Cleo is a weather bot accessed via Alexa skill that provides utilitarian information including the daily forecast, high and low temps, and chance of precipitation, in an unconventional way. For example, if you ask her for today's forecast, she might tell you that she sees dark clouds of uncertainty in your future (and also that it's going to rain.)
My goal in designing Cleo was to challenge VUI convention; instead of delivering weather data as quickly and concisely as possible (as most CUIs/VUIs tend to do,) I wanted to create a more playful interaction. My hope was that by injecting a bit of mystique and drama into a traditionally simple exchange, users might form a different relationship with the data being delivered.
One of the most influential precedents in the process of designing Cleo was (the now defunct) Poncho the weather cat. I drew inspiration from the fun, whimsical nature of the interaction between user and agent, and was curious to see how I could put my own spin on the delivery of otherwise straightforward information. Cleo's namesake, the late Miss Cleo of 90's tele-fortune fame, also factored into the bot's personality.
Cleo was built utilizing the Dark Sky API (accessed via 'forecast' gem) to provide the following metrics:
Chance of precipitation
Each of these is invoked by a custom intent and tied to a conditional "fortune" designed to play on the terminology. For example, if the current temperature is below 40 degrees, Cleo will tell the user to prepare for "the bitter sting of disappointment" before revealing the numerical value.
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