Applying models of help desk conversations to the design of a customer sales support interface

Stan Ruecker, Gerry Derksen, Ted Pollari, Piotr Michura, Amanda Geppert, Lauren Braun, Kwame Green, Samia Pedraça, Scott Audette

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In this paper, we describe a case study using 3D conversational modeling as an approach to the design of an online interactive system. The system was intended to help customers select electric motors from a wide range of options, and to be used on its own by a customer, or else in conversations between customers and salespeople or motor experts. The primary function, however, was to encourage selection and input of relevant information from the customer. It was in meeting this goal that the conversational modeling was most useful, since it suggested not only the types of information that were central to the process, but also an appropriate structure. Our user study had 17 participants matching motors using the current online Motor Match system and two prototype versions produced by the research team. One of the most significant findings was the participants' interest in the ranking of near-match motors displayed as 'possible matches'. In addition, people using the prototype systems found the correct motor as often as the current online system (prototype 1), or more often (prototype 2), and ranked their level of confidence higher than users of the current system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design
Subtitle of host publicationDesign for Harmonies, ICED 2013
EditorsUdo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Number of pages10
Volume9 DS75-09
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event19th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2013 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Aug 19 2013Aug 22 2013

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2220-4334


Other19th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2013
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • Communication
  • Conversational modeling
  • Design methods
  • User centered design
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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