Tag Archives: power

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6 Inspiring Talks to Binge Watch, as Recommended by Expert Marketers

You know how word of mouth is like the Holy Grail of marketing? There’s nothing quite as powerful as someone whose opinion you trust simply saying, “hey, check this out.”

Well, the other day my colleagues and I were talking about talks: conference talks, TED Talks, university lectures, a few candid post-dinner nuggets of wisdom from a tipsy aunt. We were recommending ones we’ve found helpful or inspiring as marketers (whether the topics focused on marketing directly, or were more broadly about professional development and personal growth). Surely other marketers want to know what’s worth watching too, we thought. And nobody wants to sift through an endless YouTube haystack of “find your passion, move to Bali, start a blog, now I’m a millionaire”-style videos to find those shiny needles, right?

Luckily we have a whole list of trusted someones coming to speak at Call to Action Conference August 28-29, and gift bags to hold for ransom if they don’t answer our emails. So we went straight to the source to ask our marketing experts about their favourite talks.

Ranging from strategy to copywriting to user experience to CRO, our speakers for this August know their stuff and have made it to the top of their fields. They’re smart cookies who can suss out what’s worth listening to, and below are some of their sage suggestions. Give ‘em a look and if you have some of your own must-watch recommendations for talks you’ve loved and quote to this day, let us know in the comments!

Want to see the marketing pros featured below talk the talk? Use the code “CTAConfTalks” at checkout for 35% off all ticket prices for Unbounce’s annual conference this August.

Ross Simmonds, Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder of Hustle & Grind

Find him on Twitter:@TheCoolestCool

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Beyond Google: How to Attract Relevant Traffic Through Diverse Channels

Recommends: Conversion Copywriting and the Death of Guesswork by Joanna Wiebe

“The biggest insight I took from Joanna’s talk was the process you take people through when it comes to conversion optimization. Specifically, the importance of not leading with the project but instead leading with the pain. Start by talking about the problem and the agitations, then reveal the solution.

Runner-up: The Surprising Power of Small Habits by James Clear

“This is a great rundown of mental models and techniques that can help people be more productive. It shows marketers, professionals, and any entrepreneur the value of the little things. The story around compounding efforts leading to expertise is a message I think more people need to understand and embrace. No one starts as an expert. No one starts as the best of all time. It’s persistence and a layer of consistency around small things that compound to make up the skills that differentiate the best from the rest.”

Veronica Romney, Founder and President of SoLoMo Inc.


Find her on Twitter:@vromney

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Going Beyond the Basics of Facebook Advertising

Recommends: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

“This talk came to my mind instantly. It’s by far my favourite, and I think the most inspiring, TED Talk for those in marketing and entrepreneurs in general. The points Simon makes can benefit a broad audience of businessmen and women who, like me, can get discouraged by comparisons.

In a nutshell, he describes how the values of a company represent the core of that company and why they have chosen to do business. His “Golden Circle” idea is simple, working from the why of the company to how the company will achieve the why, and what that company will produce. Focusing first on the why of business rather than the how is key in marketing, keeping a client base, and gaining new customers. Because people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Love recommendations from marketing pros? Don’t miss our interviews with CTAConf speakers April Dunford, Rob Bucci, and Cyrus Shepard for solid advice on product positioning, SEO strategy, and local search.

Momoko Price, Conversion Copywriter and Interaction Designer for Kantan Designs

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Data-Driven Copywriting for Brand-Spanking New Products

Recommends: Growth is Good but Retention is 4+Ever by Brian Balfour

“I absolutely love Brian Balfour’s talk on the importance and impact of optimizing customer retention. It does a fantastic job of summarizing the metrics that really matter when it comes to growing a subscription-based business. This is so easy to ignore when you’re a marketer, since most of us are expected to spend 90% of our time on acquiring new customers and getting the word out about the product.

What’s the point of doing all that work if those new customers never stick around? It’s the equivalent of trying to fill a bucket with a giant hole in it, yet we as marketers rarely think about finding and plugging the hole before adding more water. Brian’s talk clearly maps out and visualizes these metrics in an almost diagnostic way, to give guidance on evaluating your own business’ growth and underscore the power and impact good data has.”

Becky Davis, Director of UX and CRO for Tranzact


Find her on Twitter:@barelyremarkabl

CTAConf 2018 Talk: Conversion Rate Optimization: The Art and Science of Guiding the Drunk

Recommends: The Science and Art of Self Assurance: An interview with The Confidence Code co-author Katty Kay

“My vote is for Adam Grant’s interview with Katty Kay, one of the authors of The Confidence Code. Her book spends time examining the confidence gap between men and women, the reasons behind it, and its effects. It’s really interesting, but that’s not the only reason I’ve chosen it as a favourite.

I chose it because hearing from successful people, men and women alike, who struggle with confidence the way I often do, was comforting for me. That they also over-prepare and stress about tiny mistakes was reassuring. But the biggest impact to me was hearing that if I spoke out, if I asked for things, if I took action, then the results would likely be positive. That pushed me to do so even when I was uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times that attitude has opened doors for me because I pushed when I wanted to hold back. If I hadn’t, I would have lost those chances. And every time I did, my own confidence grew and any fears I had became less demotivating.”

Lisa Pierson, The Conversion Copywriter

Find her on Twitter:@piersonlisaj

CTAConf 2018 Talk: I Joined Match.com and Didn’t Get the Love I Expected: Where Was the Onboarding Help When I Needed It?

Recommends: I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream by JT McCormick

“I saw a presentation by JT McCormick this year that really moved me. It has nothing to do with marketing or copywriting, but was very inspiring.

There isn’t a video of the talk itself, but I’d highly recommend reading his book I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream. In it, he speaks about his difficult childhood and the many hardships he endured. These are not the typical hardships people go through—his were unbelievably difficult. Yet, despite being knocked down over and over again, he managed to not only make something of himself professionally but to not let those events define who he is.

In my own life as an entrepreneur and single mom, almost everything starts and ends with me. There’s no safety net or backup plan. Things can get difficult and they can wear on you. But my life is so much more privileged than JT’s was, and watching his presentation helped me realize that we’re all so much stronger than we think we can be. External events don’t define who we are. And day-to-day life is what you decide it is.

Unbounce’s list of must-watch talks by brilliant speakers (the above experts included) takes place August 28-29th on Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage. Check out the full agenda and use the code “CTAConfTalks” at checkout to get 35% off the most actionable marketing event and best experiences you’ll have at a conference this year.

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6 Inspiring Talks to Binge Watch, as Recommended by Expert Marketers

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Moving the needle: Strategic metric setting for your experimentation program

Once you have your metrics and KPIs set, you’ll want to devise a system for tracking and sharing your results….Read blog postabout:Moving the needle: Strategic metric setting for your experimentation program

The post Moving the needle: Strategic metric setting for your experimentation program appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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Moving the needle: Strategic metric setting for your experimentation program

Intro to Vue.js

Full-day workshop — June 25th
Vue.js brings together the best features of the javascript framework landscape elegantly. If you’re interested in writing maintainable, clean code in an exciting and expressive manner, you should consider joining this class.
We’ll run through all the ways that Vue quickly solves common Frontend developer implementations, as well flexible ways to access the underlying API so that you can solve for any use-case.
Vue is uniquely friendly to all levels of web developers.

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Intro to Vue.js

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What Happens After The Conversion? How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads

How excited would you be if you doubled the number of leads your marketing campaign was generating in less than a month? What if you found out that the improvement wasn’t an improvement at all, because as lead quantity went up, lead quality was going down? That’s exactly what happened with a campaign I ran once. I can assure you – it’s not fun! One survey of B2B marketers found that their #1 and #2 challenges were generating high quality leads and converting leads into customers: Your Landing Page Conversion Rate Is Only Half Of The Story Converting visitors to leads…

The post What Happens After The Conversion? How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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What Happens After The Conversion? How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads

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How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads

How excited would you be if you doubled the number of leads your marketing campaign was generating in less than a month? What if you found out that the improvement wasn’t an improvement at all, because as lead quantity went up, lead quality was going down? That’s exactly what happened with a campaign I ran once. I can assure you – it’s not fun! One survey of B2B marketers found that their #1 and #2 challenges were generating high quality leads and converting leads into customers: Your Landing Page Conversion Rate Is Only Half Of The Story Converting visitors to leads…

The post How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How To Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns For Higher Quality Leads

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Announcing Call to Action Conference 2018: A Revolution for Today’s Marketing Evolution

Webster’s Dictionary defines a ‘conference’ as, “An event at which industry professionals talk at other industry professionals who’ve stockpiled seven complimentary croissants in their bag to eat later. See also: Room temperature orange juice.”   

Whether it’s to learn some new tricks, make some new connections or drum up some new business, conferences are a necessary (and sometimes cool) part of being a marketer—but not all of them are worth your time. While your typical marketing conference has morphed from weak coffee and dry PowerPoints to free t-shirts and celebrity thought leaders, it can be tough to leave feeling like you’ve really gotten something out of the event.

We saw a need to change the conference experience. Because the experience of being a marketer has changed. 

Marketing now is harder than ever— it’s hyper-competitive, oversaturated and comprised of tired tactics that used to work. We need new solutions to old problems and actionable solutions to new problems. Especially when we’re forking out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a conference ticket (money we could’ve sacrificed to the AdWords gods).

Enter Call to Action Conference.

“CTAConf has set the bar for what a marketing event should be: fun, engaging and insightful. No matter the experience level or skill set, every attendee left with a new set of philosophies and tactics to apply in their marketing practice”

Ray Silva, Strategy Lead at Apply Digital and CTAConf 2017 attendee.

Now in its fifth year (only 55 more ’til we get that diamond!), CTAConf 2018 is going to be more exciting, more targeted and more committed to your future success than ever.

Already sold on joining us? Get 10% off Early Bird tickets by using the promo code “CTAConfRevolution” at checkout.

Why this conference is different (we promise)

CTAConf merges carefully curated, usable content with…well, having a great time. It’s single track, allergic to fluff and ensures you’ll walk away with leading-edge tactics, all wrapped up in an amazing experience you’ll truly enjoy.

We’re talking hands-on workshops, a concert atmosphere, all-you-can-eat snacks and gourmet food trucks, organic networking, a genuinely friendly team and fun parties in the beautiful setting of Vancouver, B.C. (Credit to Mother Nature for that one.)

Even the sessions themselves, held in the historic and fully immersive Queen Elizabeth Theatre, will make you feel less like you’re at a “work event” and more like you’re at a Broadway show about email marketing called Don’t Spamalot. 



Most importantly, it’s designed to deliver practical know-how and future-proofing strategies from true experts covering every facet of digital marketing.

A glimpse at who’s talking and what you’ll learn

April Dunford, Wind at Your Back: Making your Market Category Work for You

April has spent her career launching innovative tech products and is a seasoned expert at getting traction in increasingly noisy markets. Prior to founding Rocket Launch Marketing, where she works with companies on market strategy and positioning, she was VP of Marketing at a series of successful high-growth startups and an executive at global companies including IBM, Nortel and Siebel Systems. She was also the top-rated speaker at last year’s CTAConf (she happens to be equal parts genius and hilarious).

In her talk, you’ll learn :

  • How to shift to a favourable market category to give your marketing programs added velocity
  • How to completely change the way customers think about your offering to remove friction in your funnel
  • The three steps for shifting market categories, from isolating your differentiators to finding your downstream customers and picking the best market current to ride
Rob Bucci, What Google Serves Up For Local Searches

Rob is the founder and CEO of STAT Search Analytics, a rank tracking and SERP analytics service for SEO experts. A developer and entrepreneur in the SEO space since 2005, Rob especially loves tackling big-data challenges in data mining and analytics.

He’ll be bringing his SEO expertise to the stage to teach us:

  • How Google interprets different levels of local intent and what searchers are seeing most often
  • How to refine your SEO keyword lists by comparing SERPs
  • How to better tailor your content to build more targeted ad campaigns that achieve better results
Hana Abaza, Product Marketing: Inside and Out

Hana is the Head of Marketing for Shopify Plus, a division of Shopify that powers some of the world’s fastest growing and most iconic brands (Rebecca Minkoff, Nestle, The New York Times and FAO Schwartz, to name a few). Prior to joining Shopify, Hana led marketing and growth in a variety of industries and has a proven track record for scaling teams, revenue and customers.

You’ll leave her talk knowing:

  • The guidelines for how and when to invest in product marketing
  • How to develop a go-to-market framework for your company
  • How to set up product marketing as a cross-functional powerhouse
Ross Simmonds, Beyond Google: How To Attract Relevant Traffic Through Diverse Channels

Ross is the founder of Foundation Marketing and creator and co-founder of content curation tool, Crate, and Hustle & Grind, an online store for entrepreneurs.

Over the last several years, he’s worked to help some of the fastest-growing startups and a variety of Fortune 500 brands succeed in their digital marketing efforts. His talk focuses on typically under-used and ignored channels as missed opportunities for quality traffic.

During his talk, you’ll learn:

  • What brands can do to spread their story beyond SEO & SEM
  • How brands can leverage communities and other networks to drive consistent traffic
  • Research and data on the importance of diverse channels
  • Examples of what happens when you embrace a more diverse content approach
Krista Seiden, Measurement for Growth

Currently a Product Manager and Analytics Evangelist for the Google Analytics team, Krista is a leader in the digital analytics industry and co-chair for the San Francisco chapter of the Digital Analytics Association. She has nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, analytics, and product management, having led analytics and optimization at Adobe and The Apollo Group prior to joining Google.

Her talk will cover:

  • What growth marketing really is, beyond the buzzwords
  • How effective growth marketing is rooted in analytics, experimentation, and product development
  • How to strategically measure and use data for targeted growth
Cyrus Shepard, SEO Success: The One Engagement Metric to Rule Them All

Former Head of SEO and Content Development at Moz, Cyrus now runs Zyppy, a fast-growing SEO company. When he’s not consulting with companies big and small on how to improve their rankings, traffic and profits, he travels the world as a speaker, making complex SEO equations easy to understand.

This August Cyrus will take the stage to teach us:

  • How much speed and rankings matter and steps to improve the right areas
  • What “fuzzy” engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit really mean and what you need to focus on
  • How to use SEO data to improve conversions
Oli Gardner, Content Marketing is Broken and Only Your M.O.M. Can Save You

Oli is not only an Unbounce co-founder, he’s an expert and international speaker on conversion optimization, data-driven design and landing pages (he claims to have seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet).

He’s often the highest-rated speaker at events around the world, including previous Call to Action Conferences. This year, he’ll be talking:

  • Data and lessons learned from his biggest ever content marketing experiment, and how those lessons have changed his approach to content
  • A context-to-content-to-conversion strategy for big content that converts, based on designing for your customer’s “aha!” moments
  • Advanced methods for creating “choose your own adventure” navigational experiences to build event-based behavioural profiles of your visitors 
  • Innovative ways to productize and market the technology you already have, with use cases your customers had never considered

What’s happening off stage

Learn by doing with Unbounce workshops

Get your hands proverbially dirty with interactive workshops on A/B testing, landing page optimization, PPC, analytics and mastering Unbounce for more conversions across every type of digital campaign. A full-day event prior to the conference, the workshops are a chance to work directly with seasoned pros on solutions to real marketing problems. Workshops have been so popular in previous years they were standing room only.

Make your first (or hundredth!) landing page, popup or sticky bar with us at the workshops, and learn all the insider tips you can take home to your team.  

Eat to your stomach’s content, on us

Call to Action Conference food trucks
When we say free food, we don’t mean “Enjoy these sweaty muffins! If you want lunch, there’s a Chipotle two blocks away.” We mean constantly replenished drinks, foodie-approved snacks and a lunchtime convoy of the city’s finest food trucks delivering everything from truly tasty salads to life-changing mac ‘n’ cheese. All included.

Meet, connect and party with great people


Call to Action Conference hovers around 1,200 attendees for a refreshingly intimate experience with the buzzing energy of a big-time event. Meet fellow passionate marketers from cities all over the world, mingle with industry leaders and see just how stereotypically Canadian the friendly Unbounce crew is.

“CTAConf was amazing! My favourite part? The caliber of attendees and the energy they brought. Met so many remarkable marketers!”

—Jes Kirkwood, Head of Content Marketing at ProsperWorks and 2017 attendee.

Soak up Vancouver at the best time of year


Business and pleasure do mix! Especially in summer. CTAConf 2018 is happening August 27-29, smack dab in the middle of Vancouver’s sunshine season. Take a seawall stroll between sessions, taste-test your way through a diverse food scene, hone your craft beer palate at one of many world-renowned breweries or tack on an extra day and get outside the city to those calling mountains. We turn into human prunes waiting out months of rain for a Vancouver summer and it’s totally worth it. Come see for yourself.

Enjoy champagne hotels at boxed-wine prices


We’ve secured 40-50% discounts on rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Delta Hotels Vancouver Downtown Suites, exclusive to CTAConf 2018 attendees and just steps away from the conference venue. Rooms are at first come, first serve and book up fast so grab yours ASAP and prepare your senses for the fluffiest of robes.

Join the revolution

Call to Action Conference 2018 is coming up fast and early bird prices are ending soon. Get your single, group or customer ticket before May 31, 2018 and come hold us to our promise. You’ll leave feeling inspired, energized and ready for marketing victory with tactics and strategies you can put into action the very next day. In other words, you’ll really get something out of this.

Don’t forget to sweeten that Early Bird deal. Use the promo code “CTAConfRevolution” at checkout to get 10% off all ticket rates. See you in August!

P.S. If you’re joining us from the United States, you’re in luck. Ticket prices are in Canadian dollars. Your boss basically can’t say no (and if you happen to be the boss, you can take your whole team). You’re welcome, eh.

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Announcing Call to Action Conference 2018: A Revolution for Today’s Marketing Evolution

The Rise Of Intelligent Conversational UI




The Rise Of Intelligent Conversational UI

Burke Holland



For a long time, we’ve thought of interfaces strictly in a visual sense: buttons, dropdown lists, sliders, carousels (please no more carousels). But now we are staring into a future composed not just of visual interfaces, but of conversational ones as well. Microsoft alone reports that three thousand new bots are built every week on their bot framework. Every. Week.

The importance of Conversational UI cannot be understated, even if some of us wish it wasn’t happening.

The most important advancement in Conversational UI has been Natural Language Processing (NLP). This is the field of computing that deals not with deciphering the exact words that a user said, but with parsing out of it their actual intent. If the bot is the interface, NLP is the brain. In this article, we’re going to take a look at why NLP is so important, and how you (yes, you!) can build your own.

Speech Recognition vs. NLP

Most people will be familiar with Amazon Echo, Cortana, Siri or Google Home, all of which have an interface that is primarily conversational. They are also all using NLP.




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Aside from these intelligent assistants, most Conversational UIs have nothing to do with voice at all. They are text driven. These are the bots we chat with in Slack, Facebook Messenger or over SMS. They deliver high quality gifs in our chats, watch our build processes and even manage our pull requests.




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Conversational UIs built on text are nice because there is no speech recognition component. The text is already parsed.

When it comes to a verbal interaction, the fundamental problem is not recognizing the speech. We’ve mostly got that one down.

OK, so maybe it’s not perfect. I still get voicemails every day like a game of Mad Libs that I never asked to play. iOS just sticks a blank line in whenever they don’t know what exactly was said.




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Google, on the other hand, just tries to guess. Like this one from my father. I have absolutely no idea what this message is actually trying to say other than “Be Safe” which honestly sounds like my mom, and not my dad. I have a hard time believing he ever said that. I don’t trust the computer.




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I’m picking on voice mail transcriptions here, which might be the hardest speech recognition to do given how degraded the audio quality is.

Nevertheless, speech recognition is largely a solved problem. It’s even built right into Chrome and it works remarkably well.




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After we solved the problem of speech recognition, we started to use it everywhere. That was unfortunate because speech recognition on it’s own doesn’t do us a whole lot of good. Interfaces that rely soley on speech recognition require the user to state things a precise way and they can only state the limited number of exact words or phrases that the interface knows about. This is not natural. This is not how a conversation works.

Without NLP, Conversational UI can be true nightmare.

Conversational UI Without NLP

We’re probably all familiar with automated phone menus. These are known as Interactive Voice Response systems — or IVRs for short. They are designed to take the place of the traditional operator and automatically transfer callers to the right place without having to talk to a human. On the surface, this seems like a good idea. In practice, it’s mostly just you waiting while a recorded voice reads out a list of menu items that “may have changed.”




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A 2011 study from New York University found that 83% of people feel IVR systems “provide either no benefit at all, or only a cost savings benefit to the company.” They also noted that IVR systems “score lower than any other service option.” People would literally rather do anything else than use an automated phone menu.

NLP has changed the IVR market rather significantly in the past few years. NLP can pick a user’s intent out of anything they say, so it’s better to just let them say it and then determine if you support the action.

Check out how AT&T does it.

AT&T has a truly intelligent Conversational UI. It uses NLP to let me just state my intent. Also, notice that I don’t have to know what to say. I can fumble all around and it still picks out my intent.

AT&T also uses information that it already has (my phone number) and then leverages text messaging to send me a link to a traditional visual UI, which is probably a much better UX for making a payment. NLP drives the whole experience here. Without it, the rest of the interaction would not be nearly as smooth.

NLP is powerful, but more importantly, it is also accessible to developers everywhere. You don’t have to know a thing about Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) to use it. All you need to how to do is make an AJAX call. Even I can do that!

Building An NLP Interface

So much of Machine Learning still remains inaccessible to developers. Even the best YouTube videos on the subject quickly become hard to follow with subjects like Neural Networks and Gradient Descents. We have, however, made significant progress in the field of Language Processing, to the point that it’s accessible to developers of nearly any skill level.

Natural Language Processing differs based on the service, but the overall idea is that the user has an intent, and that intent contains entities. That means exactly nothing to you at the moment, so let’s work up a hypothetical Home Automation bot and see how this works.

The Home Automation Example

In the field of Natural Language Processing, the canonical “Hello World” is usually a Home Automation demo. This is because it helps to clearly demonstrate the fundamental concepts of NLP without overloading your brain.

A Home Automation Bot is a service that can control hypothetical lights in a hypothetical house. For instance, we might want to say “Turn on the kitchen lights”. That is our intent. If we said “Hello”, we are clearly expressing a different intent. Inside of that intent, there are two pieces of information that we need to complete the action:

  1. The ‘Location’ of the light (kitchen)
  2. The desired state of the lights ‘Power’ (on/off)

These (Location, Power) are known as entities.

When we are finished designing our NLP interface, we are going to be able to call an HTTP endpoint and pass it our intent: “Turn on the kitchen lights.” That endpoint will return to us the intent (Control Lights) and two objects representing our entities: Location and Power. We can then pass those into a function which actually controls our lights…

function controlLights(location, power) 
  console.log(`Turning $power the $location lights`);
  
  // TODO: Call an imaginary endpoint which controls lights   
}

There are a lot of NLP services out there that are available today for developers. For this example, I’m going to show the LUIS project from Microsoft because it is free to use.

LUIS is a completely visual tool, so we won’t actually be writing any code at all. We’ve already talked about Intents and Entities, so you already know most of the terminology that you need to know to build this interface.

The first step is to create a “Control Lights” intent in LUIS.




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Before I do anything with that intent, I need to define my Location and Power entities. Entities can be different types — kind of like types in a programming language. You can have dates, lists and even entities that are related to other entities. In this case, Power is a list of values (on, off) and Location is a simple entity, which can be any value.

It will be up to LUIS to be smart enough to figure out exactly what the Location is.




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Now we can begin to train this model to understand all of the different ways that we might ask it to control the lights in a different location. Let’s think of all the different ways that we could do that:

  • Turn off the kitchen lights;
  • Turn off the lights in the office;
  • The lights in the living room, turn them on;
  • Lights, kitchen, off;
  • Turn off the lights (no location).

As I feed these into the Control Lights intent as utterances, LUIS tries to determine where in the intent the entities are. You can see that because Power is a discreet list of values, it gets that right every time.




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But it has no idea what a Location even is. LUIS wants us to go through this list and tell it where the Location is. That’s done by clicking on a word or group of words and assigning to the right entity. As we are doing this, we are really creating a machine learning model that LUIS is going to use to statistically estimate what qualifies as a Location.




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When I’m done telling LUIS where in these utterances all the locations are, my dashboard looks like this…




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Now we train the model by clicking on the “Train” button at the top. Do you feel like a data scientist yet?

Now I can test it using the test panel. You can see that LUIS is already pretty smart. The Power is easy to pick out, but it can actually pick out Locations it has never seen before. It’s doing what your brain does — using the information that it has to make an educated guess. Machine Learning is equal parts impressive and scary.




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If we try hard enough, we can fool the AI. The more utterances we give it and label, the smarter it will get. I added 35 utterances to mine before I was done and it is close to bullet proof.

So now we get to the important part, which is how we actually use this NLP in an app. LUIS has a “Publish” menu option which allows us to publish our model to the internet where it’s exposed via a single HTTP endpoint. It will look something like this…

https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/luis/v2.0/apps/c4396135-ee3f-40a9-8b83-4704cddabf7a?subscription-key=19d29a12d3fc4d9084146b466638e62a&verbose=true&timezoneOffset=0&q=

The very last part of that query string is a q= variable. This is where we would pass our intent.

https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/luis/v2.0/apps/c4396135-ee3f-40a9-8b83-4704cddabf7a?subscription-key=19d29a12d3fc4d9084146b466638e62a&verbose=true&timezoneOffset=0&q=turn on the kitchen lights

The response that we get back looks is just a JSON object.


  "query": "turn on the kitchen lights",
  "topScoringIntent": 
    "intent": "Control Lights",
    "score": 0.999999046
  ,
  "intents": [
    
      "intent": "Control Lights",
      "score": 0.999999046
    ,
    
      "intent": "None",
      "score": 0.0532306843
    
  ],
  "entities": [
    
      "entity": "kitchen",
      "type": "Location",
      "startIndex": 12,
      "endIndex": 18,
      "score": 0.9516622
    ,
    
      "entity": "on",
      "type": "Power",
      "startIndex": 5,
      "endIndex": 6,
      "resolution": 
        "values": [
          "on"
        ]
      
    }
  ]
}

Now this is something that we can work with as developers! This is how you add NLP to any project — with a single REST endpoint. Now you’re free to create a bot with some real brains!

Brian Holt used the browser speech API and a LUIS model to create a voice powered calculator that is running right inside of CodePen. Chrome is required for the speech API.

See the Pen Voice Calculator by Brian Holt (@btholt) on CodePen.

Bot Design Is Still Hard

Having a smart bot is only half the battle. We still need to account for any of the actions that our system might expose, and that can lead to a lot of different logical paths which makes for messy code.

Conversations also happen in stages, so the bot needs to be able to intelligently direct users down the right path without frustrating them or being unable to recover when something goes wrong. It needs to be able to recover when the conversation dies midstream and then starts again. That’s a whole other article and I’ve included some resources below to help.

When it comes to language understanding, the AI platforms are mature and ready to use today. While that won’t help you perfectly design your bot, it will be a key component to building a bot that people don’t hate.

Great UI Is Just Great UI

A final note: As we saw from the AT&T example, a truly smart interface combines great speech recognition, Natural Language Processing, different types of conversational UI (speech and text) and even a visual UI. In short, great UI is just that — great UI — and it is not a zero sum game. Great UIs will leverage all of the technology available to provide the best possible user experience.

Special thanks to Mat Velloso for his input on this article.

Further Resources:

Smashing Editorial
(rb, ra, yk, il)


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The Rise Of Intelligent Conversational UI

What is Knowledge Commerce?

knowledge commerce

The monetization of the process by which you share your knowledge. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Even with the passing of years, this quote hasn’t lost its meaning. But what if you could create a business entirely out of your knowledge? Would the returns be significantly higher? The answers to the above questions are in this article. The online learning industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds every day. Individuals who have chosen to share their knowledge and expertise digitally have seen amazing returns. However, the truth is, not many people are…

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What is Knowledge Commerce?

How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

Marketers have more data than ever before. But even with all of this data, we still aren’t seeing a complete…Read blog postabout:How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

The post How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

Why I Switched To Sketch For UI Design (And Never Looked Back)

User interface design has changed dramatically in the last few years, as traditional computers have ceded dominance to smaller screens, including tablets, mobile phones, smartwatches and more.
As the craft has evolved, so has its toolset; and from one app to rule them all — looking at you, Photoshop! — we have gotten to a point where it seems like a new contender among UI design tools crops up every month.

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Why I Switched To Sketch For UI Design (And Never Looked Back)