Robots have already replaced hundreds of thousands of workers across the globe and it will undoubtedly be a growing trend for years to come. The realm of website design is not escaping this talking point either. The AI robots have begun implementing their evil plot to take over the world!
The rumor of an AI system that can develop amazing websites with very little input from the user are true. The Grid is launching in late 2016. Some claim that it is the easiest web builder to-date. Can their system do everything a human can do? Of course not, but it could make it easier for the non-tech savvy individual to build a starter website. Possibly!
From the 90s through the mid 2000’s everyone and their mother had a free geocities or angelfire website. They were not overly easy to work with and you needed to know basic HTML to make certain features possible. In recent history we have seen the emergence of much more advanced versions of website builders, like Drupal, WordPress and Wix.
These WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design platforms are easy to work with, for the most part. For just a few dollars down and an afternoon’s time Joe Schmoe can create a generic web page that looks semi-professional. How can The Grid improve on that? Their founders claim users are only required to upload minimal text and images. Then, the algorithms order their robots into action to analyze color/contrast patterns, facial recognition in photos and more, and begin placing the content into grid: automatic page layouts created by algorithms! Sound too good to be true? Can a line of code understand a person's emotions, or know a businesses true brand identity, and package this neatly into a box? That is certainly a tall order!
Is The Grid’s Code Compliant?
Putting the human element aside, how well can we expect The Grid’s website to function on a technical level? Let’s start with their own site that was developed with their platform, thegrid.io. Web designers aspire to comply with W3C standards, which insures our websites function properly across all devices in multiple browsers. The problem is, The Grid does not currently pass W3C validation in several key areas. That could change before their launch later in 2016. Further, if you attempt to run their stylesheet through a CSS validator it finds many errors (80+). Are these code issues going to mean their websites are unattractive or dysfunctional? Not entirely; however, it means the first release of The Grid will not be ready to replace human web developers. For more complex website operations like Ecommerce, custom plugins or unique functionality, the world wide web will still need a human touch.
What about Search Engine Optimization?
It’s impossible to speculate exactly how The Grid web pages will score in the SEO department since it is still in the development stage. On the surface it sounds like their programmers are trying to make good SEO a part of their platform. With auto-generated content, it will be very hard for their platform to compete against websites that have been meticulously combed through and laid out specifically for SEO. If you have SEO related questions about your website, give us a call.
Can Math and Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Programmers?
Founder Dan Tocchini says "our AI is dependent on designers training it; the designers are still the masters; the AI just scales their efforts." They claim the web pages will automatically adjust as users upload more content by way of “filters”. The big question is what happens when you disagree with their robot’s choices and want to make your own style changes? Will they allow any flexibility for the author’s input, or will this be the moment that sparks a war between humans and cyberdyne?
Final Thoughts On Man vs Machine
The Grid makes a lot of interesting promises and it will truly be interesting to see how effective their design platform is at search engine ranking, converting leads via good design choices, and being adaptable for larger website builds. It is still a pretty safe bet that The Grid will not be replacing human web developers anytime soon. At the time of this article there are nearly 75 million WordPress websites in cyberspace. Will The Grid be able to take a bite out of that market share? Let us know what you think in the comments below.