Trust and self-efficacy
One of the reasons we invested in Clips was because of how deeply important it was to demonstrate the importance of on-device and privacy-preserving machine learning to the world—not to mention its remarkable capabilities (e.g. it uses less power, which means devices don’t get as hot, and the processing can happen quickly and reliably without needing an internet connection). A camera is a very personal object, and we’ve worked hard to ensure it—the hardware, the intelligence, and the content—ultimately belongs to you and you alone. Which is why everything—and I mean everything—stays on the camera until the user says otherwise.
With an eye on trust and self-efficacy, we were also very intentional in the way we approached UI design. At the start of the project, that meant working through a few of our own funny assumptions about how “out-there” an AI-powered product needed to be.
When we reach into our brains for future-tech reference points, many designers will jump to the types of immersive experiences seen in movies like Minority Report and Blade Runner. But just imagine of how crazy it’d be to actually explain something like the UI in Minority Report to users: Here, just extend your arm out, wait two seconds, grasp at thin air, then fling wildly to the right while rotating your hand counter-clockwise. It’s easy! Almost every sci-fi faux UI is guilty of something similar; as if the complexity of an interaction model needs to keep pace with the complexity of the system it’s driving. But that’s sort of where we were for awhile during our early design phase, and we got away with it in large part for three reasons:
We were showing people fake content in an obviously simulated environment, where they had no real connection to the imagery. Note that this issue isn’t unique to AI; it’s often one of the confounding factors when you bring people into the usability lab.
We were surrounded by people every day who were all speaking the same language; thinking deep thoughts about AI-enabled futures. We were making the mistake of losing touch with the reference points that everyone else would bring to the table.
We thought our new designs were super cool, so we gave ourselves a healthy amount of forgiveness when people didn’t immediately get it.