Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a single technology. It is an umbrella of overlapping, codependent, and evolving software tools or hardware components that simulate ‘human reasoning’ and progressively make independent applicable decisions. These technologies are increasingly being deployed in healthcare, financial services, tourism, hospitality, retail, and other industries.

The immediate and visible impact of generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT and Runway, has been on creative industries, and UI/UX and digital design are no exception. AI, generative, adaptive, communicative, or otherwise, cannot create reliable user-experience design. Recent experiments in AI-led design have laid bare the current limitations.

Design is “not just an act of producing visuals, but a functional act of producing visuals.” The human element in design cannot be overstated. AI cannot bring empathy, ingenuity, and social considerations into any design recommendation. So, the functional aspect of design is where AI cannot help, but it can surely help designers. AI can’t create good designs but can undoubtedly aid its creation.

AI tools are helping user experience designers automate repeatable processes, offer personalised recommendations based on analysing large data sets, and mimic predictive user behaviours. However, ethical considerations are at stake, including data privacy and consent, regulatory mechanisms, transnational political concerns, sustainability, and inherent biases in datasets and codes.

User experience design and AI are completely separate disciplines, each with unique aptitudes, technical know-how and soft skills. AI can help designers in different stages of the design process and help them create user-friendly and engaging interfaces.

Here are six areas where AI tools are helping designers.

1.Data Analytics and Insights

US industry reports predict that UI/UX and interaction design jobs will increase by 3% over the next five years. This underscores the exponential growth in digital use. AI can help break down large behavioural data sets and offer designers critical insights into user habits, interactions, and preferences. The actionable insights generated can help designers make informed decisions on all aspects of design, from layout, typography, features, and continuous feedback based on a data-driven approach.

2.Personalisation of Interfaces

E-commerce giant Amazon actively deploys AI tools to recommend personalised shopping experiences based on customers’ browsing and purchasing histories, driving user engagement and greater revenue. Personalisation can help deliver tailored content, product features, and web layouts designed to specific user interests and demands. AI algorithms can provide a level of customisation with an immediate and downstream business impact, such as time spent, conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

3.Building better prototypes

Creating deployable user experiences require prototyping, and AI can drive its effectiveness, speed, and efficiency. Uizard, an innovative product, helps cut ideation time by almost two thirds, accelerates collaboration, and increases communication between clients and designers. There are other tools such as GenuisUI and Khroma help in different aspects of design, automating wireframe conversion or conceptual ideas into working prototypes, accelerating design cycles and better products.

4.Enhanced performance and design optimisation

AI tools, such as DesignsAI, can help continuously optimise design templates and interfaces to improve performance, navigation, and usability. AI-powered A/B testing tools help designers to quickly compare different versions, iterate fast, and show different user behaviour and adapt accordingly. AI brings a level of data-led depth to the iteration process that ultimately automates different design processes and helps build more streamlined customer journeys.

5.Generating great automated and unique UI designs

AI helps spur creativity. The amount of data AI can analyse allows it to recommend unique user navigation pathways. Coupled with human intervention and designers’ creativity, it is a powerful combination that can generate great designs. An example of this is Sidekick, the new AI assistant by Shopify, which allows retailers to completely change the look, feel, colour, typography and other elements of their website to reflect better new product catalogues, business objectives, or more.

6.Deployment support and design diagnostics

Tools such as Zeplin, today, are automating the design end process. They work as design hand-off tools that connect developers with designers. These tools automatically generate CSS codes, style guides, and more, easing the transition from design to deployment. AI helps in last-mile delivery for designers, analysing webpage performance and driving predictive diagnostics based on past data and established models. This helps in the long-term health of the product and drives design excellence.

We are in the golden age of AI. The technology has just taken off. There is so much more to come. Digital experience designers should learn how to weaponise AI for their own purposes. The ATLAS Edge Executive Program in UI/UX and Digital Design will teach students how to use AI and other emerging technologies in the design process. Programs such as these will help further integrate AI and design and usher in greater progress and enhance customer experience.