality as well. Therefore, this thesis addresses the designand use of chatbot personas. A comprehensive structured literature review was conducted as the basis for the design of chatbot personas and for the classification of these in the human-centered design process. Subsequently, two different chatbot personas were developed and contrasted. The advantagesand disadvantages of a chatbot with a proactive persona and a chatbot with are active persona in learning SOPs were investigated. It was also evaluated at which point the chatbot persona is used in the human-centered design process. For each persona, a sample dialogue and a prototype using the Rasa framework was developed that can execute the associated sample dialogue. The sample dialogues were evaluated through a user survey and a heuristic evaluationaccording to Langevin et al. [1] was performed on the prototypes.

From the survey, it was found that participants prefer a proactive chatbot in learning, as it can actively assist in this by encouraging users to learn andactively providing information. However, the reactive chatbot was found to be less disturbing. In the course of this work, it could be concluded that a proactive chatbot is more suitable than a reactive chatbot in learning SOPs, but the reactive chatbot also has positive characteristics. Therefore, it may be useful if the proactivity of the chatbot persona is customizable.

The chatbot persona as a design object was located at the beginning of the design process. However, it may be useful if important requirements are defined before the chatbot persona is created.

[1] R. Langevin, R. J. Lordon, T. Avrahami, B. R. Cowan, T. Hirsch, andG. Hsieh. Heuristic evaluation of conversational agents. In Y. Kitamura,A. Quigley, K. Isbister, T. Igarashi, P. Bjørn, and S. Drucker, editors,Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in ComputingSystems, pages 1–15, New York, NY, USA, 2021. ACM.