I asked GPT-3 for advice about digital product design

Today, I interviewed the well-known GPT-3 AI via the OpenAI Playground and asked questions about digital product design. Here's our conversation. The responses below are curated from a larger set of generated answers, but the text is unedited.


Thank you for taking the time to talk about product design with me today. Where do you think we should start?

“Let's start by talking about what digital product design is and why it's important. A digital product designer creates digital products that make people's lives easier. They design and oversee the development of websites, apps, and other digital tools. Their work is important for humanity because it helps people connect with each other and makes their lives easier.”


That makes us sound like super heroes! What are some topics we might want to cover today?

  • “The basics of digital product design
  • The importance of usability in digital product design
  • The benefits of designing for emotion”

Let's start with that first one. Perhaps you could share some mistakes you've seen less experienced designers struggle with when it comes to the basics?

  • “Focusing on visuals over usability
  • Not properly researching user needs and wants
  • Not testing prototypes with real users
  • Creating overly complex or cluttered designs
  • Not collaborating with other team members”

That's interesting. You said it's important for digital product designers to focus on usability as well as visuals. Why is focusing on usability important?

“The consequences of poor usability can be serious. If a product isn't easy to use, people won't want to use it, no matter how visually appealing it is. If a product is difficult to use, people may not be able to figure it out, which can lead to frustration and a loss of business.”


And how can a designer improve the usability of their product?

“One way is to use user feedback to determine where the usability issues are. Another way is to perform usability tests to see how people actually use the product. Finally, a designer can use design principles to make the product easier to use.”


What design principles would you suggest we all keep in mind?

“Some important usability principles are:

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the product.
  • Use standard design conventions wherever possible.
  • Give users feedback about what is happening.
  • Plan for users to make mistakes and create a forgiving design.”

Those are some great foundational principles. I wonder, as well as these fundamentals, are there any new ideas in design you're excited about?

“One new idea in digital product design that can help designers create more usable products is the idea of designing for emotion. By understanding the emotions users will be feeling when using the product, designers can create a product that is not only easy to use, but also emotionally satisfying.”


That's interesting but it sounds quite vague. Could you give an example of how designing for emotion could make my product more successful?

“Sure. An example of how designing for emotion could make a product more successful is the product Airbnb. Airbnb is a website and app that allows people to find and book rooms in people's homes. One of the reasons Airbnb is so successful is because the design of the product is focused on emotions. The designers of Airbnb understand the emotions people feel when they travel, such as excitement and anticipation. The designers of Airbnb understand that people want to feel like they are a part of the community they are visiting, so they designed the product to feel like people are staying with friends.”


I can definitely relate to that great experience with Airbnb. What kind of products can benefit most from emotional design?

“There are a few types of products that can benefit from emotional design. Products that are used regularly, such as websites and apps, can benefit from emotional design. Products that are used in stressful situations, such as healthcare products or financial products, can also benefit from emotional design. The results that people can expect from designing with users' emotions in mind vary depending on the product. Generally speaking, designing with emotion can lead to increased user engagement, increased loyalty, and increased sales.”


What specific action can I take to apply designing for emotion?

“The first step is to understand the emotions your users are likely to experience when using the product. You can do this by conducting user research and interviews. After you understand the emotions your users are likely to feel, you can start designing changes to the product that will create a more positive emotional experience.”


What kind of changes should I make to my product's design to make users have a better emotional response?

“There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every product is different, and every user is different. You will need to experiment with different changes to see what works best for your product. However, the first step is to identify the emotions you want your users to feel. After you identify the emotions, you need to design an experience that will evoke those emotions. Finally, you need to test your design with users to see how they react.”


Thank you for sharing your perspective on design today. Do you have any parting words?

“Always keep the user in mind when designing digital products. Remember that the goal of design is to make people's lives easier, not more difficult. Goodbye and thank you for your time.”


And thank you for your time too, future AI overlords 👋


If you'd like to try out GPT-3, OpenAI have now opened up their API for anyone to try, though production apps still need to be reviewed and approved. While playing with it, I've also set it up to answer questions from the TV show "Pointless", which amazed family members over the holidays.

If you're interested in design and seeing GPT-3 applied in ways that are actually useful, I'd recommend following Jordan Singer's work applying GPT-3 to design tools like Figma.

Have a lovely day.
© 2022, Graham Macphee.