User Experience

Adapting UX design for AI

Once the purview of futuristic-for-the-time television shows like Star Trek and The Jetsons, we now have smart homes that operate on voice command, talking maps to direct us as we navigate our vehicles and watches that monitor our heartbeats. AI is ubiquitous and increasingly intertwined with the most private and intimate aspects of our day-to-day existence. AI has the power to make our lives easier, expand our capabilities, make us more effective.

But AI doesn’t do this by itself. Though AI has unlimited potential – we first saw images of black holes because of the power of AI – it is up to us, humans, to consciously design AI products that keep our human needs and experiences front and center.

You don’t have to look far to find an example of AI being created for the sake of AI, 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 value to the lives of users.

Source: Cotton Bro

Interview: Bo Peng

Portfolio Director,

“The reality is that the tool must be iterated on and presented to a wide variety of prospective users so that we're able to think through as many possible use cases as possible. So this in its very nature is an iterative problem to solve. And it's not a problem to solve simply by thinking through with a theoretical answer.”

Bo Peng

Portfolio Director, IDEO

For AI products to provide value to our lives, they need to be designed with purpose.

The principles of UX design will have to adapt and change to this new reality. The four Levels of AIX Framework: Efficiency, Personalization, Reasoning and Exploration serve to keep the user experience in mind and should extend to the entire team that designs AI products and services, from the lab to the living room.

“AI is nothing but a methodology,” says Sri Shivananda, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at PayPal. “For it to be consumable, for it to be usable, for it to be something that consumers can trust, design is actually the deal maker in that process. Good design makes that product seamless. It makes it convenient and makes the customer want to engage more and come back more and be loyal to the product as well.”

The end goal is to channel the power of AI into effective, meaningful, responsible human-centric designs that can learn and evolve with the consumer while building trust in the products and the people who design them. This is AIX design, and it can only happen if the development of AI systems and products are transparent and inclusive of the end-users but also regulators, programmers and researchers and the companies themselves.

Feedback and Articulation

Keeping users in the loop

AI in consumer products is about more than shiny, voice-activated bells and whistles. It’s meant to integrate with the user experience and continually enhance it. Which means in order to function properly, consumer AI needs feedback from users and users need feedback from the AI.

Effective feedback needs to serve a larger goal. It’s not enough to passively collect data from the user experience, that data needs to be understood in order to further a goal for the product. The “like” button on Facebook is the most recognizable and arguably purest form of user feedback, but the goal of the button is about more than just tallying up how many people like a piece of content. The AI algorithms take those likes and use them to discern popular content, and customize content that comes up in user feeds.

In the context of mobility, David Foster, Head of Lyft Transit, Bikes and Scooters believes feedback loops will be critical:

  • “I think that AI will be used to help aggregate many different inputs that a human might make into a vehicle for mobility. Combine those with inputs that the vehicle itself is sensing around road conditions, traffic hazards, etc., and then turn those into meaningful outputs that are either giving feedback to the humans through a different piece of output technology, or are themselves directing the vehicle or another vehicle to take a different action.”

AI design that can give users a feeling of control while gaining actionable feedback that will enhance the user experience is the ultimate goal. To reach it, designers will have to discern what the user wants from the product, and how best the product can meet that desire.

Interview: Rodney Brooks

Member of the US National Academy of Engineering,
Author & Robotics Entrepreneur

Intuitive Design

Adding learning to the UX checklist

Source: Ben Ali


Valuable design starts at the beginning

Source: This is Engineering

“I think that for anything to be really successful, it has to be about us humans. ... 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.”

Rodney Brooks

Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Author & Robotics Entrepreneur


Active vs. passive engagement

Source: Joshua Sortino


Making it natural

Source: Dan LeFebvre

Building a New Customer Experience with AIX

Tech that Just Works.

New technologies have often struggled with design. Sometimes clunky, sometimes overly complex, there are a few standout examples when form met function to create a consumer technology that was easy to use and that added value to our lives. Here are five examples:



From Its innovative button-free gesture control to its clean design the iphone has been a real game changer in the principles of UX design. And the key differentiator is its “fully capable computer operating system”



The popular tracker that motivates people towards a healthier lifestyle which is personalized based on individual needs and behaviours. It goes on your wrist and it just works.



Once an globally adopted iconic smartphone brand, known for their ‘BBM’ messaging service and physical keyboard. Power users could type emails with one hand under the boardroom table without anyone the wiser.


Polaroid Camera

Starting in the 70’s a brand we all still love for their classic designs and instant fully developed photos. Polaroids continue to upgrade their features with the auto-focus 2 lens system for sharper photos, built-in double exposure and self timer.


Nintendo Wii

A revolutionary device at the height of the video gaming console wars, the Wii remote was a light and slim motion controller that didn’t need an instruction manual. Just pick it up and intuitively start playing.

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This report is sponsored by LG Electronics and Element AI and produced by the BriteBirch Collective.

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