Artificial intelligence reduces the user experience, and that's a good thing

When it comes to designing user experiences with our systems, the less, the better. We’re overwhelmed, to put it mildly, with demands and stimuli. There are millions of apps, applications and websites begging for our attention, and once we have a particular app, application and website up, we still are bombarded by links and choices. Every day, every hour, every minute, it’s a firehose. 

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AI winnows a firehose of choices down to a gently flowing fountain

Photo: Joe McKendrick

Artificial intelligence is offering relief on this front. User experience, driven by AI, may help winnow down a firehose of choices and information needed at the moment down to a gently flowing fountain. And application and systems designers are sitting up and taking notice. 

That’s the word from Joël van Bodegraven, product designer at Adyen, along with other UX design experts, authors of a series of ebooks that delve into how AI will impact UX design, and how to design meaningful experiences in an era with AI-driven products and services. “Surrounded by misconceptions and questions regarding its purpose and power, apart from its known ethical and philosophical challenges, AI can be the catalyst for great user experiences,” he observes. 

In the first work of the series, Bodegraven, along with Chris Duffey, head of AI strategy and innovation at Adobe, introduces how AI affects design processes and the importance of data in delivering meaningful user experiences. For example, AI can “function as an assistant,” helping with research, collecting data or more creative tasks. AI also serves as a curator, absorbing data “to determine the best personal experience per individual.” AI can help design systems, as it is adept at “uncovering patterns and creating new ones. More and more companies are trusting AI to take care of their design systems to keep them more consistent for users.” 

With this in mind, the authors make the following recommendations for making the most of AI in designing and delivering a superior UX:

Design for minimal input, maximum outcome. “We get bombarded with notifications, stimuli, and expectations which we all need to manage somehow,” Bodegraven and Duffey state. “AI can solve this problem by doing the legwork for us. Think of delimited tasks which can be easily outsourced. Challenge yourself to solve significant user problems with minimal input expected from them.”

Design for trust. “it is important that we design for trust by being transparent in what we know about the user and how we’re going to use it. If possible, users should be in control and able to modify their data if needed.”

Humanize experiences. “Looking at recent findings from Google who studied how people interacted with Google Home, one thing stood out. Users were interacting with it as if it were human. Users said for example ‘thanks’ or ‘sorry’ after a voice-command. People can relate more to devices if they have a character. “

Design for less choice. That’s right, reduce user choices. “The current high performing, and overly noisy world leaves very little room for users to be in the moment,” Bodegraven and Duffey state. “Design for less choice by removing unnecessary decisions. This creates headspace for users and can even result in the appearance of things we hadn’t thought of.”

The quality of UX will make or break the success of an application or system, regardless of how many advanced features and functions are built within. Simplicity is the path to success when it comes to application design, and AI can bring about that simpicity. 

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