It has been a year since Chat GPT and other LLMs have taken off and over multiple aspects of our personal and professional lives. Natrually UX is not exempted from this and is being greatly influenced by AI models. The 2023 State of User Research Report by UserInterviews.com offers groundbreaking insights into this evolving landscape. I will try to uncover the role of AI in UX and provide practical advice for UX professionals to harness AI effectively.
A Glimpse into the State of User Research Report 2023
High Adoption and Popular Tools
The report reveals a significant statistic: 77.1% of researchers are incorporating AI in their workflow, highlighting its growing importance in UX research. Tools like HotJar, Dscout, Glassbox, and Dovetail, known for their AI capabilities, are widely used. ChatGPT, in particular, stands out as the most popular AI-specific tool.
AI in Research Tasks
AI is predominantly employed for tasks like transcription, qualitative coding, and report writing. It significantly enhances efficiency in these areas, as evidenced by its usage rates: 47.8% for transcription and 45.5% for report writing. Other notable uses include document signature collection, scheduling, and screening applicants.
Ethical Concerns and Guardrails
The ethical aspect of AI in UX research cannot be overlooked. The primary concern among researchers is the accuracy of AI’s analysis and the potential for it to produce biased or incomplete results. To mitigate these concerns, nearly half of the respondents have set limitations on the type of data used with AI, and many ensure a thorough human review of AI outputs.
AI as a Research Enabler
AI is increasingly becoming an integral part of UX research workflows. Its role in enhancing research efficiency is unmistakable, but it comes with the responsibility of maintaining accuracy and ethical standards. UX Researchers, in particular, exhibit a higher degree of caution in adopting AI compared to other roles like Customer Experience professionals or Marketers.
Practical Advice for UX Professionals Using AI
Enhancing Productivity and Quality
AI has shown its capability to drastically improve productivity and the quality of work. For example, consultants at a leading consulting firm reported a 33% increase in productivity and a 40% improvement in deliverable quality with AI.
AI as a Sidekick
Doris Lin likens Artificial Intelligence (AI) to a helpful assistant for User Experience (UX) professionals. This comparison is quite fitting. AI helps speed up the work process and improves the outcomes, but it doesn’t replace the need for human decision-making. When humans and AI work together, they produce better results than what either could do on their own.
While the ability of AI to automate tasks is undeniable, Jakob’s Second Law warns us of a more subtle threat: the risk of being outmatched by those who masterfully use AI to enhance their UX expertise. As AI tools evolve, providing significant performance gains in areas such as user research, personalisation, and design optimisation, those who fail to embrace and effectively integrate AI will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
This law emphasises the critical need for UX professionals to look beyond job displacement concerns and instead focus on developing a symbiotic relationship with AI. UX professionals can amplify their abilities, unlock new creative possibilities, and deliver experiences that are demonstrably superior to those designed without AI assistance by actively learning and applying AI-powered tools. This shift in mindset and skillset will be essential for navigating the future of UX and ensuring sustained success in an increasingly AI-driven world.
For Experienced and Novice UX Professionals
AI is beneficial for all levels of UX expertise. However, integrating human judgment into the AI workflow is essential. This includes identifying AI’s weaknesses, curating its ideas for practical design, and being vigilant of AI “hallucinations” or biases.
ChatGPT and Midjourney
ChatGPT, especially in its paid version, offers advanced capabilities in text generation, while Midjourney is recommended for its image-oriented features. Both tools require careful crafting of prompts for optimal results.
Crafting Effective Prompts
Providing ample context in your prompts is crucial. Asking for multiple options and iterating on the output can significantly enhance the quality of AI-assisted work.
Building a Prompt Library
Creating a library of effective prompts can streamline the UX workflow, especially in specifying common contexts and reminding of alternative approaches.
AI’s Limitations in UX
While AI offers many advantages, it cannot replace the insights gained from real user research. It is excellent for generating ideas and initial drafts but requires human expertise for final decision-making and analysis.
The Future of AI in UX
The use of AI in UX research is expected to increase dramatically in the future. It’s obvious that artificial intelligence (AI) has the ability to increase output and raise the standard of work in this industry. Our approach to user experience design is changing as a result of combining AI with human insight. However, it’s crucial to use AI carefully. It is crucial to strike a balance between enthusiasm for its potential and a careful consideration of its ethical ramifications and the necessity of human interaction.
AI is changing UX in ways that are more than just a fad. When AI is used properly, it can greatly increase the efficacy of UX research. It will be essential for UX professionals to stay up to date with these developments as these tools continue to advance. Staying informed and flexible in adapting to new AI advancements will be crucial for those looking to excel in this ever-evolving landscape.