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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Phillips

With a little bit of help from my AI

A semi-common occurrence in my current workplace is this issue of copy writers wanting to wait to write to the design, and designers wanting to have the copy on hand to influence the design. This creates a chicken and the egg situation and most often the two groups stumble their way through it. Another semi-common issue is design being ready based on business needs, however the business still has not planned out their exact phrasing for copy. This often leaves us with relying on "lorem ipsum".

In case you're new to the field or just unfamiliar, Lorem Ipsum is essentially just placeholder text that you use in your design. There are random generators readily available that will spit out lines of Latin to help your design layouts appear more professional when you don't have any actual copy to put in its place.

So in my case we had run into one of the situations where we were waiting for an extended amount of time for copy. The designs in this case were done and we had Lorem Ipsum in place, however I wanted our test to feel a bit more "real". This is for two reasons

  1. "I don't speak spanish". Surprisingly, I get this response once or twice out of every ten tests. Even if they do not mistake latin for Spanish, I do have testers comment how they do not understand the text and start glossing over the page much quicker. If I am simply testing navigation, this is not a big deal. However, if I need them to spend a bit more time taking in the page overall, I need to make sure they do not auto-filter out parts they essentially are not able to comprehend. Lorem Ipsum does not fit well in this case

  2. Suspension of disbelief. The more "real" the test feels. The more the prototype achieves the illusion of being an active functioning site or app, the more natural interaction testers will have with it. I believe these sorts of tests provide the best results.

This prompt, followed by a couple more questions to the AI and refinements led to these differences in our prototypes below.

The test itself went swimmingly. User's were able to tell what exactly was being offered and this helped them navigate the entire prototype more effectively. Also, with information present that they could read through there was no instances of them glossing over it as had happened commonly when solely relying on lorem ipsum. Not to mention there was no cringe moments of the users saying "I don't speak Spanish". After the successful results I shared my experience with my fellow designers and who fascinated by the idea.

It is also crucial to be aware of what AI system you may be using to assist you in this effort. Currently, ChatGPT is one of the really popular ones and is currently free to users to use. It is free because they are essentially running this as a beta and acquiring a TON of data to help the system operate more efficiently. It will eventually become a product that they market and charge for, but none of that has been outlined just yet. There are other platforms out there, but for now it is the only one I would suggest trying. Also, be aware of false links. A quick google just now already led me astray, but since I had prior experience with the platform I knew better. Here is the link you should use - This platform is part of, so you can always access it from their main domain as well.

While not necessarily applicable in all use cases, I think it is a strong option to use in the majority of situations. It is also a fantastic solution for people working on individual projects where they might need stand in text, or perhaps they simply cannot think of a way to word something on their own. Utilizing the ChatGPT tool as a sounding board may also produce good results. Remember though - Do not put any potential personal information or intellectual property through such systems as these are likely to get you in trouble with your employer.

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