Design + Ai

At the nascent stages of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Artificial Intelligence (Ai) is radically accelerating change in the disciplines of human factors, ergonomics, industrial, information, interaction, interior design and architecture. Whether you are a product designer of connected devices (Internet of Things), websites, mobile applications or an architect or interior designer building a home, a commercial or building or an urban planner developing land use programs Ai and quantum computing are enabling the designer to make our experiences more intelligent for our users, customers and constituents. As we forge ahead, with command of the command line using intelligent tech to power our designs, designers can strive captivate customers with enduring relationships that get smarter with every usage.

The State of Participative Human Centered Design

The entanglement and convergence and of human centered design (HCD), Use-Centered Design Cognitive Ergonomics (UCD), Neuro-Ergonomics, and technology has accelerated over the last 30 years. HCD and UCD have traditionally focused on developing creative solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in every step of the process. HCD and UCD rely on in-field observation to identify needs and create products that customers have difficulty envisioning.

In parallel, Cognitive Ergonomics emerged in response to the design challenges associated with complex systems and machines, leveraging advances in cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. Cognitive Ergonomics, as defined by the International Ergonomics Association, “is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system.” These systems can range from the cockpit instrumentation and controls for a fighter jet to the dashboard design of a car or the 3D anatomical models of human anatomy used in medicine. Cognitive Ergonomics topics include: mental workload, decision-making, human-system interaction, human reliability, work stress and training to improve both performance and human wellbeing. 

Neuro-Ergonomics has also developed as a subfield of Cognitive Ergonomics with a focus on enhancing human-system interaction using neural correlation to understand situational task demands.  It includes work on adaptive automation, which uses real-time assessments of the user’s workload performance to make the changes in the system to enhance performance. One of the applications is driving safety, particularly for older drivers with cognitive impairments or texting distractions. Neuro-Ergonomics includes Virtual Reality training as well as research into Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) focused on using brain signals to operate external devices without motor input.

The Confluence of Design Practices

Practitioners critical of Human-Centric, User-Centric Design and design thinking rightfully state that the practices are devoid of any real scientific rigor for understanding how people interact with products, services, and experiences. In contrast, Cognitive and Neuro-Ergonomics rely on measurable neurological and physical risks and performance.

Business, government, academia and consumers of design demand outcomes that require the best of both worlds. An approach that equally balances the intuition and art with objective scientific rigor and intelligent technologies. This appeal has led us to the establishment of a new field of design called Cognitive Experience Design.

Cognitive Experience Design was established as a practice in 2014 by Joanna Peña-Bickley, a design technologist. As the former Global Chief Creative Officer at IBM, who was using IBM Watson (artificial intelligence) to invent market making products, services and customer experiences for business, government and consumers. Cognitive Experience Design unites the usage of Ai, Cognitive, Neuro-Ergonomics with HCD and UCD with a mission to enable every design practitioner to command their world with ethical principles, education and skills training, iterative agile processes, experiments and practical applications that solve for complex problems in every industry. Simply put, Cognitive Experience Design moves design practitioners from design thinking and viability to the delivery of the measurable business results of Design For Thinking & Doing.