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Leveraging Conversational Analysis in Conversation Design: From Personas to Recipient Design

Who are we designing conversations for? While the notion of ‘persona’ is ubiquitous in the CxD field, conversation analysts take a different starting point when it comes to describing how people design their talk for one another: ‘recipient design.’ ‘Recipient design’ captures the findings over decades of research that, in human-human interaction, people design, word by word, gesture by gesture, and even breath by breath, every turn they take for the person(s) they are interacting with.

In this keynote, Elizabeth Stokoe will take us through the ways in which notions of both ‘user’ and ‘system’ personas limit how we think about conversation design, including how LLMs chat. She'll share a series of examples of how human interlocutors are able to pivot the design of each turn as they learn more about their recipient, as well as how making assumptions can create interactional damage. Towards the end, Elizabeth will show why it is worth leveraging the principles of ‘recipient design’ and provide some practical ways to do this.

Oct 12

12:00 - 12:30

Clubs Stage

Elizabeth Stokoe, Prof.

Elizabeth Stokoe, Prof.

Professor of Social Interaction, LSE

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Professor Elizabeth Stokoe joined The London School of Economics and Political Science in January 2023, after 20 years as Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University. Professor Stokoe is a conversation analyst who has worked across many settings, including as an industry fellow at SaaS companies Typeform and Deployed. Her book, Talk: The Science of Conversation, was published by Little, Brown (2018).


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