Designing for Usability in Chat and Voice


(3 ratings)


2 Weeks


Cohort-based Course

Create better bots for users of every age. Learn actionable concepts, frameworks, and methods for excellent conversational AI.

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Course overview

Design world-class bots by understanding conversation across the lifespan.

In a world of mediocre chatbots and voice assistants, we’ll teach you how to design a conversational product with great usability. 

To make a bot that works for everyone, conversation designers need to understand how human communication evolves as we grow up. Heidi and Rebecca are here to teach you the breadth and depth of good conversation design that centers users of every age.

We’ll talk about how human conversation works and what “usability” means for bots. You’ll learn about developing a use case, applying knowledge about linguistics and cognition, training a bot, crafting responses, prototyping, usability testing, and more. 

Students will walk away with actionable knowledge, frameworks, and techniques to design better bots.

Who is this course for


Aspiring and beginner conversation designers who are eager for formal training


Designers who want to apply their skills to conversational products


Product managers, developers, and leaders who want to build conversational products that stand out

What you’ll learn in this course

Conversation is complex.

Designers apply research from linguistics, neuroscience, human-computer interactions, writing, and more. 

Bots need to be good listeners.

Understanding people is a bot’s #1 job, and we achieve that through well-curated, well-architected training data.

Bots need to be strong speakers.

Using tested techniques, we craft a bot’s responses so they’re easy to comprehend, and choose a voice that helps users hear.

A great use case aligns audience, purpose, and fit. 

The best bots have focused use cases that solve a specific problem, for specific people, through conversation.

How people talk changes over the lifespan.

Whether your target users are children, older adults, or everyone, our design choices support how people communicate.

Test the right way with the right people.

Conversational products require unique prototyping and usability testing methods, applied to the right audience.

Course syllabus

4 live sessions • 4 modules • 19 lessons
Expand all modules

    Meet your instructors

    Heidi Culbertson

    Heidi Culbertson

    Conversational AI Strategist & Founder

    Heidi Culbertson is an innovation expert with decades of experience building products with emergent technologies. She was an early leader in voice technology and founder of the award-winning platform Marvee, creating a personalization design framework and building more than 50 conversational AI experiences for modern aging, accessibility and family caregiving. Heidi is a sought-after keynote speaker, AgeTech startup advisor, former Amazon Alexa PM and business development lead, and conversational AI strategy consultant. Industry awards have included: Top Leaders of Conversational AI, Voice AI Industry VIP, and Top 17 Voice AI Product & Design.

    Rebecca Evanhoe

    Rebecca Evanhoe

    Conversational AI Strategist & Author

    Rebecca Evanhoe has more than 10 years of experience in imagining, designing, planning, analyzing, and advocating for engaging conversational experiences. She has designed voice assistants, chatbots, talking conference rooms, games, healthcare simulations, and more. Rebecca co-authored Conversations with Things: UX Design for Chat and Voice. Her background in chemistry and writing provides an interesting mix of arts, humanities, science and tech.

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    Course schedule

    4-6 hours per week
    • Wednesdays & Fridays for 2 weeks

      90-minute live sessions with a mix of brief lectures, activities, and Q&A.

      We provide handouts with key info, resources and 6-month access to session recordings.

      No assignments or projects, just great content and opportunities to practice and apply

    • Dates: Jan. 3, 5, 10, and 12

      12:00 - 1:30 pm, ET

    Learning is better with cohorts

    Learning is better with cohorts

    Active hands-on learning

    This course builds on live workshops and hands-on projects

    Interactive and project-based

    You’ll be interacting with other learners through breakout rooms and project teams

    Learn with a cohort of peers

    Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are Rebecca and Heidi good teachers?
    I don't work as a conversation designer... yet. Is this for me?
    I'm a developer. Is this for me?
    Does this course cover LLMs, ChatGPT, etc?
    What happens if I can’t make a live session?
    I work full-time, what is the expected time commitment?
    What’s the refund policy?
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    Designing for Usability in Chat and Voice


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