Typefaces and the perception of humanness in natural language chatbots
How much do visual aspects influence the perception of users about whether they are conversing with a human being or a machine in a mobile-chat environment? This paper describes a study on the influence of typefaces using a blind Turing test-inspired approach. The study consisted of two user experiments. First, three different typefaces (OCR, Georgia, Helvetica) and three neutral dialogues between a human and a financial adviser were shown to participants. The second experiment applied the same study design but OCR font was substituted by Bradley font. For each of our two independent experiments, participants were shown three dialogue transcriptions and three typefaces counterbalanced. For each dialogue typeface pair, participants had to classify adviser conversations as human or chatbot-like. The results showed that machine-like typefaces biased users towards perceiving the adviser as machines but, unexpectedly, handwritten-like typefaces had not the opposite effect. Those effects were, however, influenced by the familiarity of the user to artificial intelligence and other participants' characteristics.