Increasing The Value Recognized From Today’s IT Systems

Andy Forbes is passionate about CRM project delivery. He is a firm believer in the power of Generative AI to accelerate project delivery.

The journey of user experience (UX) design in information technology reflects a continual effort to bridge the gap between how humans engage with their environment and the costs and capabilities of computer hardware and software.

A Brief History Of Human-Computer Interaction

This work dates back to the 1950s, with the advent of the first computer systems. These early interfaces were primarily command-line based, demanding a steep learning curve from users. As technology evolved through the 1960s and 70s, so did the efforts to make these digital tools more accessible. The introduction of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) in the 1980s marked a significant stride toward a more user-friendly digital ecosystem.

The quest for better and more intuitive human-computer interaction did not stop with the GUIs of the 1980s. The subsequent decades have witnessed the emergence of numerous design philosophies and frameworks aiming to further refine the interaction between humans and computers. The rise of the internet and web-based applications in the 1990s propelled a new wave of UX design principles, focusing on ease of navigation, readability and visual appeal.

The advent of mobile technology and smart devices in the 2000s further diversified the UX design landscape. The small screen real estate and touch-based interactions necessitated rethinking design principles. A plethora of interfaces emerged, each tailored to the specific functionality and form factor of myriad devices and applications. The UX design community continually iterated on interface designs to cater to evolving user preferences and technological advancements.

The Lingering “Last Mile” Problem

Despite these endeavors, a persistent challenge remained: the “last mile” problem of human-computer interaction. Each application and device ushered in its unique interface, demanding users to acclimate to yet another interface.

The overwhelming array of features offered by modern applications is almost always underutilized, as users find solace in mastering a limited set of functionalities that cater to their immediate needs. In my experience, I’ve seen that, on average, users only engage with a small fraction—around 10%—of the available features in an application.

This scenario underscores our current reality. The evolution of UX design, albeit remarkable, has yet to solve the human-computer interface last-mile problem. Users are still required to navigate a labyrinth of heterogeneous interfaces to interact with the digital and physical worlds, often leading to a limited utilization of the available technological features.

How GenAI And PAIAs Can Help

I believe generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) will help address this 70-year-old challenge. GenAI presents an avenue for redefining the user experience by orchestrating a seamless, bidirectional conduit between individuals and their encompassing physical and digital landscapes. At the heart of this transformation is the emergence of personal AI assistants (PAIAs) that will help usher in an era characterized by personalized, continuous and bidirectional exchanges between humans and the world they interact with.

Multimodal Interaction

Images, Text And Speech: PAIAs can facilitate organic interactions with digital platforms using images, text and speech fully personalized to each user, minimizing the reliance on understanding complex graphical interfaces.

• Mixed Reality And AR Heads-Up Displays: These technologies, integrated within the PAIAs, can overlay digital information onto the physical world, furnishing a unified visual interface for interactions across digital and physical domains.

• Haptic Gloves: By enabling tactile interactions with digital information, haptic technology can further bridge the perceptual divide between digital and physical interactions.

Dynamic AI Interplay

As individuals travel through their daily personal and professional engagements, PAIAs can interact dynamically with many application-specific AIs. This interplay can span an array of domains, ranging from professional tools to personal smart systems, operating in a network of intelligent exchanges.

Information Synthesis, Prioritization And Representation

PAIAs can ingest and synthesize an avalanche of information from both physical and digital domains. They prioritize this information based on individual preferences, schedules and situational needs while representing human interests and requirements back to these domains autonomously.

Proactive Assistance And Autonomous Action

Beyond passive information delivery, PAIAs can embody a proactive stance, aiding individuals in navigating the information landscape. They can not only organize and deliver curated information but also act as an agent that autonomously represents the individual’s interests across various platforms, making recommendations and even taking preapproved actions on behalf of their human.

Learning, Adaptation And Recommendation

PAIAs will evolve, learning from each individual’s interaction patterns, preferences and feedback. This continuous learning will enable the PAIA to refine its recommendations, ensuring they align closely with the individual’s evolving needs and preferences, thereby fostering more personalized and anticipatory assistance.

Looking To The Future

The impact of GenAI and PAIAs is far more than simplifying interactions with future yet-to-be-released applications; it also encompasses unlocking the full potential of existing software applications. These technologies will do so by removing the barriers posed by heterogeneous, complex user interfaces, ensuring that these applications’ information and rich features and capabilities are not just accessible but intuitively aligned with the user’s needs and preferences.

The emergence of GenAI heralds a transformative era in maximizing the utility and efficiency of today’s applications. By leveraging GenAI, there is a tremendous potential to unlock the latent value within these existing applications, which are currently hindered by underutilization due to complex interfaces and the unawareness of full feature sets.

GenAI’s capacity to personalize and simplify user interactions, provide intuitive guidance and automate complex tasks could allow users to leverage 100% of an application’s capabilities. This not only enhances the productivity and effectiveness of users but also ensures that the sophisticated functionalities, often overlooked or underused, are brought to the forefront of user experience.

The result is a shift in how software applications are used, from tools with a fraction of their features regularly employed to dynamic platforms where every element is accessible and utilized to its fullest potential. This comprehensive utilization can significantly improve operational efficiency, decision-making accuracy and overall user satisfaction, ultimately translating into near-term and tangible benefits for businesses and individuals alike.

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