A Wise World By Design

Cognitive Experience Design, is the practice of using artificial intelligence (ai) to invent, reinvent and design products, services, systems, organizations and or the way a companies or governments work. Cognitive Experience Design balances the rigor and wonder of 4 disparate design practices: The artful intention and intuition of Human Centered and User Centered Design and the objective scientific approach to Cognitive and Neuro-Ergonomics. Simply put, Cognitive Experience Design moves business from the limitations of design thinking to the measurable magic of Design For Thinking & Doing.

The CognitiveExperience.design foundation was established in 2014 by world-renowned inventor and designer, Joanna Peña-Bickley in order to advance the reinvention of design education by introducing new practices and tools (e.g. Ai) to design solutions to this century’s unpredictable logic, the entanglement.

CognitiveExperience.Design is an international organization fighting for equitable access to digital literacy and a world where everyone can augment and access intelligence equitably.

This CognitiveExperience.design site is a living collection of resources at intersection of design, data, media, machine learning and artificial intelligence that strives to democratize learning and intelligence for all humans.



Q: What is cognitive experience design?
A: Cognitive experience design, #CognitiveXD or CXD is the practice of using artificial intelligence (ai) technologies to reduce the human mental effort and time required to complete a task. Cognitive Experience Design employs knowledge of Neuroscience, human perception, mental processing, modeling and memory.

Q: Which Ai Technologies to apply to cognitive experience design?
A: Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML), Decision Management, Deep Learning, Biometrics, Robotic Process Automation, Simulations, Augmented Virtual, Mixed and Extended Reality . For More Info Read Making Magic with Ai.

Q: Why do we need cognitive experience design?
A: A Designer’s creed is to create and invent products and services that are service to the humans. Today, 59% of the global population (4.66 billion people) are living in a connected world where we are inundated with incoming data in the form of incoming notifications, reminders, articles, posts, professional and personal content, email and instruction. This inundation of information, being called an infodemic by the World Health Organization, has led to the human condition called cognitive overloadCognitive overload occurs when the volume of information supply exceeds the information processing capacity of the human brain. To understand the scale of the problem, let me illuminate the facts: In 2020, people are producing 3.5 billion searches a day, sending 294 billion emails, posting 230 million tweets, creating 75+ petabytes of user-generated data on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram everyday. This is far too much information and too many tasks for any human to simultaneously reason, understand and react. This phenomena results in a human’s inability to process this information. Cognitive experience design and the study of cognitive ergonomics is the cure for machine (or device) induced human cognitive overload.

Q: Who is cognitive experience design for?
A: Ultimately cognitive experience design is for humans. More specifically, cognitive experience design is a practice for any designer who strives to design human interfaces with machines. Design practitioners can use CognitiveXD to bestow superhuman powers on their users, customers, employees, patients, members etc. for a task in time and space.

Q: When does using cognitive experience design as a practice make sense?
A: Everyday. Cognitive experience design should be used to solve human problems at the intersection of space and time. In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model which fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional continuum. I use cognitive experience design to understand the whole human experience, their mental model and journey and seek to improve it in a specific time and space with Ai technologies like Natural Language Generation, Speech Recognition, Virtual Assistants, Machine Learning, AI-optimized Hardware, Decision Management, Deep Learning, Biometrics, Robotic Process Automation, Text Analytics and NLP.

Q: What advise would you give to a designer working with Ai like Watson or Alexa?
A: The user experience of an AI (e.g. Alexa, Watson) begins with the belief that a human will have the final say. The more an AI’s behavior is altered by personal context, the more signals, reference points and calibration opportunities should be offered to the user. Using my analogy of a needle in a digital haystack: The role of an AI shouldn’t be to remove agency from the user. Simply put: The role of an AI should NOT be to find the needle in the haystack. It should be to show the user how much hay it can clear so they can better see the needle themselves. The best example of this is when I was designing diagnosis tools for healthcare professionals. It was critical that our interface 1) telegraph the amount of data it was sorting through, 2) when you surfaced possible diagnosis you demonstrated the confidence level the system had for the options. 3) create mechanisms that enable the user see the inputs that led to the conclusions. Each of the interactions build trust. You can see these interfaces come to life in Ford Service Tech ApplicationJohn Deere Agent or GM’s OnStar Go Mobility Assistant

Q: How do instill trust in to an AI driven user experience?
A: AI-driven systems are based on probability and uncertainty, this is why explanation is key to helping users understand how the system works. Once a user has a clear mental models of the system’s capabilities and limits, they can understand how and when to trust it to help accomplish their goals. Clarity, simplicity and trust are inherently linked.

Q: Where have you used cognitive experience design to solve a problem?
A: I have used Cognitive XD hundreds of times. I use it everyday in my role as the head of research and design of Alexa Devices. I have practiced cognitive experience design in reimagining our time and behavior on spaceship earth with the invention of Earth Speaks an initiative designed to help heal our planet. Additionally, I used Cognitive XD in my work at IBM.

Q: Why did you coin the phrase cognitive experience design?
A: In 2014, business, design and engineering leaders were struggling to explain how the discipline of design needed to evolve for a new Ai computing era. While designing software for professionals powered by IBM’s Watson, a cloud-based Ai service, I coined the phrase Cognitive Experience Design (CXD) to give life to our emerging design practice and discipline that was creating machines (e.g. smart cars, speakers, gadgets, hearing aides, farming or industrial equipment) that could learn, reason and interact with humans.

I used the term “cognitive” for 2 reasons.  First, smart devices enable humans to offload repetitive tasks and mundane thinking in order to combat the cognitive overload that comes from muti-tasking and integration behaviors. Secondarily, artificial technologies like machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing  are built to mimic the way the human brain works. The practical application of cognitive experience design Design employs knowledge of human perception, mental processing, modeling and memory.

In 2015, The emcee of C2 Montreal, introduced me as the mother of cognitive experience design – and it stuck. Forever after, designers across the globe have accepted, used and celebrated it. I continue to be humbled by the notoriety of being a first in the design field to begin building a corpus of knowledge and a practice that will take the profession in to the next 100 years.

Q: Who are the practitioners of cognitive experience design?
A: I believe that any designer can be a practitioner. Expressly, Conversation, Sound & Voice User Interface Designers, Brain interface designers, Internet of Things product designers. Anyone who is willing to incorporate artificial technologies e.g. Machine Learning into their crafting of solutions to human problems.

Q: What is the relationship between cognitive experience design and computational design?
A: Computational design is the application of computational strategies to the design process. While traditional designers traditionally rely on intuition and experience to solve design problems, computational design aims to enhance that process by encoding design decisions using a computer language. Most computational design programs take a computer science view of design, applying both the science and art of computing to design problems, in relation to creation, presentation, analysis, evaluation, interaction or aesthetic expression; in real and imagined applications, both perceived and conceived. Cognitive experience design is the practical application of intelligent and quantum computing technologies to augment and supplement a humans capabilities. While they are different they can compliment each other to design for billions of people in real-time, at scale and on demand. The intersection each shares is a change in the practice of design expression from geometry to connected neural logic.

Q: How do you place cognitive experience design into practice?
A: First you must seek to understand the whole human and their problems. Once you have defined the problem with crisp terms, then write a narrative that acts as a North Star and gives or augments your customer with superpowers and abilities (e.g.The Force, Photographic Reflexes or Dimensional Travel). Once you have developed the narrative, define the experience in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. One important pointer is to seek to enhance a user experience throughout the day with superpowers that augment the 5 basic senses or give humans a sixth sense. One of my favorite workshop tools are my superpower playing cards. The superpower playing cards help business leaders connect their ideas to the context of human interface design and artificial intelligence capabilities in a way that empower them to write bold business goals and bolder customer goals which are easily translated into user stories for teams to work through.