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Distributed and Self-organizing Systems
Distributed and Self-organizing Systems


We Don’t Need No Real Users?! Surveying the Adoption of User-less Automation Tools by UI Design Practitioners


Conference Paper






Johanna Jagow

Johanna Jagow



Research Area

Web Engineering


International Conference on Web Engineering






The main principles for designing successful UIs in a perfect world have long been known—considering many possible solutions for a problem and involving representative users in the process. In practice, however, reasons for violating those principles can be plentiful: the infamous tight budgets and schedules, lack of management buy-in, restrictions for face-to-face meetings, etc. Yet, design tools that do not require real users, such as AI-/ML-powered solutions, which could mitigate these issues seem to experience a rather low adoption rate in industry. In this paper, we present a survey with 34 professional digital designers and user researchers intended to investigate the above hypotheses. We inquire into awareness and usage of 61 such tools and platforms, as well as participants’ design and research processes and general design tool adoption in industry. From the results we identify three particular challenges and three opportunities. Finding and recruiting relevant participants for user studies seems to be indeed problematic, and professional designers and researchers often lack the time and resources to follow a textbook process. They are, however, open to novel tools addressing these shortcomings—particular for ideation and evaluation—but at the same time seem to be largely unfamiliar with AI-/ML-based approaches or do not (yet) see added value in them. With these findings as a starting point, the Web Engineering community can work towards a deeper understanding of designers’ and researchers’ needs that could be met with AI-/ML-based support tools.


Bakaev, Maxim; Speicher, Maximilian; Jagow, Johanna; Heil, Sebastian; Gaedke, Martin: We Don’t Need No Real Users?! Surveying the Adoption of User-less Automation Tools by UI Design Practitioners, pp. 406-414, 2022.

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