Jack principles

The Jack Principles of conversational UI are design guidelines for the early text-based quiz game "You don't know Jack". There are some excellent design patterns here.

Maintain pacing:

  1. Give the user only one task to accomplish at a time.
  2. Limit the number of choices the user has at any one time.
  3. Give the user only meaningful choices.
  4. Make sure the user knows what to do at every moment.
  5. Focus the user’s attention on the task at hand.
  6. Use the most efficient manner of user input.
  7. Make the user aware that the program is waiting.
  8. Pause, quit or move on without the user’s response if it doesn’t come soon enough.

Respond with human intelligence and emotion to:

  1. The user’s actions
  2. The user’s inactions
  3. The user’s past actions
  4. A series of the user’s actions
  5. The actual time and space that the user is in
  6. The comparison of different users’ situations and actions

Maintain the illusion of awareness:

  1. Use dialogue that conveys a sense of intimacy
  2. Make sure characters act appropriately while the user is interacting
  3. Make sure dialogue never seems to repeat
  4. Be aware of the number of simultaneous users
  5. Be aware of the gender of the users
  6. Make sure the performance of dialogue is seamless
  7. Avoid the presence of characters when user input cannot be evaluated

The original document (pdf): The Jack Principles

Also: design patterns, conversational UI.