With the rise of AI and more recently ChatGPT, there has been a lot of conservation about the future for humans in the workplace. One area that repeatedly comes up is web design. Both the design and coding aspect of what we do is said to be under threat, with AI capable of coding and designing faster and more accurately that any human ever could.
However, though in theory today’s impressive AI is able to design a web page, whether it is aesthetically pleasing and in the line with what the client desires is another matter.
Also, what happens if AI makes a mistake? Read on for some of the key issues that we see, and why we don’t think AI will ever be fully capable of designing websites over humans.
The Client/Designer Journey
For those that don’t know, designing a business’s website involves a lot of back and forth via emails, telephone calls and meetings. On a normal website we will start by discussing a solution and agree on the work that needs to be done. After this, the client is introduced to members of the team and a timeline of project milestones will be put together – including deadlines for both us and the client.
Following this, we produce a sitemap to finalise the structure of the website and homepage, the client then signs this off before we begin the build. Once the homepage is designed, the client gives us feedback and we go back and forth until they are happy – the homepage is then signed off.
We then use the signed off homepage as the basis for the rest of the pages, intermittently sending updates for approval and feedback. Following completion of the site our end, we get any final feedback from the client and do the final checks to ensure they are happy, before making the website live – always leaving the communication lines open for any further support.
Though AI is impressive in its ability to produce a design quickly, it is impossible for it to fulfil the client journey that we have just demonstrated.
Without the ability to discuss exactly what the client wants; the website is never going to hit the brief like a human – who is able to understand exactly what is needed.
What About Context?
When designing a website, one key considerations in the designer’s mind is what industry the website being built is for. The industry helps dictate who the customers are and who the target audience is – this kind of context doesn’t register with AI.
This inability to understand context is likely to lead to designs that are unrelated to the required usage.
Another important aspect of understanding context is the relevance of certain design components, which again, AI struggles to understand. For example, it may use a component that a competitor has used, or an out-dated design that doesn’t work for a client’s specific industry.
It may also miss well understood design components such as colour. Does AI know that certain industry branding is typically coupled with specific colours? Or that certain font styles work better for certain industries?
One of the most common arguments against AI in any field is its incapacity to understand when it has made a mistake.
Due to its nature, AI designs (and AI anything) need a human to monitor and check over any work carried out. The problem becomes worse if the human in control, then misses the mistake.
The questions that arises here is that, if everything designed by AI needs to be checked over by a human, then why not have a human carry out the work in the first place?
A Lack of Creativity
Humans, by our very nature, are able to create completely new designs. Think of all the innovative, designs over the years – these are created by humans and not AI.
On the other hand, AI produces its ideas based on already existing patterns and data, most of which were previously created by humans.
Though some design works and websites that AI create are impressive, the ability to generate something completely original is always going to be limited for this reason. From a design perspective, art that is created by AI is from existing references – so it can’t ever be original.
To some extent, everybody is going to have to get used to using AI. For designers and website builders, there will be developments that make it easier to use and actually assist the creative process. AI generated templates can already make mocking up web pages a less time-consuming task.
But the thought that AI could ultimately replace designers isn’t one that fills us with confidence. Perhaps the argument is that those who refuse to let AI assist them in there work are the ones that could be left behind?
Many years ago, it was thought that the calculator could at some point replace the mathematician, but this hasn’t been the case. It is a tool that has made life easier – and this is where we believe AI will find its place.