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AI tools can make the design process extremely efficient by taking on heavy but mundane tasks such as data processing and translating low-fidelity designs to pixel-perfect layouts. Alongside these “main” design tasks, technology can help you optimize even the seemingly smaller side tasks and activities. Let’s see how.

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Collaboration and Productivity Tools

Communication and collaboration are two of the most important aspects of a designer’s role. Here are some AI tools that can help free up your time and reduce the mental energy needed to handle the more administrative side of work. These tools are examples of generative AI, a form of narrow AI.

  1. Sembly AI: This tool generates meeting notes with a summary and the topics discussed during a meeting. It supports over 40 languages (many of which are in Beta) and integrates with common task management and collaboration tools such as Slack and Trello. You can also prompt the tool to search for past meetings, filter out discussion points based on specific criteria (such as challenges or opportunities), summarize the meeting in a few lines or help you write an email based on the discussions.

  2. Otter.ai: Offers live meeting transcriptions and generates summaries. It integrates with popular meeting apps to work as soon as a meeting starts, without manual intervention.

    You can chat with the AI assistant during the meeting so that teammates can focus on the meeting while AI answers follow-up questions.

    © Otter.ai, Fair Use

  3. Reclaim AI: A scheduling automation app that finds the best time for your meetings, tasks, habits and breaks. You can set time aside for recurrent meetings, focus time or personal times. The application automatically reschedules tasks in case there are conflicts with meetings and helps you manage your time effectively.

  4. Ellie: An email writing assistant. It frees up time and mental bandwidth by drafting intelligent emails. Powered by GPT, the tool learns from your writing style and crafts replies as if they were written by you. 

  5. Taskade: A multi-purpose productivity AI tool that offers features such as workflow automation, visualization and chat. From a designer’s perspective, it offers pre-built checklists for common design tasks.

Design Assistants

There are several niche tools to perform design tasks. These tools are also classified as generative AI, a type of narrow AI that generates content based on AI prompts. Here are some tools to help you get unstuck while working on your digital product:

1. Research Assistant

AI can automate your user research efforts at scale. It can combine industry expertise and best practices and offer suggestions that are tailored to your context. You can share your research goals and let the tools plan and even run your research.

Here are some examples:

2. Data Processing and Analysis

The biggest advantage of AI is in data processing. It can recognize patterns at scale. When you have a vast amount of qualitative data, it can become overwhelming and time-consuming to sift through it all. Here, too, AI can automate data processing and summarize insights that you can then apply directly to your design work.

Most research tools (including the ones listed in the previous section) also include data analysis and reporting tools. In addition, some other options are:

  • Miro’s AI features include clustering sticky notes to identify patterns.

  • UX Brain is a dedicated research “sidekick” that transcribes audio and video data and summarizes findings.

3. Brainstorming Partner

AI can act as your sounding board and suggest ideas. Collaborative tools such as Whimsical, Taskade and Slatebox all provide AI-powered suggestions as part of the mind mapping features.

4. Logo and Icon Inspiration

Most icon generators focus on logos and app icons. You can use the output of these tools as-is, or use them as a starting point for your work. Sometimes you might find that standard icon libraries do not have an icon that represents an abstract concept that’s unique to your product. In such cases, you can experiment with these tools to create such icons. There are several standalone icon generators such as IconlabAI, CandyIcons and Diffusion Logo Studio.

5. Stock Image Search

When creative commons or royalty-free images become too stock-ish and don’t provide exactly what you’re looking for, AI image generators can help you create custom images. Whether it is marketing illustrations or photorealistic faces for your personas, tools such as Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 2 can generate these from text inputs/prompts.

6. Color Palette Inspiration

AI tools such as Khroma, ColorMagic and Chroma AI can help you come up with a visual language based on your tastes, specific keywords or even random phrases.

An image showing the ColorMagic AI tool. There are five rectangular color swatches, each with a name and color code underneath them. The tool generates color palettes from abstract words

ColorMagic generates palettes from abstract words.

© ColorMagic

7. Writing Assistants and Copywriters

Writing assistants can help you in:

  • Digital marketing: create ad copy, social media content, email marketing campaigns and other branding-related communication.

  • Content creation: generate SEO-friendly blog posts, website copy and meta descriptions.

  • Microcopy: generate clear messages for instructions, error states, help text and other UI-related content.

Some tools to help you with writing tasks are:

  • Notion AI: Brainstorm ideas, create outlines, summarize notes, edit voice and tone to suit your audience, all in a collaborative workspace.

  • Grammarly: End-to-end writing assistance that provides starter text and suggests revisions to refine the output.

  • Writesonic, Jasper and Copy.ai are dedicated long-form content generation tools that can learn your brand voice and generate SEO-optimized blog posts.

8. Marketing and Presentation Tools

AI tools can automate the grunt work involved in the supplementary activities related to products. For example:

The Take Away

In your journey to design efficiency, don’t restrict yourself to the core design tasks of research or prototyping. As the technology continues to mature, companies are constantly launching new AI helper tools that can save you valuable time and mental bandwidth. Even the tools that you’re already using may have AI-enabled upgrades, so you won’t need to experiment with or add new tools to your workflow.

References and Where to Learn More

To update yourself with the latest AI tools, see Futurepedia and There’s An AI For That.

For more on AI image generators, see this comparison piece, Midjourney vs. DALL-E 2 vs. Stable Diffusion. Which AI Image Generator Is Best for Marketers? 

Here’s a round-up of the best Generative AI Software available.

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