I recently read an article, “How Artificial Intelligence Could Help You Design a Better User Experience,” written by Celu Ramasamy, which outlines various ways in which designers who use AI can create better user interfaces, faster. After our previous semesters with discussions on AI, as well as postings by other classmates, I found this article really interesting! During our spring semester, we read “Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2019,” with one of the trends being related to the use of AI (Newman, 2018). It stated that “huge steps continue to be made in the way of natural language processing and sentiment analytics” and elaborated on how NLP allows companies to “gather insights” which then allows their services to improve (Newman, 2018). It also stated that about 40% of large businesses have or will adopt AI by the end of 2019, and this recent article outlines a new way in which AI can be adopted by businesses relating to user experience (Newman, 2018).
Ramasamy begins his article by stating that he imagines a “time when the human-AI connection is so deep that some experts say there will be ‘no interface’” which contradicts what is necessary today, since currently, UX does depend on an interface, like requiring screens (Ramasamy, 2018). However, according to him, “integrating AI into the process will mean better experience all around” and by integrating AI, it could help “patch holes and bring UX closer to maximum potential” (Ramasamy, 2018). He posits it can do this in several different ways: by affecting complex data analysis, by forming a deeper human connection, and by providing more control by the user. He writes that the usual tools and metrics (usability tests, usage data, A/B tests) in which UX teams have relied on to improve user engagement will soon “be eclipsed by AI,” not because AI has the ability to collect more data, but rather how much can be done with it (Ramasamy, 2018). In his book, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability, Steve Krug explains how “usability tests are about watching one person at a time try to use something…to do typical tasks so you can detect and fix the things that confuse or frustrate them” and how tests with users can show “you important things you can do to improve your site” (Krug, 2014). This is different from AI in that AI can allow a store to track user behavior across various platforms and can be “used to tailor the design to each user’s specifications, based on the analysis of the collected data” all of which can be done through the “application of deep learning that combines large data sets to make inferences” (Ramasamy, 2018). In both cases, the main goals are to improve user engagement and to improve the user experience, but traditional usability testing has limitations regarding implementing changes based upon the feedback/data collected that AI will not/does not have, as explained in the article. These systems would also have the capability to learn from the data and adjust accordingly in real time, and so designers applying AI in their work would be able to create better UIs at a faster rate (Ramasamy, 2018).
Second, by “analyzing the vast amount of data collected, AI systems can create a deeper connection with humans” thus enhancing their relationship, which we have already seen in several industries (Siri, Alexa, Netflix’s predictive algorithm) (Ramasamy, 2018). AI is designed to work by establishing an interdependent relationship between the system and the consumer because the consumer uses the function over and over and it continues to learn and adapt, thus providing a better user experience (Ramasamy, 2018).
Finally, Ramasamy writes that as AI develops, users will gain “more control over the system” which will gradually improve trust, which will then lead to more usage (Ramasamy, 2018). He explains how a “designer knows how to create a web page by following certain rules that they can probably manipulate” which is corroborated by Krug who writes that “conventions are your friends” and explains how one of the “best ways to make almost anything easier to grasp” for a user is for the designer to “follow the existing conventions” when designing/creating a webpage (Krug, 2014). However, Ramasamy explains how with AI, “the design is dependent on a complex analysis of data instead of following sets of rules” so if a designer wants to design using AI, they will have to “really understand the technology behind it” (Ramasamy, 2018).
Does anyone know of any companies/industries that are incorporating AI into user design in any capacity? Are any of your companies doing this or even looking into it? Is it in the way this article outlines or are do you know of other ways AI can be used to design a better user experience? Have you thought about how AI can be used in UX or is this the first time you are hearing/thinking about it?
Krug, S. (2014). Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Newman, D. (2018, October 18). Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends For 2019. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/09/11/top-10-digital-transformation-trends-for-2019/#7fc9174c3c30
Ramasamy, C. (2018, October 12). How Artificial Intelligence Could Help You Design a Better User Experience. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/320675