Web Design Trends Demystified: Artificial Intelligence

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At the end of 2016 we shared a list of some of the web design trends slated to make it big in 2017. Among them were trends like video marketing, bold typography and hand drawn graphics, which we’re all familiar with. However, some additions to the list aren’t quite so familiar: artificial intelligence, microinteractions and mobile first design, to name a few. Before you can incorporate certain trends into your work you need to understand their history, their rise to popularity and what value they can add to your designs. In a series of posts we’ll be sharing throughout 2017 we want to delve under the hood of some of this year’s biggest web design trends and get into the nitty gritty, arming you with all the information you need to include these trends in your designs in an effective way.

Taking the stand this month? Artificial intelligence.

For most people, artificial intelligence is something more at home in sci-fi films than in web design but this incredible technology has been evolving in leaps and bounds over the years and is slowly being incorporated into every area of our lives. Of course, artificial intelligence has limitless uses but today we’re going to focus on how it’s being used in the world of web design and development.

What exactly is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term for machines or programs that complete tasks usually done by people. To be more specific, tasks that previously could not have been carried out by technology alone. Think self-driving cars, Siri, automated fraud detection or Netflix’s recommendation functionality. Yes, artificial intelligence is responsible for choosing your latest Netflix addiction!

These smart machines and programs are being utilised by almost every industry on the planet, from entertainment to medicine, from customer service to security. And, of course, web design and development.

As is always the case with the development of cutting edge technology, many people are scared that the introduction of artificial intelligence could lead to jobs being lost and, you know, the entire destruction of the human race (but that’s another story…). Is it possible for AI to replace human web designers? The general consensus is definitely not. As the introduction of the Kindle hasn’t done away with the paperback and hardback market, AI web design and development isn’t going to replace human work any time soon and probably never will.

Instead of being threatened by the use of AI in web design, designers should embrace how AI can enhance their designs and bring new functionality to the websites they’re working on. There are plenty of ways businesses are improving user experience by incorporating AI technology and this is the mindset we’d encourage all designers and developers to have: how can it improve my work and what can I learn from it?

What is it used for?

It’s still early days for AI being used in web design and development but there are a few notable examples that show how this trend can be incorporated into the web projects you work on in 2017:

  • The Grid (the world’s first AI web design platform, which debuted its designs to…mixed reactions)
  • Customer service chat bots
  • Simple news article generation (Fox and Yahoo! both use AI technology to create basic news stories like fantasy sports reports)
  • Music recommendations (Pandora Radio and Spotify)
  • Image recognition (you know when Facebook recognises faces in your photos? Yup, AI)

Should I be using it in my design/development work?

As is always the case where trends are concerned, it’s a great idea to implement them in your work where they fit in organically and seamlessly. Trying to shoehorn in a trend just because it’s popular is going to drag your designs down rather than elevate them. Look at the functionality your client’s website can offer their visitors and see if it can be achieved through AI. If so, consider using it.

Whatever functionality you’re looking at including, the user’s experience needs to remain your primary focus. Will it enhance their browsing experience? If it will, go for it.

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The rise of AI in the world of web design may make some designers nervous but there’s no need to fear these technological advancements. After all, The Grid is the first real foray into AI-only web design and, well, the initial reviews suggest it doesn’t pose a huge threat to the industry.

Have you included AI in your website creation? If so, we’d love to hear more about it in the comments below!

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