The Fluency Project
MHCI Capstone Project 2009

New technology on the web allows users of all skill levels to interact with applications using conversational, natural language rather than learn a complex, command-based interface.

As the Capstone Project of the Masters of Human-Computer Interaction program at Carnegie Mellon University's HCI Institute, our team of six students, in collaboration with the salesforce.com User Experience team, investigated ways in which emerging natural language technologies could improve the Salesforce experience for everyday, non-technical business users.

Specificially, we focused on identifying the needs of sales users as well as the benefits of state-of-the-art natural language technologies. We then designed an extension to the Salesforce platform that made users faster, was easy to learn, and helped users achieve their personal and career goals.

During the Spring 2009 semester, we researched the needs of Salesforce users and found that we could help users by helping them enter their real world data more easily. Converting physical and mental notes into a digital format is a challenge for CRM systems, yet users must do this activity in order to be successful.

During the Summer 2009 semester, we designed and built a prototype solution dubbed GrabIt. GrabIt is a Salesforce extension that allows users to enter unstructured text, suggests which records should be created or edited from that text, and then fills out those records through natural language parsing.