A.I. in Web Design: The Good and the Bad


September 10, 2017

In recent years, A.I. has become a massive talking point in the media. People are gradually waking up to the idea that automation is affecting how we live our lives–and do our jobs–in ways we could never have imagined. And it’s happening quickly.
Some jobs seem to be first in the firing line for robot replacement–customer service in supermarkets and administrative work, for example. Others which require high levels of empathy and compassion, like teaching and care giving, might take longer to replace if it happens at all.
Web design doesn’t immediately fall into either camp. It contains elements that could easily be performed by a machine, such as coding and repetitive tasks, but it also involves a lot of creative thinking and understanding of the subtleties of individual taste.
So, what does A.I. mean for web design? Is it a doomed industry or will it survive the robot revolution?
Where A.I. Will Prevail
A lot of web design involves repetitive and monotonous tasks, doing the same action multiple times or writing out long sequences of soul-destroying code. This is the sort of stuff that lots of designers hate, and automation will soon provide them with the opportunity to quit this forever, leaving them free to focus on the more inspiring task of being creative.
For customers, this is good news too. Templates have existed in web design for years now, and as technology improves it will be possible for software to produce even more specific designs (although they might not be free). Another way that A.I. could help web design is by easily making content accessible across a range of devices.
So there a lot to be excited about, but web designers need not fear, as their jobs are very much safe.
What A.I. Can’t Do
Ultimately, web design is about creativity. Good web designers find out exactly what their clients want and the best way to achieve this. This means that effective web design involves a huge amount of taste and the ability to understand the nuances of exactly what the client is asking for. That’s not to mention generating ideas and the ability to communicate effectively. A good designer doesn’t just blindly follow the instructions of their client, even if they’re provided. They’ll make suggestions of their own based on current trends, the target audience of the site and a whole host of other things. Machines might be able to emulate that to some extent, but they’re still a long, long way from being able to match humans in this area.
So, the future for web design looks set to include a mix of automation and human touch. The repetitive, boring jobs will be outsourced to software, while the creative work that requires a deeper understanding of other humans will be left to the more squishy form of designer. For web design in Toronto, and the rest of the world, the future looks set to be human dominated for now.