Generative AI: A Golden Opportunity for UX
by Ayça Çakmakli
3 min read
A Responsible AI UX Lead’s Perspective
What a truly inspiring time to be a User Experience professional. As UX/Product designers, we are the primary user-advocates embedded in the product development process; our core skill-set is vital to the responsible development and deployment of generative AI-powered products that truly benefit people and society.
We live in tumultuous times. On one hand, our society is struggling with an ever-expanding list of major world challenges, which I’ve discussed before, from the ongoing climate crisis, the disintegration of truth and trust in institutions, the viral spread of mis/disinformation, our struggling education system, to the mental health crises etc. This is not good. Yet on the other hand, brilliant engineers and research scientists have developed an exciting and powerful new technology — generative AI (genAI) — with the fortunate potential to address such significant problems. This is good!
Big problems, and the potential for big solutions.
But, in order to realize the positive potential of genAI technology, we need to successfully align the significant unmet needs of users and society with the problem-solving potential of our technologies. Creating efficient, effective, and elegant products that can move us closer to solutions is a difficult and sometimes overlooked task. Establishing these synergies is our core super-power as UX/Product designers. We are the connective tissue between the vast technological expertise of our engineers and the user/societal expertise of our academics and research scientists.
Great UX/Product designers possess a unique ability to harness disparate areas of expertise and manifest from it the products people need; the products that not only just change people’s lives but unequivocally improve people’s quality of life. And, it is this specific ability that is so valuable at a time when problems are many and the problem-solving potential is fast-developing.
Excited? Me too. Consider this a call to action for all talented and insightful UX/Product designers willing to do the work. If we hope to keep people and society at the center of our design process and create products that resonate with a diversity of users, we need to utilize the core UX/Product designer’s skill-set and amplify their voice.
There’s a lot of great guidance to execute on these ideas from PAIR and we are actively working on updating the PAIR Guidebook, its workshop kit, and our Explorables (see our latest, which looks at how AI models learn to generalize from training data) with new guidance for genAI products specifically. And, look forward to follow-up posts in the coming months featuring UX designers and researchers working with responsible genAI, who will share how they have been adapting their approach. Sharing lessons learned and guidance for the UX community is important not only for designing better generative AI products, but also for building stronger user-focused approaches to developing generative AI. As recent research from PAIR’s founders Martin Wattenberg, Fernanda Viégas, in collaboration with PAIR Senior UX Designer Mahima Pushkarna and Google researchers Nitesh Goyal and Nur Yildirim, shows, AI guidance is useful not only for addressing AI’s design challenges, but also for establishing an internal culture around human-centered AI.
I’m interested in your perspective on how we might make the most of this unique opportunity as a UX community. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.