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JANINEBOT - The Ghostbusters AI Chatbot


The brief of the final project of my course, Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction was to create "something" that people in the Ghostbusters universe would find useful. The only limitation that my professor, Dr. Jennifer Golbeck posed was that every assumption we make about our target audience had to hold true in the Ghostbusters universe. I had a great time working on this project. ​

The Problem

The Problem

The Real Ghostbusters combat supernatural disasters and protect people from vicious entities. They don’t have the time or capacity to take calls, schedule appointments or listen to the protracted tales of frightened people. Despite being hired for these tasks, Janine has been forced to take up a Ghostbusters uniform to bail the guys out of trouble on numerous occasions.


Finding a secretary who empathizes with the clients, takes good notes about paranormal incidents, maintains a record of the clients for accounting purposes, and doesn’t distract Dr.Egon is crucial to their business.​

Janine Melnitz - Deviant Art - Commission_by_louten_d2

The Solution

An automated conversational agent that is the augmentation of Janine, not a replacement. A recent study showed that 80% of customer queries have been resolved by chatbots without human supervision. By being fed information regularly by Janine and Slimer (for tips about psychokinetic energy, general food habits of entities etc.), the bot can answer level-1 questions and ensure fast access to information for incoming clients.

JanineBot can serve the purpose of a secretary who can respond to incoming clients quickly and allow an immediate call-to-action. Clients see the ad for JanineBot on Facebook so by signing up from their profile, their public information is immediately available to the Real Ghostbusters, for emergency and accounting purposes.


Tasks Within the System

  • Reach out to report ghost sightings directly from the chat screen

  • Request appointments (in-person/Skype) with the Real Ghostbusters

  • Receive tips and answers to level-1 questions about paranormal entities

  • Learn more about the people who are a part of the Real Ghostbusters


High-Fidelity Prototype

Interactive prototype: JanineBot on Botsociety


JanineBot Demo
(with multiple iterations starting at stage 2)

The Process

User Analysis

User Population Analysis

A recent Gallup poll stated that “sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50”. Keeping this in mind, people in the age group of 18-50 years, who use text messages and social media to stay connected to the world are the target audience.


Only 5 percent of Facebook’s global user base is not accessing the platform via a mobile device. Therefore, the chatbot is integrated with the Facebook Messenger platform.


According to the British Psychological Society, people actively share their life through social media posts, especially if there’s an aspect of novelty to it. So it is safe to assume that a user’s first instinct upon spotting paranormal activity will be to take photos/videos to share with their social media network. By including JanineBot in this mix, users can start reporting incidents directly to the Real Ghostbusters.

In order to find the right problems to solve, it was important to understand people’s reaction to various scenarios. So I created an empathy map that captures the motivations of people who seek out the Real Ghostbusters.​

Week 1.png
Empathy Map Based on Season 1-5 of Ghostbusters
Basic Sketches

Basic Design Sketches

Conducted background research on the world of the Ghostbusters and created the empathy map based on episodes in seasons 1-5 of the Real Ghostbusters series. With those details in mind, I drew basic sketches to help with the storyboarding process.

Janine Chatbot Sketches_Page_1_Image_000
Janine Chatbot Sketches_Page_2_Image_000
Low-Fi Prototype

Low-Fidelity Prototype

In order to start building the chatbot, I designed a framework for it.

  • The Bot Scope

    I limited the scope of conversation with this bot by including a set of options that the user can choose from. Ensuring that the user understands the scope of the bot felt imperative to the process of getting potential customers accustomed to conversing with JanineBot.

  • The Chatbot Personality

    Janine Melnitz has a defined character. Using her persona in a conversation with the user would make the exchange less robotic. So JanineBot is flirty, sassy and a bookworm. 

  • Content Spreadsheet

    To help create a brand voice, ensure consistency of spellings and grammar, and to keep information supplied by Janine and Slimer up to date, I created a content spreadsheet. As long as this document is updated regularly, a machine learning tool like Rasa will be able to extract the data from the sheet and import it into the chatbot.

Content Spreadsheet -
An example snippet of the spreadsheet


  • Task Flow

    Laying out the tasks in the form of a flow chart helped me understand the scope of the conversation flow. Allowing people to work on it was useful to tweak the design for the high fidelity prototype.

JaninTask FlowBot
User Testing

Usability Testing

The in-class quantitative evaluation on JanineBot was very insightful.
Method: Usability Testing

Document: JanineBot Usability Analysis


The usability evaluation began with questions to determine if the participant was within the scope of the intended audience of JanineBot.

Interview Questions:

  1. Do you use Facebook Messenger?

  2. Do you have FB Messenger on your mobile device?

  3. How often do you check your mobile device in a day (~hours)?

  4. Do you always have your phone on you?

  5. Would you rather reach out to customer care representatives over text or call?



  1. Find the different activities that JanineBot can do

  2. Book an appointment with the Ghostbusters in early January

  3. Upload details of a paranormal sighting


Out of the five participants who tested the prototype, two had some difficulty with the process.

Usability Testing - Usability Testing-1.


  1. All five participants were comfortable using a rule-based chatbot to communicate

  2. Some participants found the personality of JanineBot charming

  3. None of the participants were irked by the conversation

  4. One participant found it difficult to scroll horizontally to look for available appointments

  5. One participant was uncomfortable booking an appointment without seeing the price difference between a Skype and in-person appointment

Hi-Fi Prototype

High-Fidelity Prototype


Software Used:


Changes to the System:


1. The feature that prompts users to enable location for emergencies was confusing for participants during low-fi prototype testing. 


Solution: Based on Jakob Nielsen’s principle of interaction design,  matching the system and the real world was an important step. The Emergency Response System (2-6-6) was implemented in the same way that users understand the 9-1-1 system.


2. In order to reduce apprehensions with booking appointments, JanineBot will be able to answer questions about appointment prices on the chat screen in the future.


3. For detailed information about the different kinds of services, the bot will provide a link to the Real Ghostbusters website.

Test the High-Fidelity Prototype: JanineBot on Botsociety

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