What are we moving towards?

1. Using algorithms to create the value and flow (artificial intelligence)

Chat bots and personal assistants are already a hot thing. We are moving towards using more and more artificial intelligence in our products in order to make services as natural, unnoticeable and seamless as possible.

How to use AI in your product?

  • Find ways to reduce user input as much as possible
  • Start recognizing user patterns
  • Predict user behavior
  • Co-ordinate environments

A useful practice here is mental models.

Since through using AI we need less and less user input and provide more suggestive content and actions, we will start encountering different kind of risks. The future usability fails won’t be user interface fails. They will be etiquette fails — in other words “algorithm cruelty”. What this means is that people are prompted with information that is inappropriate or irrelevant for this point of time. You don’t want Siri to answer you with a joke when you ask her what should you do when your friend is in depression.

 

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To avoid this we need to thoroughly identify the risks in the early process. It is useful to make a list of sensitive information that people tend to not like to share — e.g. religion, family, social status, etc. — and to consider that when designing these systems.

 

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It’s also very important to think about the tone of voice — especially the use of humor — in the content provided. It’s especially tricky to use jocose copy together with user-created content, since the content could very possibly be on more of a serious or sad side. We don’t want to be bombarded with cheerful retrospective notifications if we had a sad year. (Hope no one has a sad year though!)

 

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2. Systems

Apps won’t serve as “destinations” anymore but together they will form a system of seamless stops to create a certain value on the way. Paul Adams, the VP of product in Intercom, divided the systems as:

  • People-oriented systems
    Services that need no discovery, payments or hardware. They’re integrated into other services.
  • Multiple systems
    Services are broken into bits and pieces and some parts used in systems “where people already are” such as e-mails, sms, etc.

 

How to remain a kickass product designer:

Are product designers about to be made redundant by a new wave of user experience where algorithms create the value and flow?

No, not if they manage to adapt to this change.

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So where to start?

 

  • Start learning more about system design
  • Think about how to break your service into smaller pieces (and APIs are the shieeet)
  • Think of other services where your service could provide value
  • Learn about artificial intelligence and think about how to use it within your product
  • Learn to “speak the language” — the next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets
  • Learn to craft the content
  • Start thinking like an industrial designer