We are living in space-aged times with stone-aged minds. This has never been more true, especially in the last six months. Since OpenAI released ChatGPT, the world of technology has been turned upside down.
That inversion has left many companies scrambling to determine how best to integrate AI technology into their businesses—companies know they don’t want to be left behind but often don’t know where to begin.
Whether you want to become the market leader, remain the market leader, or secure your position into the future, AI both poses tremendous opportunities as well as enormous pitfalls.
Making the right choice for your business will come down to a high-level strategy that reinforces what you do best as a company. Or, put this way, how do you take what you do best and use AI to make it even more vibrant?
For many companies, right now is a scary time. Scary because you don’t want to be caught flat-footed but also because you don’t want to integrate a technology that harms user experience and, thus, harms your brand.
The current crossroads is a double-edged sword, to be sure.
If you apply AI without the human user in mind, you might integrate something novel—and novelty itself is entertaining, but if you can figure out how to apply AI practically to human problems, then that is business.
The first step to getting right is to think about the human being interacting with the AI — your user.
At Integrity, we have specialized in user experience for 20 years here in St Louis, and with each digital evolution, we have harnessed cutting-edge technology and re-oriented that learning to help our clients build more successful websites, apps, and software.
We do this by employing not just the best minds but the most curious minds. Integrity’s employees are humans who sit at the intersection of technology and user experience.
At the end of the day, you want whatever technology you adopt and apply to support user experience — such as reducing friction or eliminating pain points.
Thus, successful integration will depend on your understanding of humans—because the humans are more important than the system. If you make the right AI upgrades for the humans — the money will follow.
Humans are fickle creatures. They seem unpredictable, but in a broad sense, they are actually more predictable than you might think.
We, humans, are animals—and when we approach our psychology and our decision-making (especially including decisions around user experience) with this in mind, we can integrate technology that people actually want to interact with.
Many of the most influential companies in Silicon Valley have understood this for a while. In fact, it is how they became some of the most powerful institutions on Earth. Companies like Google, Meta, and Apple possess the power to influence what we think about, what we care about, what we buy, and even how we vote.
Utilizing BF Skinner's famous psychological research, students from Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, now employed in Silicon Valley, applied the tenets of Skinner’s findings to their platforms. Platforms many of us use on a daily basis.
As we have come to realize, while these companies are wildly successful, these integrations didn’t always result in good things for the humans. Just because we can get a human to press a button doesn’t mean we should.
What motivates humans at the most fundamental level is survival. If we want to get UX/AI integration right, we need to check in with a psychologist and the principles most of us are familiar with — Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Needs are tricky — because these will look different depending on the status and class of the user.
So the question becomes: What does survival look like in the 21st century for someone who is using the Internet with a fair amount of frequency?
We would argue that survival means developing the means to acquire a steady state of security. Can I feed my family? Can I pay my mortgage? Can I save for my kid’s college?
What we also know is that when we ratchet up our resources, that new level of wealth becomes a new baseline. We adjust our expectations very quickly to a new, more comfortable environment.
We are animals designed for scarcity but live in a time of abundance. The desire to ratchet up is built into our system because hoarding resources is smart when there are not very many.
But in an environment of abundance, hoarding results in confusion. It becomes clutter that disorients the user.
In some ways, this is exactly what LLMs (large language models) are designed for. They are fed vast amounts of data—more data than any individual human being could consume in a lifetime. A well-trained AI can take that trove of data and offer elegant answers for your business—if you know how to prompt it correctly.
As the leading user experience consulting agency in St Louis, our job is to help our clients thrive in an environment of abundance, tremendous competition, and a rapid pace of change which results in an enormously complex business landscape.
What we do best is act as a strategic filter when it comes to AI integration. Our job is to know what answers are available and to stay on top of AI trends as they evolve so that we can advise our clients on what they should and should not adopt in order to best serve their users or clients.
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