Will Web Development Be Automated?
As technology continues to advance at unrelenting speeds, it will undoubtedly affect many industries in all kinds of ways. Companies are increasingly worried that their services will become redundant due to automation technology and artificially intelligent technology (AI). This is particularly true for skills like web design as the technology sector is where AI is first being implemented.
There are some indicators that web development will indeed become automated in the not-too-distant future. Despite all this, we’re still not worried. Here at Outible, we are web design specialists with many years of experience, and we know better than anyone that the bespoke human touch and ingenuity will always beat that of a robot.
Keep on reading for our full thoughts on the matter.
The Rise of AI
What are the indicators we mentioned that point to AI web development? For a start, there are a number of AI start-ups, such as Xnor.ai and Mellanox, that are being bought out by tech giants like Microsoft and Apple. The fact that these tech giants are buying these companies shows that they are worried about their future potential. It’s no real secret that the AI software market in general is predicted to be worth over a hundred billion dollars by 2025.
Then you have the fact that some of the other big players are already implementing their forms of AI web development technology, known as ADI (artificial design intelligence). One example of this would be Adobe Sensei – it connects to all of the Adobe cloud service to improve the web experience for Adobe customers.
Adobe Sensei can automatically recognise images and suggest tags, by identifying elements in the images, such as buildings and faces, allowing you to easily search and categorise images online. What about writing web content? AI like Adobe Sensei can even summarise written work by scanning it and pulling out the most relevant sentences, albeit at a basic level.
With all this in mind, businesses know how crucial it is nowadays to stay ahead of the game with AI software.
The Role of AI for Websites
Talk of the future aside, AI for websites is already here. Have you ever used a chatbot on a website before to find out information? That’s a prime example of AI at work. Many websites are now including chatbots to lower the rates of calls and email questions. You might not even realise you’re talking to a chatbot sometimes.
UX (user experience) is one of the most important things for successful websites – smart, savvy chatbots can mimic human intelligence and provide UX like never before. You can use chatbots to increase customer satisfaction by answering questions, or you can even use it to prompt conversion. From what we’ve seen, most B2C companies now use chatbots for their websites, and according to a study, they are expected to save these companies 8 billion dollars by 2022.
Staying with the UX topic, AI can pinpoint customer needs and give insights into what sort of website experience your customers want. One of the ways AI does this is by providing and analysing heatmaps of where people move their mouses and the amount of time that they spend hovering over certain elements – once you know this, you can make the changes to your web design, improve your UX, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction and conversion.
Voice-activated technology, for example in searching via a mobile phone, is another example of AI. It’s been slowly building in popularity over the last 4 to 5 years. Voice search optimisation has snowballed as a trend in web design, particularly in eCommerce, where people want to find the products they want as quickly as possible. For example, just think about the success of Amazon’s Alexa.
How about personalised website content? Marketing that is personalised is almost a necessary requirement in the modern day. This is another example of AI that is already here. Instead of targeted segments, AI directly caters to your audience by personalising the text and images on your website, all through cookie data.
AI for Web Development
It’s basic knowledge these days that businesses simply must have a strong online presence to connect with customers and promote their brand. When people get in touch with us here at Outible to ask whether it’s worth getting a website for their business, our answer is a resounding yes – it’s unthinkable that in the age of internet a company shouldn’t try to branch out online, even if their services or products are exclusively for local customers.
No matter how small or personal your business is, there’s absolutely no reason not to have a website. People search online for all their needs these days. Even if there’s a vast amount of competition on search engines, your website can still act as a place for customers to find initial information before deciding to get in touch.
After this, our customers usually then go on to ask whether it’s worth getting us to design a bespoke website for them, or whether to use one of the website builders with templates, such as Go Daddy. About 90% of the time, our answer is that they should choose a bespoke website over a template, in order to stand out from the crowd, get the professional touch, and save lots of time in the present and in the future.
We aren’t receiving questions from customers asking whether they should let AI build their website yet, but we’re expecting to within the next couple of years once the technology is fully available. The ADI technology that we mentioned at the start of this post is only taking baby steps at the moment, but is being utilised by tools such as Firedrop and The Grid.
The Positives and Negatives of AI
A robot that does all the hard work for you – that’s the dream. In short, that’s really the main benefit of using AI. There are already templates available for you to build websites, but you still have to do a lot of the work yourself. The goal is to be able to tell the robot what you want and then have it do all the work to your specification in a decent amount of time. Once AI has been fully implemented, it is likely to be cheap and fast, but still lacking the human touch – humans build websites for other humans to enjoy and navigate.
The potential and current negatives of AI are still plenty as no matter how advanced AI gets, it still won’t be able to do exactly what you want. You can’t converse with it and give your own insight and perspective in the same way as you can over the phone with a web designer who can also offer their own input from years of experience. It will also be likely to be prone to bugs, and it will need regular updates.
The Positives and Negatives of Bespoke Web Design
As professional web designers, we’re a little biased – but we really believe there are no downsides to using bespoke web design. You might be thinking the main downside is that you have to pay more, but the fees we charge for our services won’t be comparable to the amount you’ll earn back by having a professional and unique online presence to last you years into the future. There’s really only one time that we recommend building a website by yourself, and that’s when you have all the skills, know-how, and time to do it – which is almost never the case.
Here at Outible, we have a team of experienced web experts who pool all their knowledge and creativity together to be able to create outstanding websites every time. We pride ourselves on our original ideas that help to make your website stand out from the crowd, while listening to your own ideas at the same time.
Should you use AI or stick to bespoke development?
First of all, we need to make the distinction between development and creation.
Let’s use an analogy here: a robotic crane could probably build a small prefab house (creation), but if you want even the slightest of personalised touches, even as small as having the house in a specific colour (development), this would probably be out of the robot’s capabilities. The very essence of robots means that they can’t be personal. It’s like a chatbot – you have to write words and sentences that they have been programmed to understand, or they won’t be able to understand what you want.
We can use another example – Excel spreadsheets. Almost everyone has used an Excel spreadsheet, and most people will use them every single day in offices. Excel is a great piece of software that many companies rely on completely. To tech experts like us, however, Excel is seen as a bit of a sandbox for people who can’t do coding. At enterprise level (large businesses and companies), Excel can be problematic for non-tech experts – it can be difficult to keep track of updates, permissions are difficult to understand, and commands can be difficult to execute (macros and lookups).
Development is more than just solving problems as there is a creative aspect. Development is actually more about eliciting requirements. For example, when our clients say they want their website to do something, we know that they might not have the technical vocabulary to ask for what they really want. We need to be able to elicit this information – AI can’t really do this at all, so the results are going to be less than perfect.
If you want a very simple website, and you have some experience in web development, you could probably use AI in the future to build your website. In all other cases, it’s best to leave it to the professionals – we know what works, and we can save you time and stress, and even money in the long run too.
We know how it will be – people will think that letting AI design their website for them will be much quicker, but we think it’s not so straightforward. We believe that we can design you a website that is absolutely perfect, meaning you’ll only need to change it for updates.
It’s unlikely that the AI design will be perfect, meaning you’ll have to spend more time tinkering with it and updating it. If you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of web design, you could end up spending more time than you’d like to. It’s the same scenario for spending money too; even if AI is cheaper than hiring an expert, the amount of amendments you’ll need might make it more expensive overall. A web developer may not even want to help fix the issues your AI has created as it may have worked in a convoluted process to get your results.
We can be pretty safe in saying that bespoke websites will never be automated, as well (at least not for a hundred years when robots may be able to think for themselves). Luckily for us, this means that people will always need bespoke web design services to meet their individual needs. The future of bespoke web design looks strong, and we want nothing more than to keep on doing what we’ve done all these years. After all, we love doing it – we have a real passion for helping our customers achieve their web design dreams.
Get In Touch
We hope we’ve been able to give you some helpful information about the future of web development and AI technology. It’s something that’s on our minds a lot at the moment, and we’re sure to write something else about it soon – so keep checking back regularly for more updates about AI and other topics in the world of web design and beyond. We enjoy keeping up to date with the latest updates and communicating this in blog posts for our customers to read, and we hope that what we write is helpful.
If you’re interested in collaborating with us here at Outible for your own website design to create the website of your dreams, or if you just have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch, and we love talking to our customers directly – we’re not using chatbots at Outible yet.
Give us some information about your project, and we can give you a quote in quick time. You can fill out the form on our contact page, write us an email, or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you and talking through your questions.