The Effect of Artificial Intelligence on UX: AI The Digital Apprentice

by | Jul 13, 2017 | Insights |

For as long as I can remember AI has been branded as evil machines whose only intention is to take over the world. Most people’s first thoughts about AI are reminiscent of terminator, the Matrix and iRobot. However, this article discusses how AI can help us specifically from a UX perspective. Although AI affects many industries its impact is largely felt in the marketing and digital realm.

So, What is Artificial Intelligence?

 

According to the Alan Turing website, AI is defined as the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans.

Techopedia expands by saying: AI is the area of computer sciences that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that are supposed to work and react like humans. These machines are taught to do some of the following activities:

  • Speech recognition
  • Learning
  • Problem Solving
  • Planning

 

 

 

 

But obviously trying to get a computer to act like a human is far more complicated than creating a code or algorithm that can perform as we do. Although this is a fairly new industry we are seeing massive strides in AI growth. Just have a look at the video above to see AI in action.

How Can We Use Artificial Intelligence to Improve UX?

The answer to this question can be broken down into several examples which all focusond how AI can improve UX without too much involvement from us humans.

 

Designers and AI Working Together

As much as we want machines and AI to be self-sufficient UX does not yet have the capabilities to be automated. However, recent advancements have allowed us to become more collaborative with this new technology. We have platforms that are driven by a series of algorithms, allowing us as website owners to create websites that are unique and fulfil its goals.

The Grid.io, although still in beginner phase, offers a glimpse into the potential behind algorithm based design. Essentially, you as the user supply the content and goals, and the platform then manages the layout and performs A/B tests to create the most optimal website for each user.

There is still a long way to go to perfect this technology and obtain the right mix of code and UX/UI rules but the outlook is positive. Other companies using this type of this technology include firedrop and Wix.

The main setback of these types of programs is that the sites are slow, sluggish and generally housed by bad coding. But we have to start somewhere and as we continue to build on this foundation we can start to create truly great websites based on Algorithms and AI.

The User Journey

Extremely important to UX and UI is the journey that a user takes through a website or mobile app. This gets harder and harder as the choice of devices expand and users try to fulfill more complex commands.

We as humans are better than tech at understanding where our fellow humans are going to be going or where they are expected to touch. But AI can learn this based on our insights. It can also, with further help from algorithms, create predictions and scenarios that could help enhance how we map out typical user journeys on a website but also across a multitude of devices.

A case of how we could shape a journey based on AI is the use of image search and touch interactions in E-commerce apps and websites. Although existing sites allow you to perform image-based searches using AI, sites could base on your history, predict your behavior and suggest content for you (be it outfits, product sets or articles).  By using this information companies could create truly unique experiences for each every user. There is still a long way to go before we can see this happening with ease but I think in some instances there are glimmers of hope.

Companies like Apple are doing Dynamic Target Resizing. Essentially with the help of Instrumental AI, the phone can increase the touch area around a keyboard character based on what it thinks you will use next.  This is the building block to personalised experiences.

Freeing Up the Human

Most designers or UX personnel will tell you that the most mundane aspect of their daily lives is the fact that they have to create many pieces of very similar content. This is where AI can become powerful.

Think about it, an algorithm can, with a set of rules stipulated by the UX designer, create mundane graphic content pieces very quickly. Imagine how much time you would have to create actual UX/UI design now. A real life example of this is Netflix. Their code uses images of characters and superimposed localized test to create a really large number of the posters you see when browsing their platform.

Does Artificial Intelligence Have a Role in UX?

To answer the question, yes, we can use AI to improve UX in so many ways. Essentially, we are at the starting point of what is possible with Artificial Intelligence and the User Experience. This is an exciting time in technology because the potentials are so endless.

Most of the cases mentioned above, already exist in some iteration. The limitations that they are facing are the lack of data or intelligence but these barriers are constantly being pushed. Ditching post-apocalyptic notions of lethal robots and embracing this technology means we can truly put the user first and start creating meaningful experiences on any platform.

Gus is a digital marketing strategist obsessed with data backed strategies and arguments. He is driven to constantly innovate and potentially change lives through online experiences.
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