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AI in Web Design: The Good and The Bad

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used in almost every industry now. In fact, according to Towards Data Science, the share of jobs that require AI has increased by 450% since 2013. Now there are some designers talking about AI coming into web design. AI makes perfect sense in most applications; think self serve machines, your Google Home, Uber. But AI in web design?

The Good

User Experience

Artificial Intelligence has smart machine learning, so it can gather information and insights about users and how they interact online. As we’ve touched on before, User Experience is hugely important in web design. Incorporating AI on an eCommerce platform can be insanely beneficial. With an AI in place on an online store, it can collate information like size and delivery details to ensure a speedy, no-fuss checkout experience. But it can also collect information about what the user is interested in, meaning ‘you’ can suggest products they’ll love to them.

Voice Search Optimisation

Optimising for voice search is already becoming huge in web design. It’s now going to become huge for not only eCommerce platforms but businesses like restaurants. Online searching is seeing a huge shift into the voice search space and at this stage it’s hugely beneficial for retail stores, restaurants, and cafes. This is because users are asking Virtual Assistants and Home Assistants things like: where’s the closest cafe, where can I find a denim jacket, where should we go to eat.

It’s now possible in web design to implement AI in websites so voice bots can easily direct your customer to find what they’re looking for.

Chatbots: When Used Well

2018 was the year of chatbots, and we’ve previously touched on how we feel about them. They’ve somewhat inundated web design, almost every website you use has a chatbot, and they rarely offer anything other than making us take an extra moment to close the pop-up. But chatbots actually can be used really well and effectively. Cafes and restaurants can now implement chatbots to take orders, so workers can preorder a meal for their lunch break and busy professionals can order their morning coffee so it’s ready for pick up on their way. Little conveniences like this really can push consumers to use your business.

In the eCommerce space, chatbots can be a bit trickier. They can be seen as annoying and because they don’t quite understand human emotion they won’t always interact how you’d expect your customer service representative to. Chatbots can be great for assisting a user to find a product but don’t do as well on the customer complaints side.

Designers can be more creative

Part of the push in AI’s implementation is erasing lower level jobs. The tasks we don’t want to do. The Grid is a new tool that allows users to have their website built by AI. The idea is for the user to upload the things that personalise it: content, colours, fonts. And The Grid will do the rest.

It’s a cool idea and with some refining, could be an amazing tool that takes the tediousness out of web design. It could mean designers would find themselves wasting less time on tasks they don’t enjoy and therefore being more productive, and spending more time on the creative side of things. However at this stage, The Grid is said to not work so well with Advanta saying there aren’t a lot of options for the layout and a lot of the websites end up looking the same. “We were unable to test the security and ease-of-use of an ecommerce design by The Grid AI, and we determined the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to be non-existent,” they said.

The Bad

Humans & Jobs

The biggest con for AI in any application is the loss of jobs, this is the same for web design. The idea is for entry-level jobs to be filled by Artificial Intelligence and some positive news is that Gartner predicts by 2020, Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs than it eliminates. Though there’s still no real way to know what the future holds and what capabilities AI has in the web design and web development industries. This should be an interesting space to watch.

Users’ Privacy

We talked about AI’s ability to profile your customers and learn about them a bit earlier. Combine this with Google Analytics and you can learn a lot of information about your customer. While customer data and insights are great for us and uncap a world of possibilities in the marketing landscape… Users want to have their privacy respected and it’s difficult to maintain a positive relationship if they don’t trust you.

AI can’t make decisions

Artificial Intelligence is unable to make decisions in the same way as humans, it can’t weigh both sides of a dilemma like we can. So chatbots can’t make a unique decision to improve a customer’s experience. AI web design applications like The Grid can’t actually make a unique design decision for your website, at least not in the same way a designer would.

Impersonal Interactions

Customers and users can tell when they’re speaking with a chatbot, or when they’ve received an automated response. No matter how well you’ve crafted and developed it. Like we’ve said, this is fine if you’re offering an added service or an added benefit. Replacing a human with a chatbot who can’t offer a warm or personal interaction can be problematic in some applications. Remember, Convince and Convert found 43 per cent of adult Americans say they prefer to deal with a real life assistant, rather than a chatbot and 34% of customers often use a chatbot to get to a human customer service agent.

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