UX + AI = AIX
Apr 23, 2021
You don’t have to look far to find an example of AI being created for its own sake, like the SMALT, a smart salt shaker that dispenses the amount of salt you “pinch” on your smartphone touchscreen, or the Quirky Egg Minder that sends a push notification to your phone if the eggs in your fridge are less than fresh. Amusing at best, annoying at worst, these products don’t add much value to the lives of users.
For AI products to provide value to our lives, they need to be designed with purpose. In the AIX Exchange – a new report released by LG Electronics and Element AI – leading researchers, designers, CEOs, policymakers, and anthropologists share their perspectives on AI’s future. All of them agree that a human-centric approach to AI’s design will be imperative for the user’s safety and privacy, but also for their acceptance and adoption. This is why the AIX design is essential for the success of AI.
According to the report, many of the classic design principles still apply, albeit with important new implications given that AI is always learning and adapting by nature. The principles of UX design and the 10 standard usability heuristics must adapt and change to this new reality, and should extend to the entire team that designs AI products and services from the lab to the living room, all the while keeping the user experience in mind.
The end goal is to channel the power of AI into effective, meaningful, responsible, and human-centric designs that can learn and evolve with the user while building trust in the products and the people who design them. This is the AIX design, and it can only happen if the development of AI systems and products are transparent and inclusive of end users, as well as regulators, programmers, researchers, and the companies themselves.
World-renowned roboticist, Rodney Brooks is someone who understands the importance of human-centric design for technology. As the inventor of the Roomba vacuum, he’s been developing AI for human-machine collaboration and cohabitation for nearly 40 years.
“I think that for anything to be really successful, it has to be about us humans. We want it to be about us, we want it to be easy to use. We have to build systems that understand our limitations, human limitations. Systems that when we humans see them, we'll take as some sort of promise of what they can do. And those AI systems better deliver on that promise. It's not just human-centric AI. The whole thing has to get into our consciousness in a way that we can intuitively understand it accurately. Otherwise it's not going to work out as an interesting or useful product for anyone.”
In an effort to begin ingraining the concept of the AIX design into our consciousness, as Brooks suggests, the AIX Exchange breaks down user experience into five key subsections:
Feedback and Articulation is about trust and transparency through more natural and human-centric feedback loops that ultimately provide end users with understanding and control.
Intuitive Design examines the dimensions that machine learning adds to the typical design principles we use on passive technologies. What needs to be considered as both the system and end user learn from each other?
Purpose is at the heart of all good design, and this is no different for AI. However, the AIX design also presents new possibilities for how technology can add value in our lives, and new risks for getting it wrong.
Presence is about how to design for AI systems that are set to run autonomously in the background vs. those we use and interface with regularly.
Interface is related to feedback and articulation, but considers more how AI communicates with us as opposed to what it says. Be it though voice, screen, touch, or thought, our experience with AI will be directly affected by how we interact with it.
The report’s User Experience theme raises questions about design functionality and purpose as it pertains to consumer devices and services. Whether running in the background or directly interfacing with users, how can we properly consider human-centric design principles to ensure the best possible user experience or, as the report puts it, Artificial Intelligence Experience?
ymakers and especially end users is the first step in achieving greater transparency and long-term trust for the AI industry.