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HomeThe Future of Design: Is AI-driven Design Going to Override Human Creativity?

The Future of Design: Is AI-driven Design Going to Override Human Creativity?

An article by Pegah Mirzadeh, UX Designer at ELCA

Do you like watching Sci-fi movies where robots are taking over humanity? The fear that robots could someday dominate humankind with their endless but potentially emotionless intelligence now seems more realistic, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology than ever. New AI tools with countless areas of operation are popping up every day. And with it, the angst of people losing their jobs to robots. This scenario seems to have become a reality, particularly in the food preparation section, driving, and warehouse operations. 

AI algorithms can generate images and layouts, making the design process quicker and more efficient. They analyze user data, giving designers insights into customer behavior and preferences. It can also assist designers in automating repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on more creative aspects of their work. But will AI technology make people who work in creative jobs redundant, too? What is the future of design? Will it be human-powered or AI-driven? These all are valid questions. In this article, we will explore AI technology in UX/UI design field while conducting a little experiment at the same time.

What is AI?

But before we dive into the topic, we need to understand what Artificial Intelligence is. AI refers to developing computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, natural language processing, and decision-making. AI technologies enable machines to analyze large amounts of data, recognize patterns, make predictions, and adapt to new situations based on experience. In general, we can categorize AI technology into two types:

 

  • Weak or narrow AI, where a machine is not able to perform tasks like a human being, reason or learn based on observations, and if any specification within the technology is changed, human interaction and reprogramming is required so the system can regain its intelligence.
  • Strong or general AI (human level AI) possesses human-like cognitive abilities, including the ability to reason, learn, understand natural language, and think abstractly.

 

AI is used in many applications, including image and speech recognition, recommendation systems, autonomous vehicles, medical diagnosis, fraud detection, and more. AI is a rapidly evolving field with many subfields, including machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, robotics, and computer vision.

AI in UX Design

In recent years, technological advancements have emerged with many possibilities to ease human life. However, many in the creative community believed that automation would not impact their job category, as it is based on human creativity. With the emergence of AI, this standpoint is contested.

 

Historically, the creative community has been pioneers in utilizing the potential of technology to explore new frontiers and expand the limits of their field. Specific technological innovations have even inspired artistic movements. For example, the invention of the printing press in the late 15th century fueled scribe artists’ creativity, which led to a surge of new works and scripts. Later, the introduction of textile machines in the 19th century transformed the work of artisans, and more recently, the development of photo-editing software has led darkroom artists to redirect their creative efforts. Therefore, it is reasonable to anticipate that the rise of AI in the 21st century will bring about similar transformations.

AI tools in UX Design

Several AI tools are currently used in UX design to improve the user experience. Here are some examples:

User research and analysis: AI comes in handy to research and analyze user behavior and preferences data. For example, AI can analyze big data like clickstreams to identify patterns and insights that can inform design decisions. One example is the tool Hotjar. It is an all-in-one analytics and feedback tool that provides UX designers with heatmaps, visitor recordings, and feedback polls to help them understand user behavior and improve the user experience. Once set up, it works automatically and provides the UX researcher with data and analysis.

 

Design automation and optimization: AI may also be used to automatically generate design layouts based on user input or optimize website performance by identifying and fixing performance issues, automating repetitive tasks, and optimizing design elements for better performance. Some tools convert sketches into code, such as Sketch2Code, which optimizes existing designs based on UX best practices like Sketch Systems or makes UI adjustments like Adobe Sensei and Figma Auto Layout. Other tools, e.g., Canva, study users’ preferences and make suggestions accordingly.

 

User Testing and design validation: Some tools allow researchers to conduct remote user testing, such as LookbackUserZoom and UserTesting. The program then analyses user behavior and provides insights into how users interact with websites and applications. Another tool called Optimal Workshop offers card sorting, tree testing, and first-click testing that use AI to provide insights into user behaviour and improve the user experience. OptimizelyAdobe TargetGoogle OptimizeVWO and Apptimize allow A/B testing to compare the performance of existing design options.

 

Accessibility and inclusivity: there are also options to create more accessible and inclusive experiences for users with disabilities or special needs. Some options like A11y, Accessibility Insights or Axe allow web page analysis regarding contrasts, keyboard accessibility, alt texts, or ARIA attributes. AI can automatically generate captions or audio descriptions for video content or provide voice-activated controls for users with mobility impairments. AccessiBe additionally tests for screen reader compatibility. During the design process, IBM’s Equal Access Toolkit may support the creation of accessible designs. It guides accessibility best practices and can test the designs for accessibility issues.

 

 

Even though this list might seem extensive already, plenty more tools are out there. But how might they influence the UX Designers’ work?

A sneak peek into the future of design

With the ever-growing use of technology, the user experience has become more critical than ever before. Based on current trends, the future of UX design is expected to focus on creating more human-centered and intuitive experiences. Designers are expected to develop interfaces that are easy to use, accessible to everyone, and aligned with the user’s values and emotions.

The value of AI in UX Design

 

Above, we discussed where AI could already support UX designers. But what exactly are designers gaining from using AI in their work? One crucial aspect is speed and efficiency. AI-powered tools can help designers work more efficiently by automating repetitive tasks and reducing the time required to complete specific design tasks. For example, AI-powered design tools can quickly generate multiple design options based on user preferences or adjust layouts to fit different screen sizes.

 

Furthermore, it might improve User Experience and accessibility. AI might support designers in enhancing the user experience by providing valuable insights into how users interact with their designs. AI-powered tools can analyze user behavior and identify areas where the user experience could be improved. The analysis provided is valuable for making informed decisions about improving the designs and increasing personalization. Moreover, AI can help identify accessibility issues and provide recommendations for improvement.

 

 

Threats of AI in UX Design

 

While AI in UX design offers many benefits, there are also some potential threats to be aware of. Here are some of the main dangers of AI in UX design. One is biases.

 

AI-powered tools are heavily depending on data and individuals with unconscious biases. Biases can lead to designs that are not inclusive or fair to all users, like women or ethnic minorities. Another concern is privacy, as AI-powered tools collect and use personal data to make design decisions. Especially if users need to be made aware of how their data is used or if their data is being shared with third parties, this can raise privacy concerns. Also, creativity and knowledge might suffer if UX designers rely too much on AI technology. Tools do not fully disclose how and why they have achieved the proposed design, and UX designers might struggle to explain and discuss these decisions with others. And lastly, concerns in regard to copyright. Who owns the right to a design solution created by AI tools, and who takes responsibility when issues appear? Universities and schools have already raised this concern. However, the creative field will be confronted with those concerns too.

 

So how to deal with all these threats? An essential first step is to be aware of these potential threats. Then, measures to mitigate their need to be taken. It could include using diverse data sets, being transparent about data use, balancing human intuition with AI-powered tools, and ensuring that designers have the necessary skills and knowledge to use AI effectively.

The future of UX Designers

One question we aimed to answer in this blog post was whether AI would make UX Designers redundant. We posed this exact question in ChatGPT. The answer was: “While AI-powered tools can help generate design options and make design decisions, they cannot replicate the complexity of human creativity and intuition. AI-driven design is unlikely to override human creativity entirely. AI-powered tools are programmed to follow the rules and constraints based on existing data, which can limit their ability to generate genuinely innovative or ground-breaking designs.

 

Additionally, human creativity is influenced by emotion, culture, and personal experience, which machines cannot replicate. Instead, AI-powered tools are more likely to augment human creativity and improve the design process. For example, designers can use AI-powered tools to quickly generate design options and identify areas where the user experience could be improved. It would allow designers to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of the design process, such as ideation and concept development.”

 

Allowing AI to take over a UX designer’s entire work would not conform with the reason why UX was introduced in the first place. UX Designers need to be aware of biases regarding gender or ethnicity, as it has been shown in recent years that some AI algorithms are highly biased and sexist. Furthermore, understanding AI’s disadvantages, such as biases, is essential.

 

Nevertheless, it offers excellent options to increase efficiency and improve user experience and accessibility. But the key is finding a balance between using AI and creativity.

Resolution of Experiment

Have you noticed anything about this article? This article was partially written with content generated by ChatGTP. The aim was to see how good the generated content is and whether it speeds up the writing process. The conclusion is partial yes. While being an excellent content source, it does not fully replace an author. The questions and instructions need to be carefully formulated to receive suiting content. Furthermore, the text sometimes tended to be slightly monotonous. Nevertheless, it was an exciting experiment which provided new knowledge in applying AI.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the future of design will likely be a combination of human creativity and AI technology. While AI can significantly benefit designers, it cannot replace the emotional and experiential elements humans bring to the table. The creativity and intuition of human designers are still precious in the design industry. Designers can think outside the box, interpret complex information, and create unique, impossible designs with AI-generated designs. AI cannot replicate the emotional and experiential elements of creation. Human designers also can create designs that resonate with users on a personal level, which is a crucial factor in building brand loyalty. However, by leveraging AI, designers can improve their workflow, gain insights into user behavior, and produce more innovative designs. Designers can remain focused on the human element of design and use AI to enhance their abilities, not replace them. Nevertheless, being aware of potential threats such as biased algorithms, loss of UX knowledge, or copyright concerns is crucial. If UX designers find the right balance between human creativity and AI technology, the future of design will be exciting, and the possibilities endless.

Pegah Mirzadeh

UX Designer

Meet Pegah Mirzadeh, our Designer specializing in UX. Contact Pegah to discuss how he can help propel your UX initiatives forward.

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