AI Applied To UX/UI Design

Artificial intelligence is becoming a topic of increasing conversation. But how real is what we are hearing? Does it affect us as UX/UI designers? Are you going to supplant us in our work? The Slash design team has immersed itself in researching this, and Malena Guevgeozian, the UX/UI Designer, clears up our doubts and analyzes how AI is applied to UI UX design services

It is nothing new that AI is revolutionizing our lives. Like any new technology that emerges, it brings advantages and disadvantages. But exercise caution—not everything that shines is gold. 

AI applied to UX/UI design, is all that glitters gold?

The first thing to keep in mind is that although we have the feeling that today everyone is using AI, this is not entirely real. Just as when we do our research we avoid bias, we must also have an objective vision on this topic. Be clear that what applies to us does not have to apply to the rest. We’re not all early adopters. Perhaps in the design and technology environment in which we operate, many are taking their first steps with AI. However, globally, there are many others who have no idea what this is about. Some, like large companies, do have an idea but have such long and slow processes that they are at a great disadvantage in their implementation compared to startups and freelancers. We must also keep in mind that this is not something that was invented yesterday. We have been consuming products that have AI for a long time, although perhaps we are not so aware of it. Or how do you think Netflix and Spotify will be able to recommend series and music to you?

Let’s go to our specific case. AI applied to UX/UI design is still in its infancy, according to several experts. There is still a long way to go to become a reliable tool. Some designers say that the results achieved with AI are still not at the level of what has been achieved by humans. At the same time, they are a little distrustful of how objective the information obtained can be in the case of using AI for research. After all, how do we know the source of the information? How do we ensure that it is representative of the entire population and not just a certain group? I don’t want to go into paranoid mode and conspiracy theories, but who is behind the AI ​​training and the information it relies on to give us results?

How to apply AI to UX/UI design?

Beyond its possible disadvantages, we must also admit that applied AI and UX/UI design can help us a lot by automating some tasks. Especially those that are repetitive and that we designers love to avoid. For example, documentation. It could also help researchers with interview transcription, information summary, and benchmarking. Furthermore, it can be useful to us in specific phases of the projects. An example would be in the ideation phase, where the quantity and diversity of ideas are worth more than their quality. And as I mentioned before with the example of Netflix, it could be helpful to improve the user experience through personalization and even accessibility, for example with voice commands or gestures.

Artificial intelligence has led to the creation of several tools that also help in UI design. An example is Khroma to create color palettes based on your preferences automatically. Or Fontjoy to select fonts that work well with each other or Wizard that transforms your sketches into digital components.

This may be a bit alarming and makes us wonder if AI will replace the role of the designer. But do not spread panic! From my point of view, the main advantage of AI is undoubtedly the saving of time and the support for repetitive tasks that we would all like to delegate. But there are two human factors that artificial intelligence cannot replace, or at least for now: empathy and creativity. 

AI: empathy and creativity

When we get into the world of UX we hear thousands of times that you cannot design without having empathy with users. Empathy allows us to put ourselves in the other’s shoes. Understand their problems and needs without judging and be able to think of solutions. Many times not even the user himself is aware of what he needs or what his problem is. That is why when conducting interviews you must always know how to read between the lines and not always take everything the user says completely literally. For this, you need a human. 

Due to the very nature of artificial intelligence of returning results based on what it has learned, I don’t think it can be too creative either. Because? Well, because all the results will be based on already existing things. Furthermore, human error, although it can sometimes put us in trouble, has also led to great inventions throughout history. So why avoid it? I remember a university professor who always told us that we had to know the rules of design to be able to break them. And this seems to me to be an exclusively human capacity. AI will probably give us perfect results. But is a perfect result always the best solution?

AI and designers: the perfect match

Without a doubt, it is a tool that is changing things. As designers, we must learn to use and take advantage of all its advantages. But, from my point of view, that’s all it is: just another tool that cannot replace designers. If you don’t believe me, you can believe Jakob Nielsen, a great reference in the world of UI UX design agency who says that we should not assume that because it is artificial intelligence we will not need a designer, quite the opposite. We’re going to need it more. It is increasingly necessary to have more in-depth information about users and their problems before artificial intelligence can be applied. Furthermore, he thinks that with the help of AI, we can be more productive and efficient. And that increase in productivity could even lead to an increase in our salaries. Interesting, right?

Let us see AI as an ally, not a replacement. As a tool that helps us do our work better. Being able to automate repetitive processes to focus on the most essential aspects and develop increasingly better and more relevant products for our users. 

While researching this topic I heard this phrase: “You are not going to be replaced by AI, but you will be replaced by people who use it.” I think it will, so let’s start using it! But, as they say in Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” So go ahead! Explore this tool without fear. To take all the good that it brings us. But also to use it critically and responsibly. Questioning everything that generates doubts and distrust in us. We are aware that the products we design will always be for real users with real needs, and it is with them that we are committed as designers.

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