The Future of Product Design – Top Predictions Around AI, VUI, Design Process, and More
We’ve looked at various trends and technology to make predictions for the future of product design. Rather than put on a tinfoil hat and talk about flying cars, we’ve focused on how current tech will evolve and identified some real opportunities for product designers and developers to innovate.
This article explores six key topics: AI, voice user interfaces, code-to-design innovation, humanity-centered design, and smart cities. The opportunities for product designers are immense, with fully interconnected cross-device and platform systems required for the next decade and beyond.
Code to design is the future of product development–and it’s already here. Bridge the gap between design and development with a single source of truth from UXPin Merge. Visit our Merge page for more details.
AI and the Future of Design Profession
We can’t do a future of product design article and not have AI top the list. There are so many predictions about how this technology will shape product design and UX–here is what we know.
AI and machine learning are strongest at interpreting data. These models can use this data to understand user behavior better, predict outcomes, and identify patterns (good and bad). This data analysis capability is where AI will serve design teams most in the short term.
AI models can analyze products, create heatmaps, etc., and give UX researchers accurate diagnostics of what the data means, with suggestions to fix the issues. This type of analysis will reduce research time, allowing teams to solve usability issues faster.
As AI models evolve, they can make programming changes and solve these minor problems autonomously.
Automated QA and UX audits
QA and UX audits take considerable time and resources but are essential for developing quality, error-free products. Handing this task to AI will make product teams more efficient while increasing product quality.
AI will allow product teams to take personalization to the next level. Instead of personalized content, designers can deliver a customized product, including navigation, interactivity, and layouts tailored to each user’s needs. AI will also allow users to customize their algorithms to give them specific content, data, and feedback.
Tools like Galileo AI and Uizard will generate UI designs based on your text instructions. As these tools evolve, they could aid UI designers by creating mockups much faster, using components from your product’s design system.
UX and ChatGPT
Asked about the design trends for 2023, Agata Orłowska, UX Expert at Dietly, said that she immediately thought about ChatGPT. She even used ChatGPT to write the following section about it. Let’s read what Agata wrote us about UX and ChatGPT in collaboration with the tool itself.
What exactly is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a technology that allows computers to generate human-like responses to user inputs. This tech is becoming increasingly popular in chatbot applications, where it can provide users with more natural and conversational interactions.
Created by a research institute in the field of artificial intelligence (by the way, Open AI was also co-founded by Elon Musk, but he is no longer with the company), and is known for its work on advanced language models. Can simulate dialogue, answer questions, admit mistakes, question wrong answers, and reject inappropriate requests, making it even more like a human-to-human conversation.
Why is ChatGPT important?
This technology has already been used in Alexa or Siri, but it is only now that each user can see that it can do much more than turn on their favorite music or tell a joke. Now, this solution already has more than 1 mln+ users, and the first million was achieved in FIVE DAYS. Not surprisingly, it is currently difficult to distinguish whether we are talking to humans or artificial intelligence.
At the user’s request, AI is able to generate a fairytale, or a marketing article, suggest Christmas gifts for family or write simple code instead of a programmer. Currently, it is quietly able to replace simple programming work, Internet search results, writing an academic paper, or simple medical advice (sic!).
But what does ChatGPT have to do with Design or UX?
Some of the surprising uses of chatbot AI I have already encountered were:
- Asking interview questions of users from a narrow target group (for example, airplane pilots) in order to better understand their work characteristics and better understand their needs. Of course, as support for interviews and to deepen knowledge, not to replace user interviews ;)
- Generating catchy marketing slogans for a landing page tailored to specific target groups of users.
- Generating an agenda for an expert presentation at an industry event.
Of course, it’s not all, I asked also the GPT chat itself how it thinks where we could use its potential in UX/Design/Research in the coming year, here is the answer:
“UX writing: Use chat GPT to generate multiple language options for user interfaces. Chat GPT can be used to quickly generate multiple language options for use in user interfaces, such as buttons, labels, and error messages. This can help designers to understand which language options are most effective at achieving their desired goals, and can help to optimize the user experience of the product.”
“Research: One way that Chat GPT can be used in user research is through the use of chatbot interviews. In a chatbot interview, designers can use Chat GPT to create a conversational chatbot that can ask users questions about their preferences and experiences. The chatbot can then use Chat GPT to generate human-like responses to the user’s answers, providing designers with valuable insights into how users think and what they want from a product.”
“Design: Use chat GPT to generate personalized responses for users. Chat GPT can be used to generate personalized responses for users based on their preferences and behavior. For example, a chatbot might use chat GPT to generate personalized recommendations for a user based on their past purchases or interests. This can help to create a more personalized and engaging user experience, and can help to build loyalty and engagement with the product.”
Fasten your seatbelts, grab your popcorn, and don’t forget to watch and test carefully! AI can support the work of all of us and make us more time for what is important.
More Voice User Interfaces
According to Statista research, there were 4.2 billion voice user interfaces (VUI) in 2020, with expectations that this number will grow to around 8.4 billion in 2024. We’re unsure if this Statista report considered AI, but the rapid growth of AI and machine learning in 2022/23 could see VUIs exceed 8.4 billion.
VUI is prevalent in our daily lives, but these systems are fast becoming more advanced and integrated, for example, automotive voice controls, industrial applications, aviation, and other complex systems.
The 2023 version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system features AI-powered Voice Control and Touch Control. The system pairs with other Smart Home devices, so you can ask, “Hey Mercedes, is there anybody in my home right now?” “I’ve had a look. The last movement detected was in the kitchen one hour ago.”
Tesla’s Voice Commands are even more advanced, allowing drivers to ask the car to drive to a specific destination and adjust controls like wipers, lights, mirrors, and more.
Code to Design
We will see more code in the design process as design tools evolve. UXPin is leading this code-to-design revolution with UXPin Merge. This technology allows product teams to sync a design system from a repository to UXPin’s design canvas so designers can build prototypes with the same UI components front-end devs use for development.
Code to design has already significantly impacted PayPal’s internal product development process–what Erica Rider, UX Lead EPX at PayPal, refers to as DesignOps 2.0. DesignOps 2.0 integrates design and development into a single iterative process rather than the traditional model that separates design and development.
With a single source of truth, product teams can deliver projects faster with fewer errors and higher quality outcomes. Design handoffs are frictionless and smoother because devs and designers use the exact same components, meaning less documentation and explanation are required to deliver the final product.
Code to design will become the new product development standard, where designers use code components instead of image-based design tools to prototype and test products.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR have been around for some time, but it wasn’t until recently that companies started using the technologies for practical uses rather than entertainment.
For example, business technology giant Accenture uses AR and VR to connect its global workforce with virtual coworking offices, onboarding new hires, training programs, and other events. Microsoft Mesh is one of the enterprise AR platforms for these collaborative systems, which integrates with Teams.
Training is the fastest-growing application for these AR systems. Organizations use AR and VR to train employees, particularly for high-risk jobs, complex tasks, and frontline workers. Vsight and Glartek are two companies leading this type of AR training.
AR and VR are also making waves in B2C markets:
- Houzz has a 3D Floor Planner that uses AR to give clients a walkthrough of their remodeled home.
- Wayfair offers a similar 3D Room Planner.
- The L’Oréal Paris Makeup Genius app allows users to try beauty products virtually and purchase those they like.
This tech is still in its infancy, so there will be a lot of space for innovation over the next decade. As the demand for AR and VR technologies grows, so will the jobs and roles of product designers.
The Interaction Design Foundation published an interesting article about shifting from user-centered design to humanity-centered design–an idea proposed by Don Norman of the Nielsen Norman Group. Humanity-centered design seeks the best solutions for complex global problems rather than individual users.
Designers must consider how products impact complex, interrelated societal systems and how these will likely evolve into the future. The aim is to design products that positively impact society rather than satisfy frivolous needs and dopamine hits.
Humanity-centered design represents a design thinking mindset shift more than a new technology or trend. It considers sustainability and ethics when designing products and what impact you want your product to have on society and the environment.
Product Design Around Us
As parastatal and government services become more digitized, the demand for digital products and IoT increases. Smart cities require a lot of interconnected devices and systems to function–meaning large-scale product development and innovation from the private sector.
And guess what, those things will also have interfaces to design!
Microsoft outlines several examples where smart cities require digital products and infrastructure:
Cloud-based infrastructure is the foundation necessary to support the apps and systems of a smart city. Countries and cities will have to develop localized versions of Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services to protect their state and citizens’ data.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning play a critical role in smart cities, from monitoring sensors and cameras to analyzing data and providing real-time feedback and solutions.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart cities require many IoT products, from smart bins to fully automated public transport. These products need connected digital user interfaces and apps for user-facing operations with platforms and software for municipalities and states to manage them.
According to Microsoft, blockchain technology is vital for smart cities: “organizations and governments are investing in this innovative technology to create more efficient supply chains, simplify complex processes, reduce fraud, and quickly verify transactions.”
Blockchain will make city governance more transparent and give citizens more visibility over budgets and expenditures. Dubai, one of the leading smart cities, has spent over $300 million to integrate blockchain into its services.
This expenditure from a single city demonstrates the tremendous opportunities for product developers to create and manage solutions for countries and cities worldwide.
Future Product Design With UXPin
Traditional UX design methods and workflows are slow and cumbersome. The design-to-code process is inefficient and doesn’t facilitate the speed and accuracy required to meet modern technologies and demands.
UXPin Merge and code-to-design are the future of product development. The streamlined design methodology enables anyone from inexperienced solopreneurs to multinational enterprises to prototype and test ideas with code-like fidelity and functionality.
Reasons why code to design enhances product development:
- A single source of truth between designers and engineers from a centralized repo reduces the inefficiencies and challenges of design-to-code workflows.
- Realistic prototypes improve testing so product teams can identify better opportunities and solve more problems during the design process.
- Realistic, interactive prototypes mean stakeholders can accurately visualize the final product resulting in meaningful feedback and increased confidence in the design process.
- Code to design results in faster time-to-market with better quality and fewer usability issues, allowing startups to compete with enterprise organizations.
Take your product design process into the future with the world’s most advanced end-to-end design tool. Visit our Merge page.