Designers using AI create better user interfaces, faster.
5 min read
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In 2017, Toyota offered us a glimpse into their version of the future where surprisingly, driving is still fun. Concept-i is the star in the autonomous future where people are still driving. And in the case of Toyota, it's so much fun because they're cruising along with their buddy Yui, an AI personality that helps them navigate, communicate and even contributes in their discussions.
Yui is all over the car, controlling every function and even taking the wheel when required to. It's definitely an exciting future where the machine sounds and “feels” like a human, even exhibiting empathetic behavior.
Related: Preparing for the Future of AI
That's the kind of future I'd imagine awaits user experience (UX) in the world of AI. A time when the human-AI connection is so deep that some experts say there will be “no interface.” But currently, UX does depend on an interface. It requires screens, for instance, and they don't do much justice to it. Integrating AI into the process will mean better experience all around.
From websites to homes and cars, here's how AI could help patch the holes and bring UX closer to maximum potential.
1. Complex data analysis.
Until now, to improve user engagement in their products, UX teams have turned to tools and metrics such as usability tests, A/B tests, heat maps and usage data. However, these methods are soon to be eclipsed by AI. It's not so much because AI can collect more data — it's how much you can do with it.
Using AI, an ecommerce store can track user behavior across various platforms to provide the owner with tips on how they can improve their purchasing experience, eventually leading to more sales. AI can be used to tailor the design to each user’s specifications, based on the analysis of the collected data.
All this is achieved through the application of deep learning that combines large data sets to make inferences. Additionally, these systems can learn from the data and adjust their behavior accordingly, in real time. Thus, designers applying AI in their work are likely to create better UIs at a faster rate.
2. Deeper human connection.
By analyzing the vast amount of data collected, AI systems can create a deeper connection with humans, enhancing their relationship. This is already happening in a couple of industries. When you think of Siri, you see a friendly-voiced (digital) personal assistant. When Amazon first introduced Alexa, it took the market by storm. But its usefulness could only be proven over time. And it was. Smart-home owners are using it to do a million things, including scouring the internet for recipes, schedule meetings and shop. It's also being used in ambulances. Even Netflix’s highly predictive algorithm is a case example of AI in use.
Toyota says Concept-i isn't just a car, but a partner. From the simulation video, you can see that Yui connects with the family on a level that current UX doesn't reach.
By using the function over and over, consumers end up establishing an interdependent relationship with the system. That's exactly how AI is designed to work. You use the system; it collects data; it uses it to learn; it becomes more useful; gives better user experience; you use it more as it collects data, learns and becomes more useful; and the cycle continues. You don't even see it coming — and before you know it, you're deeply connected.
3. More control by the user.
A common concern about the adoption of AI to everyday life is whether the machines might eventually rise and take over the world. In other words, users are concerned about losing control over the systems. It's a legitimate concern with the autonomous cars, robots guards and smart homes expected to become commonplace.
This lack of control is mirrored in the skepticism for the future, but it can also be seen in commerce and other areas where user experience is of great importance. For instance, a user will be more likely to enter their card information into a system if they feel they have control over when money is transferred, to whom it goes and that they can retrieve it in case something goes wrong.
As AI develops, users will gain more control over the system, gradually improving trust which will lead to more usage.
UX design is about a designer trying to communicate a machine's model to the user. Meaning, the designer is trying to show the user how the machine works and the kind of benefits they can get from it, from the former's point of view.
Traditionally, this involved following certain rules, and designers understood them very well. A designer knows how to create a web page by following certain rules that they can probably manipulate. With AI, however, the design is dependent on a complex analysis of data instead of following sets of rules. To be able to design using AI, designers will have to really understand the technology behind it.