According to Google technical director Ray Kurzweil: By 2029, computers will likely be smarter than humans, and the future of UX will become more automated. The latest technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can already support non-linear and logically complex tasks that require human participation, and technological innovation is changing people's way of life. Tech startups, for example, not only provide relevant advice for autonomous driving, but even smarter advice for show performances.
Automation plays an increasingly important role in how we create and use complex products, and we can sense that automation will play a huge role in the future of UX design. The automation of UX design is likely to be the next big thing to impact the entire industry of UX design – whether it’s optimizing the design feedback process, or changing and streamlining the way product teams operate, automation will play a big role. Automation is continuously enhancing our ability to create compelling products.
Design Automation: Quickly turn concepts into high-fidelity prototypes
Typically, UX designers draw user experience b2b data maps and information architecture diagrams, and conduct user research work during the product design process. During the design process, the typical output of a designer includes: hand-drawn sketches, as shown in Figure 1. There are also flowcharts, architecture diagrams, and wireframes of varying fidelity, as shown in Figure 2. Some of these deliverables -- especially high-assurance prototypes -- can take weeks or even months to paint. In general, developers will not enter the development process until the design process is fully completed, because the design draft provides guidance for subsequent development.
Figure 1 Low-fidelity user interface sketch
Figure 2 Low-fidelity user interface sketch
Therefore, we need to find new ways to optimize the entire usability testing process to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the design, ultimately enabling faster feedback and shorter verification cycles. By applying automation techniques, if you can quickly create low-fidelity wireframes and generate high-fidelity interfaces at the same time, you can create product interfaces in less time and spend more time and effort on user research, ultimately It can speed up every aspect of improving the user experience.
Automation offers endless opportunities
Airbnb pioneered the design process for automating user experience, becoming a pioneer in automated design. In their article, "The Hand Sketching Interface," Benjamin Wilkins, Head of Design Technology at Airbnb, and Jon Gold, Design Technologist at Airbnb, demonstrate how to use specialized camera equipment and software to produce low-fidelity sketches and high-fidelity visual prototypes in real time, such as diagrams 3 and 4. Airbnb’s visual design team eventually embraced the automated output and made adjustments to the visuals, proving the speed at which prototypes were created to get quick feedback and validate designs.
Figure 3 Airbnb Design
Figure 4 Airbnb’s iterative design
"We invest in code as a design tool. It handles the presentation of content including interface layout and design presentation, logic and data, etc. through code. It helps to reduce the distance between engineers and designers, as well as shorten visual diagrams and online effects distance between graphs". - Alex Schleifer, Head of Design, Airbnb
While automation won't happen overnight, forward-thinking companies like Airbnb are exploring new ways of working that will become mainstream in the future. Thanks to their exploration and research, we are better able to assess the opportunities and impacts of automation and understand how to better leverage these innovations to improve the way we work. Whether it’s personal skill enhancement or process optimization for design teams, the potential for automating design is enormous.
After understanding the content related to automation design, the author compares the existing product launch process with the product launch process using automated design, as shown in Figure 5:
Figure 5 Process comparison before and after applying automation design
Traditional product launch process
Demand output, when there is no problem in demand review, it will enter the interactive design stage (including initial sketch plan drawing, main interface drawing, and complete interactive interface and interactive description writing). After the interaction design is basically completed, it will enter the visual design stage, and the front end can be developed Stage; while the interaction design is carried out, the back-end provides the interface synchronously. After the development is completed, it will enter the testing stage. If there is no problem in the test, the product can be released online. After going online, collect user feedback and enter the next round of product iteration.
Automated product launch process
Demand output, enter the interaction design stage when there is no problem in the demand review. After the sketch is drawn in the interaction stage, the sketch can be converted into a high-fidelity prototype interface through automation technology (the vision can be adjusted accordingly) to reduce interaction, vision and front-end. development effort. After the front-end and back-end development is completed, it will enter the testing phase. If there is no problem in the test, the product can be released online. After going online, collect user feedback and enter the next round of product iteration.
In order to facilitate the understanding of automation technology, the translator briefly summarizes the realization principle of automation technology: automation technology relies on a powerful front-end visual language, and requires a powerful front-end component library to identify the meaning of placeholders in sketches. For example, when a placeholder is drawn in a sketch, intelligent technology is used to automatically identify the component that the placeholder represents in the product, thereby generating a high-fidelity user interface. Therefore, you can quickly see the rendering of the product from the sketch stage to the launch, and it is also convenient to make timely corrections to the design scheme.
Combining the comparison of the two processes, the translator summed up the three advantages of application automation design based on his own work experience:
(1) Quickly verify multiple design schemes
In the case of a tight project iteration cycle, designers lack extra time and energy to design multiple solutions, let alone verify which design solution can better meet user needs. In the era of lean design, it is difficult to test the usability of each design solution. In the automatic design process, the design sketch can be directly converted into a clickable high-fidelity prototype interface, and the interaction designer has more time and energy to draw various design schemes and use the high-fidelity interface for user testing, so as to quickly adjust the design scheme It can help users solve pain points more accurately, thereby improving user experience.