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While Artificial Intelligence was all but a buzzword just a few years ago, it has made its way into the mainstream subtly and in ways we often miss. It is augmenting by leaps and bounds every year, and from AI that can beat the world’s best chess player to AI that can accurately predict Netflix shows you might enjoy, it is already embedded deeply within multiple facets of our lives and is here to stay.
The world of design is no different; the predictive nature of AI opens up a plethora of opportunities for user experience and interface designs. AI has the potential to learn what works and what doesn’t, and in terms of design, what facilitates interaction in the most natural and seamless ways. At this juncture, AI is not something that may or may not be adopted — it is an eventuality.
With that in mind, let’s discuss how AI has some serious benefits when it comes to creation and experience:
1. Data Analysis to eliminate monotony
In the process of creating a convenient and user-friendly experience, designers engage in endless tests and practices to perfect their art. These include (but are not limited to) heat maps and usability tests. However, with the help of AI, these tests can be automated and the stored data in the form of user choices and preferences can be leveraged to provide an even better experience. The time saved by inculcating AI in the process can in turn increase efficiency. Moreover, AI can also eliminate bias in testing. We, as humans, tend to have occasional personal biases when asked to remain impartial and pick between options based on prescribed parameters.
With that being said, not all tests can be automated, A/B tests for one cannot be automated. Designs cannot be created in a vacuum.
2. Ease in customization
Artificial Intelligence can collect a massive amount of data and its analysis can be used to provide effective customized user experiences. Incorporating and implementing deep learning (a process that imitates how a human brain understands data and teaches itself over time) to integrate numerous sets of data can streamline a customized experience. Deep learning can also study endless design variations and generate alternatives in seconds.
3. Thinner Interfaces
AI developments such as Chatbots which are designed to have natural conversations with users help in thinning the interfaces and reducing the number of steps the user might have to take in a traditional “connect with us” format. Natural Language Processing is what facilitates the mentioned conversations between the chatbots and users, and pre-written answers to every (appropriate) query in the book bolster the fundamentals of this interaction.
AI-enabled User Interfaces are transfiguring the way people interact, but one can never be too careful when it comes to such revolutionary technology.
Things to keep in mind
When incorporating AI in order to transform an experience, product managers must be mindful of the following things in order to effectively capitalize on the benefits of incorporating AI:
Facilitate natural interaction through AI
The idea of incorporating AI in User Interfaces is to make the interaction more natural and effortless, hence the data-driven system must only ask for inputs which are perceived as natural. The x% match on Netflix is one of the subtle ways in which Netflix leverages past interaction to maximise engagement, and this intricacy results in a natural input with you binging a little more than you anticipated.
Design for offline workloads
Minimizing reliance on the internet can go a long way. Users should be able to derive value without having to be connected to the internet at all times. There are times when one is completely engrossed in an application but is forced to snap out of it because of an unstable internet connection. This puts one-off and eventually, the person loses interest.
Emphasize privacy-forward thinking
One of the biggest concerns of any user irrespective of the kind of application is privacy. Given how easily data such as precise scans of the face and fingerprints is collected nowadays, it is important to assure the user of his/her privacy and its safety. When it comes to fintech products, the gravity of financial transactions makes the privacy and safety factor even more important, you can find an extensive list of design tips that enhance the trust-factor in fintech products here.
Realistic expectation setting
AI may make mistakes that were not anticipated by the product managers, hence, it is essential to set appropriate expectations for the users. In case there is an unanticipated development or mistake, animated illustrations that induce a feeling of forgiveness in humans work well. Moreover, AI algorithms should be in a way that the ultimate decision-maker is the user and not AI. It is important to ensure that the user doesn’t lose control.
While Artificial Intelligence and the power it holds may sound exciting, it is pertinent to also address the mild fear of the unknown that might be looming in your mind. Artificial Intelligence will not and cannot replace designers, it is programmed by humans and is going to work in tandem with human decisions. Context is everything and AI is not yet developed to understand it. It might never understand the essence of context, which is something that is exclusive to the human brain.
Robots are meant to do mechanical, mundane and repetitive work, the world of design is much more complex than just pretty boxes and clean interfaces. You can find a complete guide to designing for product managers here. The unique ability to create empathetic designs based on the industry and user base is and will always be exclusive to humans. Instead of a takeover, machine learning and AI in the world of design marks the onset of endless opportunities.
Originally published at https://www.onething.design on March 24, 2021.