Allegion SVP and chief information and digital officer, responsible for IT and security, data and analytics, and digital programs globally.
For enterprises, it’s become widely accepted that the customer must be considered at all phases in the business cycle in order to achieve success. We’ve all heard the mantra, “The customer comes first,” time and time again. So, when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), why is it that the customer (or user) is so often an afterthought?
Both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design play crucial roles in successful AI product development and implementations and should be considered throughout the entirety of the AI life cycle.
Research And Discovery
At the onset of a project, UX plays a pertinent part in determining what to develop. Are you going to be building something that users actually need? Extensive UX research must be completed before any product development can begin to achieve a solid understanding of how the user is currently accomplishing the task and if an AI model can make the task more efficient for them.
It’s also important to partner with the user to understand what level of accuracy is needed to both see an improvement from the previous process and ensure confidence in the AI model. It’s not uncommon for this to be a challenging measurement for users to articulate — especially if they do not have a firm grasp on their current level of data accuracy. Including an individual with a UX background in these conversations can often be very useful to help bridge the gap between the user and the AI product developers.
Once you understand what the user wants and needs, it’s time to design the AI model with the learnings from your UX research in mind. This is when UI design comes into play and should also be considered during the development process. In fact, UX and UI design should be considered congruently during development to ensure the product meets the user’s expectations in terms of functionality, logic and visual appeal. Remember, the goal is to make the task at hand more efficient for the user, so the end product should be intuitive and something that the user actually wants to adopt.
There are also UI design opportunities within the model itself. For instance, a pop-up that communicates what the model is doing or why it is making a certain decision or something as simple as a clearly labeled button are UI design choices that contribute to a positive UX. Ultimately, communication with the user will lead to positive sentiment about the AI as well as build trust with the model — a fundamental milestone for success.