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The Future of AI and User Experience Design
Our previous article covered the differences between UI and UX Design. UX designers consider all possible user touchpoints with the company to achieve business goals. In Artificial Intelligence, UX Design is important to make sure that users can give instructions to computers and receive a response.
Let's say you’re shopping for a Housewarming gift on Amazon vs. shopping on Etsy, which is a marketplace of arts and crafts. On Amazon, you can choose Prime with faster shipping or standard shipping. They packaged your order with an Amazon box and possibly allowed you to return it should there be issues. Meanwhile, Etsy’s sellers would ship their products to you with their packaging. Some of them put a Thank You card and add a sticker on it. You can order gifts on Amazon and Etsy, but the two stores offer different customer experiences.
Examples of how we use Artificial Intelligence today
Tesla’s cars use advanced data science, where the computer can become a self-driving car with a 360-degree camera, 160 meters of forward-facing radar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. With Edge AI apps, cars can make split-second decisions with fast calculations. It looks at two cars ahead of you, notices when the car hits a break, calculates the time, and decrees the speed needed to avoid accidents. Then, the car slows down. This experience is very different from other cars that still rely on humans to make decisions.
Netflix uses Machine Learning to present personalized recommendations. Users browse movies and get recommendations based on what they previously watched and what others watched. This experience is entirely different from previous DVD rental places.
Google, Amazon, and IFTTT have products for building smart homes. A person heads back home, and the house already predicts when the owner will come home based on previous data. The house opens the garage and turns on the lights. Once inside the house, the person can use the voice assistant to instruct the smart TV to play movies. The voice assistant responds according to Natural Language Processing algorithms.
Online banks focus on building customer experience without visits to brick-and-mortar branches. They use AI to detect fraudulent activities, enhance customer service with chatbots, etc.
Big tech companies
Adobe discusses Contextual Artificial Intelligence to help better customer experience. For example, a non-contextual AI would give weird recommendations to a user. As Oliver Brdiczka wrote, “An AI system must be adaptable and customizable by the user.” In it, Adobe tried to promote its products in AI: Adobe Sensei.
Google created a guidebook, Pair, written to help UX professionals and product managers. Some resources it has are tools that include some Github codes. On another page, Google discusses the UX design of AI. “If you aren’t aligned with a human need, you’re just going to build a mighty system to address a very small — or perhaps nonexistent — problem,” the article states.
UX Design in customer-facing vs. employee-facing apps
While a customer-facing app is dedicated to customers, an employee-facing looks at operations, maintenance, distribution, procurement, and more. For a customer to order a product, they would most likely use one app only. This would signal the employee-facing app. The employee-facing app would check on available stocks or the next shipping to the warehouse. When the product is ready, the employee-facing app will inform the packaging and distribution team to prepare for shipping to customers. Next, the app would inform the customer that the product is reaching his or her house.
Tesla’s cars would inform drivers when a crash is likely to happen. On the customer-facing side, it shows an alert. But on the employee-facing side, a lot of data analysis is going on. With AI, the car’s algorithm improves over time to calculate the best time to hit the brake to avoid a car accident.
Meanwhile, voice assistants deliver responses to voice commands on the customer-facing side. The employee-facing app would learn miscommunications that occur between users and voice assistants. The employees are responsible for defining what constitutes a communication problem between the assistant and the user.
In short, UX design improves Artificial Intelligence. Contextual AI, as Adobe mentioned, would help companies launch the best AI products. Our previous article, How to Leverage AI Technologies talked about Microsoft’s chatbot, Tay, which became racist as it conversed with other users on Twitter. A good UX design and contextual AI would have improved the product.
Business stages: Launch, Mature, Growth
When you first start your business, you are in the Launch state. This is where you collect and utilize data to make the best algorithms. Apple is a good example with their Machine Learning algorithms in their products. For example, they implement health apps on their iPhones. At this stage, you want to make sure you’re building good AI algorithms.
Meanwhile, in the mature stage, you would have enough data to leverage your products and services. You want to engage users to retain them in the longer run. Thus, a good UX design is needed. Here, you look at the existing customer journey and their pain points. You might want to add chatbots or voice assistants, machine learning algorithms, or predictive analytics to ease the customer experience. Additionally, you might want to integrate one product’s customer experience into another (smart TV with a voice assistant, for example).
Finally, the growth stage is when you want to expand the ecosystem of your users. Tesla focuses on automotive, where they first built hybrid cars. Then, they expanded to self-driving cars and, recently, trucks. Uber expands its ecosystem from transporting people to delivering food with Uber Eats. Apple expands its services and products from iPod to the iPhone to healthcare with Apple Watch.
Start small by building good AI algorithms in your business and use UX design to improve your business as it grows.
Steps to take during a downturn
Economic downturns occurred in 1930, 2008, and recently during the pandemic challenge in 2020. They impacted business operations and consumer behaviors. Some companies like Google and IBM invested heavily in AI to advance their healthcare studies. McKinsey wrote an article on how policies would change industries in 2020.
However, we must remember that technology is a worthwhile investment. For one reason, technology will always be more affordable, faster, and more advanced as time goes on. In this sense, your company can consider renting cloud infrastructure with Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or IBM Cloud Pak.
Artificial Intelligence should be planned with a good User Experience Design. In the future, we need AI that perfectly aligns with our behavior and assists our daily lives and needs.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.