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By Janelle Burt - Freelance Writer

How AI will change web design

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that seeks to use computers to do human activities. Coined by researcher John McCarthy in 1956, artificial intelligence has a place in a wide range of fields. In manufacturing, AI is used to instruct industrial robots to do arduous tasks once performed by humans. Likewise, clerical jobs that were once commonplace have been replaced with software.

AI can be seen everywhere in modern life. Consumer smartphones use voice recognition to understand human speech. There are military applications with the use of drones. In the medical field, AI is increasingly being utilized to produce advances in health care to organize a growing amount of medical data and to assist doctors in decision-making.

How will it change web design?

Automation is already present in web design. Hours are no longer spent setting up style sheets and design patterns, as now there are the options of using frameworks and choosing design patterns. Indeed, the ability to download a plug-in makes coding much faster. And the use of AI is quickly making its way into web design.

A major example of this in practice is the software The Grid. The Grid is a platform that that use AI and algorithms to interpret content and present the content in an attractive website. With AI, designers are supposedly free from the more redundant aspects of web design.

In addition to designing the site, The Grid’s algorithms generate interfaces automatically to match the purpose of the site, be it increasing followers, social media shares or sales. The Grid’s mechanisms are designed so that it functions with the sensibility of the the human web designer. Through automated A/B testing, it optimizes fonts, colors and contrasts so that it produces a design that is pleasing to customers and site visitors.

With software like The Grid, automated web design is expected to be faster and simpler. With face detection and smart cropping, new photos can be fitted instantly. AI can search the web and update news feeds automatically. One of The Grid’s major promises is scalable design. Design is expected to be shaped around the intentions of content rather than the use of preset templates. The use of AI is expected to create sites that are more personalized for each customer.

What does the future look like?

For the immediate future, human web designers will likely not be replaced by AI applications in web design. The Grid platform’s AI is still supposed to be dependent on the direction of the designer. There is also the question of whether AI can design sites as well an experienced human designer.

Automated web designers are limited to programming constraints and have not been shown to produce mark-ups that are on par with the skill and creativity of human web designers. Also, there is no current AI available that has been proven to understand the meaning of content and implement it into design afterwards.

In the next decade or so, however, that may not be the case. Computing technology advances exponentially and there is the possibility (even the expectation) that AI will become sophisticated enough to perform on par with a human.

In the event that happens, it is likely that web design will happen faster than ever. AI is not limited to the relatively slow speeds with which human designers complete work. AI will lower the barrier of entry for web designers as it becomes simpler and coding becomes less necessary.

It can be predicted that AI’s presence in web design will be able to collect tremendous amounts of data and use it to shape websites accordingly. Developers and designers will have to continue to innovate to form new means of interaction with site visitors.

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