The advent of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major paradigm shift for our digital product industry. AI will allow us to accelerate our process and, more importantly, allow us to do more.
A lot of digital ink has been spilled about how the work of product designers will be impacted. This sudden influx of AI-powered tools has made certain skill sets almost obsolete. It has also created new requirements, expectations, and changed hiring practices for future designers.
The Soothsayer Designer
Good creatives will use AI tools for user-testing, identifying predictable and unpredictable user paths, create product research & benchmarks, and build user flows and wireframes by simply feeding the brief to the AI tool of choice.
Great creatives will see these tools as product development accelerators and the AI as a collaborator. Great creatives will ask the AI’s opinion and advice. They will leverage the AI’s expertise in ethical design and unbiased ability to foresee future needs or problems users haven't yet communicated. Great creatives will notice patterns and opportunities.
The Engineering Designer
Even with OpenAI’s focus on natural language processing, designers are expected to have good engineering knowledge. Integrating AI into workflows will require an excellent grasp of how these tools function and how they fit into overall design and development workflows at any scale. For ChatGPT to be able to provide a strong, relevant, and accurate contribution, we need to expect even more from designers.
The Dangers of Beige
The big obvious trap that many designers will face is the possibility of over-reliance. Where our implicit bias will not be challenged. Where users across the cultures are treated as the generic North American. The frictionless road will be enticing but the results will all be the same : everything will behave the same, feel the same and look the same — a monochromatic universe of beige. When we design for everybody, we design for nobody.
The Pioneering Designer
The challenge lies in recruiting designers adept at wielding AI while preserving the essence of design—crafting experiences that resonate. As we navigate this juncture, should we consider integrating AI literacy into yearly OKRs? Does AI belong to the realm of hard skills, soft skills, or does it deserve a category of its own? These questions propel us into a future where curiosity, empathy, and technical prowess converge, ensuring great collaboration with AI. AI will enhance, not replace, our commitment to user-centric and ethically-sound design solutions.