Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and conversational interfaces are changing the way design happens. You may be familiar with the big announcement of an AI website builder called “The Grid” a few years ago. It was website development and design system that was powered by artificial intelligence. The idea was a platform where site modules and other interaction patterns design themselves, without the need of a designer. Conversational interfaces would engage the user to supply information and make decisions about the design of the website is created, but the results did not live up to the hype. The resulting sites were a disaster. The good news in the failure? Designer jobs will remain safe for the foreseeable future.

Personal Assistants

Personal assistants like Siri and Alexa have become very popular. Machine learning is making these personal assistants more potent than ever before because, with machine learning, these assistants also can learn from you, the user. These assistants use your past choices and usage trends to customize your experience. Based on your historical usage, an assistant can figure out what music to play for you based on the time of day, or which menu to suggest on Wednesday nights. They will also become smarter in recognizing how you see notifications and reminders. Machine learning is bringing on a brave new world.

Cognitive Computing

What is the driving power behind cognitive computing? Machine learning, of course. Machine learning applies different algorithms behind the scenes that provide powerful cognitive computing capabilities that enable apps to do remarkable things like seeing, listening, talking, and decision-making. What exactly are these capabilities? Those used most frequently include natural language processing, visual recognition, and face detection. Slightly more complex is the use of emotion detection, language translation, and even sentiment analysis. The main goal of all of this cognitive computing is to deliver better customer interactions and experiences. No matter what the industry, everyone is clamoring to provide the best possible customer experience.

Creativity versus Task Automation

Design is more complicated than other jobs that are task-driven and repetitive. These repetitive types of jobs are the ones that are most likely to be replaced by robots. As for design, it requires the ability to assess information within different contexts, to establish a framework for design, as well as an empathy for other users. Robots are not sophisticated enough at this time to successfully perform jobs that require that kind of perspective, insight, and creativity. Still, they are well suited to automating repetitive tasks and making designers more efficient.

What we will see in the next several years

We can expect to see designers and robots working together to create all sorts of new opportunities. One area where robots could be beneficial to designers is in automating specific tasks like cropping assets, color correcting photos, and resizing images.  AI is perfect for automating many of these tedious, repetitive tasks associated with a designer’s role.

Smarter Design Systems

Design systems are a series of patterns, modules, and elements that taken together build the design language of a brand or a product. Start-ups and enterprises alike trust their design systems to keep their products consistent for users. The ability to add a layer of intelligence to these systems to analyze how users interact with each element will help identify which parts work best for each function. With AI and machine learning, as these intelligence layers learn and determine what things are working and what aren’t, it will help to optimize design systems to deliver better results. Some web design companies are doing precisely that. Website builders Squarespace and Wix embed AI into their workflows to guide designers on more mundane design decisions, and we can expect to see more and more AI-driven tools embedded within design processes.

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Aug 5 20
Christina Zumwalt