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Facebook Updates Its Messenger Menu

By Victor Thomson , Mar 06, 2017 03:00 AM EST
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On Thursday, Mar. 2, Messenger added an option for bot developers to prevent people from sending normal text messages to their chatbots. Making the interaction more likely a mobile app or site, the in-app keyboard has been replaced with a persistent menu.

Facebook Updates Its Messenger Menu

According to Digital Trends, Facebook is coming to the realization that users may still be ignoring the Messenger chatbots, despite bots having been around for almost a year. The company announced several new developer features, in an effort to change how users approach bots. The "persistent menu" function is included among the updates for bot-makers.

Before the conversation begins, all of a bot's features are presented instantaneously with the "persistent menu." Developers even have the option to completely replace the composer field for text inputs with the new menu. According to Facebook, the chatbots update takes out the conversational capabilities in order to provide a simple Messenger experience. Messenger's move toward less native interactions for bots demonstrates how difficult it is for bots to converse like humans do.

A Simple Messenger Experience

Chatting and responding to bots could soon be a thing of the past. The experience will be instead more likely to browsing a website. The new menu interactions involve users tapping on a series of options. According to Marketing Land, the menu buttons can eventually open an in-app web page.

The idea behind chatbots was considered as having a lot of potentials. The chatbots provide a conversational user interface that can help with everything from checking the weather and news, to buying clothes, to booking flights. However, in real life, the chatbots have been far from perfect.

For users, it never felt similar to chatting with a real person when having a conversation with a chatbot. Some can't deal with the simplest of responses. Others bombard users with too many messages.

Due to their lack of conversational abilities, chatbots have been greeted with a mixed reception since their launch. The latest Messenger Platform 1.4 update comes to take into account chatbots' lack of popularity. Finally, users may use non-native menu buttons instead of chatbots.

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