Da Concierge!

Developing a chatbot to support Chicago tourism

Chicago is a big city. And for many visitors, Chicago is the big city. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, when visitors travel to Chicago it means figuring out how to experience a city that’s both large and diverse. That can make it challenging for visitors to discover and enjoy all of Chicago’s unique neighborhoods and experiences. For this Knight Lab Studio project, students will partner with Choose Chicago (the official destination marketing organization for Chicago) to develop and deliver a conversational A.I. (“chatbot”) with a distinct and memorable personality that helps visitors find and experience more of Chicago.

This project provides the opportunity to work on real media platform innovation through product concept design and development. For this project, students will complete basic audience needs research, brand identity, “voice” (character) exploration and definition and conversational logic design, ultimately prototyping a solution using a selected conversational UI partner platform. Some participating students may be selected post-project to continue developing the platform with Choose Chicago.

Faculty and Staff Leads

Joe Germuska

Chief Nerd

Joe runs Knight Lab’s technology, professional staff and student fellows. Before joining us, Joe was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. Also, he hosts a weekly radio show on WNUR-FM – Conference of the Birds.

Project Details

2021 Spring

Important Questions
  • What are key questions visitors to Chicago need answered?
  • What makes an appealing “character” or “voice” for a chatbot?
  • What is the correct “voice” for a Chicago tourism chatbot?
  • How are scripts/paths implemented in the selected conversational platform?
  • What is the workflow for development of future content in the platform?
  • How can the character/voice be documented to guide future content creation?
Sample Milestones
  • Week 1-2: Meet with partners; begin exploring selected platform; start developing a research plan.
  • Week 3-6: Conduct interviews; synthesize research; investigate conversational voice; practice implementing scripts in the conversational UI platform;
  • Week 7-8: Further research and refinement
  • Week 9-10: Develop research report and present to partners.

This project team will present our partner with a research report containing recommendations about the content and character of a conversational UI system to help visitors to Chicago.