I developed this Bot for the Facebook Messenger platform so that users could chat to Jamie Oliver, send him emojis and in return they’d get recipe inspiration, videos and tips.
The robots are coming
Tech news keeps proclaiming that bots and AI are the future, so we decided to test the water with this neat little project.
We used rapid prototyping to prove the concept, then we were able to quickly build this out in to a deployable product within a matter of weeks.
Since the UX is already in place within the Messenger environment it meant we could concentrate on the content and produce a really fun tool that people seem to love interacting with.
I build a fairly simple node API which is listens out for requests from Facebook and parses relevant responses.
This is deployed in to an auto-scaling group within AWS so that we can be confident that it will deal with any traffic spikes.
In order for the conversation to feel natural we populated the bot with a bunch of pre-defined responses for certain inputs then anything else would query our database for recipes that might be a good match. There were several funny responses dropped in there as Easter eggs to keep people interested too.
We got some great positive press reaction and a surprisingly high number of interactions per user. Lots higher than the number of average pageviews per session we see on web.
This bot was a success because if focussed on a single function and by limiting inputs to emojis we can ensure a positive response to most inputs.
I don’t think bots are ready to replace any traditional customer service experiences yet, but as a fun promotional tool it provides a novel toy for people to play with and allows a closer level of communication than traditional web or email messaging.