When the internet was new, building a site was complex. You had to actually make changes to your website’s source code. Things have gotten a lot easier since then – we’ve gotten new tools to play with in HTML5, content management systems that let anyone make basic changes without needing to know any code, and powerful distributed systems that ensure that your site delivers content quickly anywhere in the world.
So what’s next?
Advances in artificial intelligence have been a hot topic recently. We’re seeing self-driving cars and computers that can beat humans at abstract tasks like Go. More and more human jobs are being supplemented with AI assistance.
A number of companies are beginning to turn the untapped potential of AI to the problem of web design. The Grid uses AI to design an entirely unique website automatically as you add content. The resulting pages are slick, stylish and look just like something a human would design. They do look a little bit similar to each other- The Grid definitely has a set style, and it doesn’t deviate much from it.
Algorithms as Content
While some websites can get away with being static (your local ice cream shop’s website, for example), others need to provide users with an ever-changing flow of information. This is where algorithms come in. Imagine being able to write a widget that automatically delivered a unique set of articles customized to each reader whenever someone visited your home page.
You’d hit a gold mine – you’d get great retention and reader engagement, you’d be able to serve up relevant ads, and aside from adding fresh articles and tuning the algorithm, you’d never have to do any work.
That’s pretty much what Vox does right now. Vox’s home page cherry picks a variety of the site’s best content with each visit. It dynamically generates layouts for each piece of content that it wants to display and then slots them all together in a way that’s statistically proven to score the best among readers. Vox’s staff still has to add content to their site, but the site itself takes care of showing that content to readers.
Easy Personal Building
Between AI design, modern CMS and the vast library of templates and examples that people have created over the years, it’s easier than ever to build a snazzy site in a couple of minutes that looks like it was professionally designed. A number of great personal web builders have popped up, enabling people without any training or experience to cobble together a site to share their business or passion with the world.
A Connected Future
Web design is changing. As society becomes more and more technologically literate, websites become more and more important. Tools like AI design, algorithmic content and web-based web page builders help people get their content on the internet easily, enabling them to focus on their passions and not on the nitty-gritty technical side of web design.