Pepper is easy to use

To create a positive experience with Pepper, provide three pieces of precise information to users:

  • A SIGN before any user input to guide users
  • FEEDBACK after any user inputs to validate their actions
  • A FALLBACK in case there is no user input

Take care of your users by creating accessible and predictable applications, by preventing them from making mistakes, and by helping them if they’re in trouble in the user flow.

A. Pepper guides users to every expected action

https://developer.softbankrobotics.com/sites/default/files/repository/60_rst_pepper/public/source/_build/html/_images/chap_05a.png

When Pepper expects something from the user, signal it

WHY?

Before every expected user action, guide users by indicating what to do and how to do it. Leave no room for guessing.

HOW?

Use at least two of these three options to express a sign:

  • Body Language: This is handled by animation. Use animations to express Pepper’s expectations.
  • Dialogue: The way a question is asked impacts a user’s answer. Users often don’t know what to say; that’s why it’s recommended to suggest answers in the question.
  • Tablet: Give indications by using icons, visual assets, buttons, or trigger labels.

EXAMPLE

  • Body Language: Pepper has to look at the user’s face when waiting for an input and break eye contact when it is not available (while loading, updating, or searching data).
  • Dialogue: For example, it’s best to use this structure when asking a question: “Do you prefer X or Y?” as opposed to: “What can I do for you?” because the first option informs users about the choices they have.
  • Tablet: Inform users about the verbal trigger by displaying them on the tablet within”quotation marks” to show it can be said.

After any user action, give immediate feedback to validate or invalidate their action

WHY?

Give feedback to the user right after their action so they know if the action was successful or not.

HOW?

Use at least two of these three options to express feedback:

  • Body Language: Use animation to express action result.
  • Dialogue: Give verbal feedback to a user’s input through a word of confirmation or by repeating the trigger that has been understood.
  • Tablet: Give feedback to a user selection by graphically highlighting the clicked item.

EXAMPLE

  • Body Language: In a game, Pepper’s head can nod after a correct answer and shake its head after.
  • Dialogue: Use confirmation words like, “Okay,” “Great,” or “Perfect” to begin all sentences after a successful user input.
  • Tablet: A button can be highlighted by changing its color directly after it’s been clicked.

Pepper has to propose a fallback if an expected action from the user is still missing

WHY?

Fallbacks help users return to a more comfortable flow of interaction. They avoid failed interactions and ones that come to a dead end.

HOW?

Attach a timer to every expected user action. After a few seconds without user action, Pepper should repeat the demand. After one or two fallbacks, Pepper should offer to help or quit the application.

EXAMPLE

If the user doesn’t answer a question, repeat the question once or twice, then ask if someone is still there. If there’s no reply, Pepper should close the application.

Test your application with many users

WHY?

When users don’t understand or fail at following the flow, it’s often because of a missing sign, missing feedback, or a missing fallback.

HOW?

To identify any missing signs, feedback, or fallbacks in the application, test it with target users at different steps: proof of concept, in development, and after release. Use a cross- section of people unfamiliar with the project from different ages and genders.

EXAMPLE

For a usability test, eight users are needed to detect 90% of the usability issues.

B. Pepper’s tablet is highly readable

https://developer.softbankrobotics.com/sites/default/files/repository/60_rst_pepper/public/source/_build/html/_images/chap_05b.png

Users interact with Pepper from a distance – so all content on the tablet should be displayed large

WHY?

Remember, users interact with Pepper by standing in the interaction zone – within one meter/three feet of Pepper – which is not the same way most tablets are used.

HOW?

  • Think Big: Size of icons, action cues, texts, and other elements must be at a size that’s easy to read.
  • Increase the contrast between items and the background. Contrast on the tablet has to be sharp enough so that text is legible.

EXAMPLE

  • About the size, when displaying a dual category menu, make the icons of the two categories as large as possible.
  • About the contrast, the most legible contrast is black text on a white background.

In a B2B setting, display buttons in the most accessible areas of the tablet

WHY?

We’re not all the same height. Adults have to lean down to click on Pepper’s tablet. Kids have to stand on their tiptoes.

HOW?

For a children’s application, it’s better to place the buttons on the bottom section of the tablet.

EXAMPLE

On a menu with many applications, place the most attractive content for kids at the bottom of the tablet.

C. Pepper maintains standards in order to be predictable

https://developer.softbankrobotics.com/sites/default/files/repository/60_rst_pepper/public/source/_build/html/_images/chap_05c.png

Use and keep common standards

WHY?

Graphic and sound signals are used on a daily basis and are common to all cultures. These are called standards. Implementing these standards helps users become familiar with a new product and increases their confidence.

HOW?

Pay attention to keep and not conflict with cultural standard formats, colors, and icons in your application.

EXAMPLE

For example, EU and U.S. color standards:

  • Use green for DO, validation, and recommended actions.
  • Use red only for DON’T, errors, and dangerous actions.
  • Use blue for navigation links.
  • Use gray for CANCEL and unavailable actions.

Thanks to these color codes, children are able to interact with Pepper without needing to read.

On the tablet, order the navigation to go forward to the right, and go backward to the left

WHY?

Navigating from left to right is a transcultural standard and is not related to the way of writing.

HOW?

Validation and go forward action buttons are placed on the right side of the tablet. DELETE, CANCEL, and backward action buttons are placed on the left side of the tablet.

EXAMPLE

When you design a flow with two options, one to validate and one to go back or cancel, place the validation to the right of the screen, and the cancel to the left.

Apart from conversations, a user action will always have the same response from Pepper

WHY?

Predictability of actions is an important part of learning the process. Random responses make it hard to control Pepper.

HOW?

Associate one single icon to one feature and do not change it throughout the application. Associate one single trigger word to one behavior and do not change it throughout the application. Only use random content for Pepper’s verbal answers to add variations to its speech but not for features.

EXAMPLE

Every time the user presses the torso button for three seconds it will turn Pepper on or off. It’s not a random behavior; it always has the same result.

D. Pepper protects users from mistakes

https://developer.softbankrobotics.com/sites/default/files/repository/60_rst_pepper/public/source/_build/html/_images/chap_05d.png

Always ask for a user confirmation before important actions

WHY?

All important actions must be validated by users to protect them from incorrect vocal recognition or miss-clicking, which could heavily compromise their experience with Pepper.

HOW?

Ask users by voice before executing the user action, and also display the same warning on the tablet to let them pick which way they want to respond.

EXAMPLE

When Pepper understands a tablet touch or voice trigger request to exit the application, Pepper has to ask for user validation to be sure it’s not a user mistake or a miss-click.

Simple questions are more efficient than long and complex ones

WHY?

Be careful about the formulation of Pepper’s questions in order to anticipate the answers.

HOW?

Pay attention to the question formulation to know if Pepper expects a “Yes/No” answer or a key word answer. To get a “Key Word” answer, use the key word in the question. It informs users about possible answers. Ask only one question per output.

EXAMPLE

Don’t: “I can show you a dance or we can play a card game together. Everything is okay for me. So, what do you want?”

Do: “Do you want to see a dance or to play a game?”

Use closed-ended questions and avoid open-ended questions

WHY?

Formulating closed-ended questions is more efficient than open-ended questions. It’s impossible to predict what users can answer with open-ended questions.

HOW?

The best way to do this is to list the choices users can select as an answer.

EXAMPLE

Don’t:

“What can I do for you?” because the robot is not able to understand the millions of possible answers.

Do:

“Do you want to play a game with me?”

Rhetorical questions lead to an interaction failure

WHY?

A rhetorical question is a question that is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer. Though a rhetorical question does not require a direct answer, in many cases users answered and the interaction failed because Pepper was (and still is) not able to manage many answers.

HOW?

The rule is simple: A question must always:

  • Finish with a question mark.
  • Be at the end of a spoken phrase.
  • Expect an answer.

EXAMPLE

Don’t: “Wasn’t that funny? I have another joke.” because the user could answer the question, but Pepper doesn’t expect an answer.

Do: “That was so funny. I have another joke.”

Define a step-by-step flow for complex tasks and ask only one user action at each step

WHY?

To teach something complex to users, split the flow into a chain of simple actions. It will make the task easier and it will guide time through the whole process.

HOW?

Ask for only one user action per step and clearly express to the users what they have to do at each step. Make it simple and efficient by only giving useful information at the right moment. Don’t display every option at the same time, only relevant information in a smart, step-by-step flow.

EXAMPLE

In a game tutorial, don’t give users all the controls and large amounts of information at the same time. Make it easy for them to learn the game by giving information step-by-step with some practice trials. Or give new controls at different steps of the game, when it’s relevant.

The most dangerous actions have to be the least accessible

WHY?

To protect users from mistakes, it’s important to make dangerous features somewhat difficult to get to.

HOW?

  • During verbal communication, define long and/or infrequent verbal triggers for the dangerous actions.
  • On the tablet, place the dangerous actions at the end of the list.

EXAMPLE

  • That is, opt for “exit for the application” as a verbal trigger rather than “exit,” which is too easy to match and overmatch.
  • That is, on a computer the “delete” option is at the end of the mouse right-click options.

E. Pepper helps the user with difficulties

https://developer.softbankrobotics.com/sites/default/files/repository/60_rst_pepper/public/source/_build/html/_images/chap_05e.png

Anticipate pain points, and offer assistance accordingly new

WHY?

Some user actions are critical or frequent enough to merit additional guidance from Pepper.

HOW?

Think through the interaction and consider what challenges a user might encounter in a given context. Consider, specifically, what information they might require to succeed. Then write helpful and suitable answers.

EXAMPLE

For example, in a game if the users must place their hands on Pepper’s to start:

  • Don’t:

    User: “Help”

    Pepper: “…”

    User: “I don’t understand.”

    Pepper: “Ok. Let’s begin.”

  • Do:

    User: “Help.”

    Pepper: “Place your hands on mine to start!”

Inform users when an error occurs, state what went wrong, and how they can fix it

WHY?

Don’t lead users to a dead end.

HOW?

Give all the instructions in an error notification to explain the issue and give users the solution to fix it.

EXAMPLE

When Pepper asks for a user’s phone number and the format doesn’t match with the expected data, Pepper has to first warn, then ask them to double-check the number they entered.

Always guide the user back to the main flow gracefully new

WHY?

Users will sometimes stray from the main flow, trying to test Pepper’s limits, or asking for other content. Be prepared to field such requests and redirect the user gently back to the main content.

HOW?

Always take into consideration that users can try to stray from the main flow!

If the robot is not able to manage a requested action, Pepper should acknowledge the question, but deflect it politely by proposing a path back to available content. Design such responses to prevent the user from getting lost in the interaction.

EXAMPLE

If a user tries to ask Pepper: “Can you play guitar?”

  • Don’t make Pepper answer: “Sorry, I don’t play guitar.”
  • Do make Pepper answer: “I like guitar, but I’m a better dancer than musician. Do you want to see me dance?”

When Pepper is unable to understand a user’s answer, Pepper always offers a solution

WHY?

When Pepper is having trouble understanding a verbal conversation, develop a “not understood” strategy to help users.

HOW? Make sure, to have an “e:Dialog/NotUnderstood” for all questions in the dialogue. When a “not understood” event happens, make Pepper repeat the question. If Pepper still doesn’t understand, don’t loop. Use an “e:Dialog/NotUnderstood2” to ask the user to make a choice on the tablet.

EXAMPLE

For example, if Pepper says, “Do you want to play a game or to see me dancing?”

User: “blah blah blah”

Pepper: “I didn’t understand. Can you repeat that please?”

User: “blah blah blah”

Pepper: “I’m sorry I cannot hear you very well. Please make a choice on my tablet.”

Allow users to cancel or edit what they just did

WHY?

Users can make mistakes, and a smart system has to allow users to cancel or edit the filled data.

HOW?

After a user makes a choice, handle the risk of mistakes with a BACK, CANCEL, DELETE, or EDIT button, depending on the situation.

EXAMPLE

Add a BACK or HOME button to allow a user who picked a category in a menu to go back to this menu if they change their mind.

Take-Aways

5A - Pepper guides users to every expected user action.

  • When Pepper expects something from the user, signify it to guide the user.
  • After any user action, give immediate feedback to validate or invalidate their action.
  • Pepper has to propose a fallback if an expected action from users is still missing.
  • Test your application with many users.

5B - Pepper’s tablet invites engagement.

  • Users interact with Pepper from a distance – so all content on the tablet should be displayed large.
  • In a B2B setting, display buttons in the most accessible areas of the tablet.

5C - Pepper maintains standards in order to be predictable.

  • Use and keep common standards.
  • On the tablet, order the navigation to go forward to the right, and go backward to the left.
  • Apart from conversations, a user action will always have the same response from Pepper.

5D - Pepper protects users from mistakes.

  • Always ask for a user confirmation before important actions.
  • Simple questions are more efficient than long and complex ones.
  • Avoid open-ended questions.
  • Rhetorical questions lead to an interaction failure.
  • Define a step-by-step flow for complex tasks and ask only one user action at each step.
  • The most dangerous actions have to be the least accessible.

5E - Pepper helps users when they have difficulties.

  • new Anticipate pain points, and offer assistance accordingly.
  • Inform users when an error occurs, state what went wrong, and how the user can fix it.
  • new Always guide the user back to the main flow gracefully.
  • When Pepper is unable to understand a user’s answer, Pepper always offers a solution.
  • Allow users to cancel or edit what they just did.