UI has been at the forefront of the software experience ever since the beginning. The way for users to interface with the software and hardware must be simple and intuitive, and must provide the user with functionality that seems natural in its origin.
This is due to the fact that the interface itself represents human intelligence, which is abstract in nature, communicating with a computer, which has a concrete ‘thinking’ style. This causes friction, with a change on the horizon with the advent of AI as the new UI.
Computer Vision & Intelligent Automation Is Revolutionising UI
As mentioned previously, UI represents the fit between humans and computer system of various kinds. Due to the translation required between human language and computer languages, various design elements come into the picture.
Owing to the generally technical approach that is taken towards designing computers, jargon is a mainstay of complicated applications. The traditional layouts of menus, submenus and tabbed option groups are beginning to get old now as intuitive use is hidden behind a large number of features.
The purpose of UI is to allow the user to completely be able to express what they wish to do with the software, as this will allow for a seamless user experience. Moreover, there will also be reduced frustration when it comes to using the software in real-world applications, as it is faster and easier to fulfill what the user wishes to do with the software.
Current solutions try to achieve a seamless fit as possible, with the advent of touch changing a large number of UI elements. However, what the user wants to do is still not conveyed in exact terms, and must be reached by learning the software itself.
The nature of artificial intelligence, especially computer vision, NLP and intelligent automation, can achieve a lot towards changing the way UI is handled. Due to most of these themselves being ‘interface’ algorithms of sorts, it becomes easy to integrate them into traditional UI elements.
This AI system’s ability to understand humans puts them at a unique advantage as opposed to the computer-based design elements of the past. The use of AI allows for a truly understanding experience without the need for dialogue boxes and sub menus to sift through in order to find a single option.
How AI Can Change UI
Primarily, AI will begin its entry in to the UI field through basic optimisations such as an option search bar employing NLP, or smart gesture control using computer vision.
Examples of this are already being seen in Microsoft’s Office Suite, where ‘Tell me What you want to do’ search boxes have already begun appearing.
This box functions as a smart search box for not only settings, but also as a dictionary and a method for using Spellcheck quickly. It can also change properties of the document itself, and apply various formatting options.
Another AI element is also seen with respect to smart formatting options that automates tasks with an intelligent view.
AI-Powered Automation Will Rule UI Design
The introduction of AI to UI will also enable the rise of integration of the technology into various feature-heavy applications. AI will also allow more and more features to be added without a worry for feature bloat, as NLP will enable filtering the glut for users that only require certain features.
As it has done with the Internet, recommendation engines will be the starting point for AI as UI. Certain options or settings will be recommended intelligently based on certain things that the user is doing, such as selecting text or the learned automation of repetitive operations.
Once recommendations begin an accepted part of the UI experience of the program, higher order machine learning can be employed. ML can be used to observe user actions and predict what the user is trying to do, and hence guide them to the optimal outcome within the least amount of time.
The evolution of AI-powered UI systems will come to an apex with the algorithms taking the role of performing more complex tasks or even sub-routines, either based on commands from the user or the learnt data from user actions.
This level of AI helper will also learn from itself and enable a collaboration between multiple processing levels to ensure a truly automated experience.
Apart from ML being integrated into the application, CV for gesture recognition can be a big part of user experience in the future.
CV, along with embedded cameras and tech such as eye-tracking, is set to be the newest way for individuals to interact with their computers. As such, AI continues to reduce the gap between humans and computers.