Beyond AI: Human Expertise in Design and Development

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What is AI in Web Design?

AI (artificial intelligence) can be used to automate many aspects of web design, from imagery and content writing to generating a whole website in a few seconds. A staggering 50% of those surveyed said that they use AI to build whole web page designs [Source: Hubspot].

Popular website builders like Wix have started to implement AI tools that will build sites based on just a few prompts that the user inputs. So, the question at hand is, will AI ever dominate web design to a point where we no longer need web designers?

The short answer is that it's unlikely, but let's explore further.

What Can AI do?

Like any other new technology, AI has major benefits and that's why it's so popular. Menial tasks can be automated meaning that designers and developers can focus on creativity. Here's some exciting things that AI is rather good at.

Code Generation

A large part of website development time is taken up by developing functioning code to get a website working. Depending on the complexity of the website, custom coding requires expert knowledge and time.

This is where AI can step in to automate and reduce time taken in this process. Whether it's asking ChatGPT to write snippets of code or translating a complete mock into a functioning code.

AI Web Design Optimisation

Many designers are using AI for data analysis and optimisation to improve user experience. AI tools have the ability to optimise colour schemes, layouts and fonts.

On top of this, some generative tools are able to analyse click data and give insights into page layouts in half the time it would take a human to.

Smart Content Generation

The most popular use of AI is for content generation. Whether it's images, articles or landing page copy many web designers and business owners alike are automating the process. This saves time and money for the web designer who may not be well versed in copywriting.

This is where the shortfalls start to show though. AI images are very often clearly generated, alongside the copy that they produce. If you've read a lot of AI content you'll see words and phrases like 'cutting-edge', 'digital realm', and 'unravelling' pop up consistently. This is because the AI is trying to write compelling content but unfortunately it's generating the same words for everyone. This starts to feel disingenuous to users who are becoming more and more aware of this practice.

Using AI for content writing is a great springboard, but getting a human to input a personal touch is always great. Perhaps placing a typo or two will become more popular to signal that a human has written the content and not a robot...

Where Does AI Fall Short?

AI does have it's benefits in automating certain aspects of the web design process, but could AI do it all? Unfortunately not. It's made some impressive progress in the past few years, that being said there are many aspects where humans just do it better.

Undoubtably there are some tasks that AI will eradicate in years to come when the tools become more refined. But here are some aspects that AI simply can't perfect.

Legal & Ethical Considerations

When building a website you want it to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Even further from this, you don't want to be slapped with a harsh copyright fine from a competitor.

AI tools use machine learning algorithms that are pulled from the deepest recesses of the internet. This unfortunately means that the website it generates for you has a high chance of containing aspects that are copied from others.

Legally this can cause issues for you and your business, as well as putting into question your business ethics. AI doesn't have the capability to recognise these legal and ethical problems, being a computer and all.

Not only do you need to consider the implications of accidentally copying others, but also others stealing your intellectual property. Anything inputted into an AI tool is then made readily available to anybody else using it. Resulting in the possibility of your incredible content being generated for others to use without your knowledge or permission.

As a machine, AI can't recognise the legal and ethical implications of plagiarism. Humans on the other hand do understand the importance of originality in web design. Even if you use an AI tool to build the basics of a website, you still need a web designer to add that level of uniqueness.

Problem Solving

A huge benefit of human web designers is their ability to problem solve. Web design and development projects aren't easy and require an adaptable attitude. Computers often fall short of understanding this. If a problem hasn't existed before the AI will struggle to come up with a solution.

Whereas a human web designer is able to pull from their experience to come up with nuanced solutions to new problems. This is what makes web design an exciting space to be a part of. Creative solutions to unfamiliar problems that result in some amazing outcomes.


Lack of Custom Design

Another incredibly exciting part of being in the web design space is the ever-evolving creativity in design and aesthetics. As mentioned previously, AI runs from preexisting templates and designs that it has seen before. Resulting in copy and paste websites that don't excite or bring anything new to the space.

While AI technology continues to advance, it still falls short of replicating the depth of human creativity and expertise in web design. Humans possess a wealth of real-world experiences, honed skills, and invaluable mentorship that AI simply cannot match. This inherent human touch ensures that web design remains vibrant, diverse, and constantly evolving, making it an exciting space to engage with.

Human Empathy & UX

Most importantly, web design at it's core is about creating connections with users and resonating with human experiences. Web designers need a solid understanding of user needs to achieve great user experiences.

AI might be able to analyse click data but it will never truly understand what it's like to be a human browsing a website. It doesn't have the ability to think the way a human designer does.

Humans also know how to communicate effectively to reach a shared goal. A web design project involves more people than just the web designer. Stakeholders who may not be well versed in web design still need to be kept up to date with the project. If you were to use AI only then how will the tool know how to communicate with non-experts?

Will AI Replace Web Designers and Developers?

Creativity is at the core of web design and that's why AI can never replace designers and developers. While we don't know what AI will evolve to, it's hard to see a future where robots have the same level of empathy as a human is tough.

That doesn't mean that AI isn't helpful. The best web designers will evolve alongside AI and let the tool do the hard work so they can focus on what they do best; being creative. AI isn't something to be scared of, it's just another tool we can leverage to develop even more thrilling websites.

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