make things easier. the info is out there, but need to make it more accessible. One refugee spoke about finding out about useful services 4 yrs after she needed it. Enter the chatbot!
What it does
Have a simple, easy to use way to ask questions about migrant relevant services available, and where possible help the user to use them by asking questions relevant for that service and filling out the form (or sending the relevant link).
- can help with info, like what services are available around me?
- fill out forms, starting with school forms (then medicare, centrelink, parking tickets…)
How I built it
I was going to write my own bot running in python when someone said I should use https://manychat.com. So bot runs on that, and I'm working on a api (coded in python) which connects to a database and looks up info and sends back answers.
I'm using google sheets and airtable to host the database as that makes it easy for anyone to add info to it, and I can grab stuff using an api.
Challenges I ran into
My team member fell sick and left an hour into this. Also learning new tools takes a lot more time than advertised!
- realising that chatbot flows are very complex
- plumbing takes time - i.e I want to insert a translation service in the middle
- making it useful - there is a lot of info out there, so figuring out what would be easy to distill and present in a chat format
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The bot speaks! and will soon answer a few questions!
What I learned
There are questions where the info is out there but migrants struggle to find out in a timely fashion How to build userflows for a chatbot, and that filling out a pdf form is really really hard.
What's next for FormBot
- connect to databases so it can answer more questions
- switch the backend over to https://rasa.com so I can control it better, including using google translate to ask questions in the users native language, and then use the answers to fill out english forms example user flow
- handover to a volunteer for tough questions