Emerging thoughts on AI assisted design

Jane Davis, Great Question | Kathryn Gonzalez, On sabbatical, previously at DoorDash


Design systems

Day 2


A Long Rope and a Handful of Knots: Emergent Best Practices in AI-Assisted Design and Research
Speaker: Jane Davis

The past several years have seen an enormous change in what AI can do—and who it's available to. The advances in LLMs, combined with their broad availability, mean that Design and Research are facing new opportunities and challenges around how and why to apply assistive and automative technologies to our craft.

To better understand how to navigate a world with widely available AI, I conducted primary research to see where, how, and when designers and researchers have found applications for AI in their work, as well as how they think about the ethics and best practices involved. Based on this research, I'll outline the emergent best practices (and pitfalls) in applying LLMs to design and research work. I'll also share principles for applying this research to design and research processes, and give attendees practical takeaways for how and when they might want to apply AI to their own practice.

Design Systems in Transition: Anxiety, AI, and Where We Go 
Speaker: Kathryn Gonzalez

Design Systems are made to manage change. Mass layoffs throughout our industry have changed the vibes in tech rapidly, AI is moving quickly to reshape our design and engineering practices from the foundations, and all the bubbling anxiety that comes from it are now here. When the world is changing so quickly, how do we use the frameworks, mindset, and skills we have as system builders to navigate what’s here and what’s to come? And what does that future look like? After eight years building design systems and the organizations that run them at DoorDash, Kathryn Gonzalez quit her job to explore the future of the space and make sense of this moment in time in our industry. She’ll share her stories, what the AI-assisted future of systems could look like, how she’s dealing with the anxiety of this critical time for the work we do, and what it all means for the people in this industry. And yes, this talk idea was created with the help of AI.

More from Config




Day 2


Designing next-gen user interfaces

Mind-controlled at MIT: Designing the Next Generation of Brain Computer Interfaces
Speaker: Nataliya Kosmyna, Ph.D

While everyone marvels over ChatGPT, a much more important technology is about to be developed and introduced to the general public: brain sensing. Reading one’s mind was a human dream documented as early as 300 BC. Now, thousands of years later, we are finally about to make athe brain computer interface an everyday reality. This talk will give an outline on how the MIT Media Lab team uses Figma to design full-stack brain sensing systems that help fully paralyzed patients communicate, astronauts to stay attentive and productive, and keep thousands of kids around the globe inspired by what comes next.

Leaving Flatland: Easing the Transition to XR Design
Speaker: Michelle Cortese

Can an audience of design thinkers absorb the core processes and ideological frameworks of XR product design and find themselves ready to leave 2D design behind in just 40 minutes? Let’s find out. This talk is a condensed version of a graduate-level class I teach at NYU that unpacks the tools, processes and ethical considerations of VR design—specifically architected to help 2D designers transition into XR. The syllabus culminates design strategies acquired through eight-plus years of work in VR, nearly six years at Meta Reality Labs (née Oculus), and the development of multiple VR design systems (like Horizon Worlds) and XR design publications.


Day 2


How to create pixel-perfect UIs with Storybook & Figma

Converting designs into actual coded UI is like playing a game of telephone. Designer sign-off is critical to catching UI bugs before shipping—but with thousands of possible variants, it becomes overwhelming. Thankfully, there's a better way. Thousands of companies use Storybook to develop components and capture their states as stories. Meanwhile, designers model the exact same states as variants in Figma. Connecting Storybook and Figma lets you speed up design sign-off and ship pixel-perfect UIs with less grunt work. In this talk, Varun will show you how to embed Figma files into Storybook and vice versa so that your code and designs are always available side-by-side.



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