The Grid: AI-created websites and what this means for marketers

Thu, 15/11/2018 - 09:00

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a necessary tool for anyone who does anything in the digital sphere. Do you want a niche way to communicate with consumers? An AI-enabled chatbot is the answer. Do you want a better social media campaign? Algorithms with AI can come to your rescue. But there is one aspect that still has to be done by humans, and that is website design.

Or is it? There is a new kid on the block, which might make quite a difference to your organic search agency and that is The Grid. It is an AI-powered website designer which uses artificial intelligence to design websites so that designers no longer have to. While this type of website building is not new, the fact that The Grid creates a website by itself by using content you give it is unique. Curious? Read on to find out what The Grid is and what AI-created websites will mean for marketers. 

So, what is The Grid exactly?
Simply put, The Grid is an artificial intelligence-based website designer. The websites are designed by an AI program called “Molly” by using the goals and content that you input into the system. It will function as your own personal graphic designer, “thinking” about your brand by analysing the content you have uploaded and the colour choices you make when choosing a template. 

For those who want a simple and straightforward way to create a website, The Grid is an ideal choice. As The Grid CEO and co-founder Dan Tocchini says, “The design adapts to your content, not the other way around.” This means that your site will be personalised specifically to the content you give it. No more spending hours trying to figure out how to add or remove elements with fiddly online tools. You simply upload pictures, documents or videos, choose a colour template or let Molly decide for you and let the AI work its magic. 

However, it seems that The Grid’s Molly isn’t all she is made out to be. Some users have found that the sites created using this new AI phenomenon are too similar and there is no room for personalisation from the user once the site has been created. 

Are there other offerings like this?
The Grid might sound like the future of AI-designed websites, but it is not alone in this sphere. The ever-popular Wix now offers their own AI tool known as Wix ADI, which works in a similar way to The Grid. There is also the startup known as Firedrop with slightly different AI. 

Instead of creating a site based on content you have uploaded, Firedrop uses its own chatbot Sacha who guides the user through the website building process. Sacha acts like a graphic designer, giving useful tips and advice to create the perfect website. This chatbot makes it seem as though the user is being helped by their own personal graphic designer, but has also had problems with very generic questions leading to designs that people like. 

What does website AI mean for marketers?
If we consider the fact that The Grid, Wix ADI and Firedrop are still in the beginning phases, there is no need for graphic designers to be scared for their jobs. However, there are certain things that need to be taken into consideration when thinking about the future. 

Image recognition for impressive results
As we have discussed above, the website-building AI tools have the ability to create designs using what has been uploaded. This means that they have fairly useful cognitive abilities and because they are connected to the internet, these tools have access to references and designs that can help graphic designers. 

AI tools can be used for image recognition in order for brands to be smarter about image-related marketing such as social media posts and advertisements. An AI algorithm will be able to understand consumer behaviours and buying patterns by “looking” at an image on the internet and comparing it to an image in its own library. For example, if your client sells snacks, you can find the geographical demographics of their consumers by allowing your AI to look for images of their snacks at certain locations. This will allow you to create targeted adverts. 

Build a more contextual website
Graphic designers and marketers are always striving toward keeping the client happy, as you should do. But sometimes, when it comes to instructions from a client, things can become a little murky and hard to understand. 

AI tools for website design have come a long way, and now have a better contextual understanding of the instructions you give them. For example, if you input to the tool that you want a certain image to be filtered through a certain colour, it will not just pick any shade of this colour but the one that best suits the rest of your web design colours. And if the colour you ask for does not suit the rest of the design, the algorithm will suggest a better colour. This better understanding of context will allow designers to build a website that makes sense and is true to the brand of the client. 

Embrace the future
The future is most definitely digital. You cannot escape the fact that we are moving toward AI being a much bigger part of our lives, especially when it comes to marketing. Offerings such as The Grid might be a long way off to perfection, but it is not something to be disregarded. 

Right now, graphic designers can collaborate with artificial intelligence tools at their disposal and stay ahead of the curve when the future of website-AI does arrive. 

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