Master’s Thesis: Chatbots for Brand Representation in Comparison with Traditional Websites

Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science, University of Technology Graz, 2019

Chatbots have gained enormous popularity in recent years. IT giants such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook have taken an interest in automated conversations. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are playing an increasingly important role in smartphone usage and communication in general - perfect conditions for chatbots.

This master thesis provides an overview of chatbots in general and in customer environments. Furthermore, platforms and services for the creation and development of bots as well as for the integration of Natural Language Understanding are examined.

As part of this work, a chatbot was developed for the Austrian IT company CodeFlügel. The chatbot, named Theodore, provides information about CodeFlügel via Facebook Messenger and webchat, similar to the existing company website. The design process and implementation of the chatbot as well as architectural considerations are explained throughout this document.

Custom Webchat with Chatbot Theodore
Custom Webchat with Chatbot Theodore

In a user study, participants perform typical tasks with the website and the chatbot. The usage of both platforms is evaluated in order to identify advantages and disadvantages as well as differences compared to the other technology and to draw conclusions. The study shows the mostly positive reactions of the users towards the chatbot, especially in terms of acceptance and faster completion times of specific tasks. Most users also perceive the chatbot as more entertaining than the website and could see themselves using more chatbots in the future.

Published Paper in iJIM (extract of thesis)