Generative design is a way of representing interfaces based on user data. This allows you to see an interface design that is unique to everyone.
A recent example of generative interface design are the Siri suggestions widgets in the iOS 14 update from Apple. But Android also is using app suggestions in its Android 11 update. Actually any interface could have this if it benefits the user.
Okay but why is this important?
Companies are able to collect large amounts of data that can be used for machine learning algorithms. In this way the algorithms are able to recognize usability patterns the we often use on a certain moment in time. We already can see this at Netflix and how they are using Artificial Intelligence (AI), to now our watching patterns and to show new movies and series that we might like.
This will improve the user experience because the user spends significantly less time achieving his goal (source).
We mainly know AI from e-mail spam filters, recommending music, videos and products. But AI that is used for interfaces is not very common yet.
The relatively small step that now arises with iOS and Android to have the system make suggestions based on past behavior will play a major role in the future of product design. Which will also include interface design.
Is it only going to be used on mobile devices?
Mobile interfaces are easy to think about first, as we spend our time on them for hours a day. But interfaces are also being used more and more easily due to low production costs and the still growing internet of things.
To apply generative designs, a profile of the user must be created to which the interface can adapt. The interaction between machine, humans and the environment in which this takes place will determine a generative interface approach or not.
A generative interface is not limited to mobile devices and should adapt to any kind of display.
A generative interface design can ensure that the user has (almost) no effort to operate the interface. The interface is a visual presentation of the output that machines communicate to people. A good example is the Nest Hub, just like with people you not only want to hear what the output is, but also be able to see it.
The purpose of this article was to highlight a minor interface design update with great potential for the future. And also to let co-interface designers to think about the future of their profession.
Personally I think this is a positive development in interface design. It is important to value the time of the user. I think this should be one of the core values of interface design.
I am very curious about other perspectives on this topic, so do not hesitate to use the comments as a point of discussion.