Home Design Designing: Humans vs. AI – Part 1

Designing: Humans vs. AI – Part 1

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Many people believe that the role of a designer is simply to create visually appealing images. However, the true essence of a designer’s work lies in creating a user experience. It’s important to note that not all designers are skilled artists. In this article, Alexey Kulakov, co-founder and CEO of JetStyle, shares his perspective on the meaning of design, the work of designers, and the impact of AI on their profession.

As the design industry evolves, so does the role of designers. In this article, I will discuss the aspects of a designer’s work that are most influenced by technological innovations and AI.

Before we dive into the topic, let me give you some background. I used to work as a designer and was one of the first web designers in my city. Now, as the CEO of a digital production studio, I manage a team of designers who specialize in product development, AR/VR/MR, and UX/UI. For all of these areas, designer competency is crucial.

What Designers Actually Do and How Automation is Impacting Their Work

Designers are not just responsible for creating visually appealing products; their primary focus is on influencing people’s behavior and creating a positive user experience.

When users have a positive experience with a product and perceive its value, it leads to increased profits for the company. Thus, the success of a designer lies in changing user behavior and delivering a valuable product.

The design process typically involves various steps, such as briefing the client, conducting research, designing the user experience, developing prototypes, testing the experience, developing a style, engineering a layout, conducting design supervision, analyzing performance, and ensuring interface development.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these steps and examine whether humans or AI are better suited for each task.

It’s important to acknowledge that automation is rapidly advancing, and robots are increasingly performing routine tasks. As a result, it makes sense to delegate these tasks to AI and focus on areas where humans excel. Another option is to learn how to collaborate with robots and leverage their capabilities.

Disclaimer: In this article, the term “designer” refers to someone who develops target experiences, not just someone who creates graphic user interfaces.

1. Briefing Your Client

The initial step in any design project is to understand the client’s goals and the value they want to create. This requires a deep understanding of the user experience that needs to be designed. Detailed context is necessary to describe the environment in which users will interact with the product. Based on this information, designers can propose solutions and envision the future product.

It’s worth mentioning that AI can assist in communication and automation of certain tasks. For instance, AI-powered tools can transcribe voice recordings into text or help write business letters, simplifying the communication process.

However, when it comes to understanding the task, empathy, responsibility, and decision-making abilities are indispensable, and humans are better equipped to handle these aspects.

2. Conducting Research

Before designing a new user experience, it’s essential to conduct thorough research. Designers need to understand how users currently interact with similar products, identify their motivations for seeking alternative solutions, and analyze user behavior patterns. Best practices, reviews, early prototypes, and academic papers can also provide valuable insights.

While there are AI-based tools that can assist in gathering information and insights, deep research and the ability to process information are still better handled by human designers. Empathy and background knowledge play a crucial role in understanding user behavior and creating customized experiences.

3. Designing an Experience

Designing an experience involves creating user scenarios and focusing on how users interact with a technical system, rather than solely on the system’s behavior. Designers should pay attention to content and understand the context in which users will engage with the interface. It’s important to avoid designing generic “containers” for content and instead consider the specific content that will be present in the interface. Designers should also be mindful of key metrics that reflect changes in user behavior.

Many designers make the mistake of prioritizing visual aesthetics over user experience. However, the main goal of interface design is to shape user behavior and create intuitive experiences. Designing experiences requires understanding common behavior patterns and building upon established interface patterns that users are familiar with.

While AI-powered tools can automate certain design tasks and recommend best practices, designers still need to have a deep understanding of user experience and possess the ability to create new and innovative solutions.

4. Developing Prototypes

In the past, designers would create prototypes using paper and spend days refining their designs. However, modern design tools like Figma allow for the creation of interactive prototypes that closely resemble real interfaces. By using these tools, designers can quickly iterate on their designs and test them.

Prototypes typically include core scenarios that align with the product’s purpose. While anyone can create a prototype with the help of design tools, designers bring a unique perspective and understanding of user experience to the process.

Although there are AI-powered tools that can assist in prototype creation, they are limited to common interface patterns. Designing prototypes for unique or innovative solutions still requires human creativity and problem-solving skills.

5. Testing the Experience

Testing interfaces is a critical step in the design process. While psychologists and usability experts often conduct usability testing, it’s important for designers to have a basic understanding of testing methodologies. Testing allows designers to identify areas for improvement and refine their designs based on user feedback.

Designers should involve users in the testing process and observe their interactions with the interface. By doing this, designers gain valuable insights that help them create high-quality experiences.

While there are tools and services that use AI to collect data and provide insights, the interpretation and analysis of data still require human reasoning and expertise. Human designers have the ability to consider various factors and make informed decisions based on the testing results.

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