Bring up the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) and it tends to elicit one of two reactions. Either it’s the technology that will save us or it’s going to take our jobs. Both of these responses are understandable.
After all, there’s plenty of good AI can bring to the world. It could help us cure diseases and solve other highly complex problems.
Yet there is also a case to be made about the potential impact on workers. It may just render certain jobs obsolete. There’s plenty of reason to have concern about what that could mean for a lot of people and industries.
Where does that leave web designers? I’ve read opinions that are on both ends of the spectrum. Some think we’re doomed, while others paint a much rosier picture of the future.
Since everybody has an opinion, I’ll throw mine out there as well. My take is that AI isn’t likely to have the negative impact on web design that some fear. Allow me to outline a few reasons why.
Our Clients Will Still Need Real People
Sure, there are some tools out there that purportedly allow anyone to build a website by answering a few questions. Enter your industry and a few facts about your business and, voila, you have a “stunning” website.
However, this really isn’t a thorough enough solution for most organizations. It deals more in broad generalizations and decorates them with stock photography.
For a website to be effective, it has to cater to the needs of both clients and their target audience. They are not one-size-fits-all. And, in many cases, clients may not even know what they need until someone takes the time to discuss it with them.
Even the best of chat bots is unlikely to ask the right questions. That’s why a human conversation is necessary to get the details right.
Then, too, the design and build processes also require a personal touch. An app might produce some revisions on its own, but it may be quite some time before they can tease out a person’s actual needs and preferences.
Clients still need us to guide them on the right path to help them achieve their project goals.
AI Tools Will Be There to Help with Efficiency, Not Replace Our Judgment
It’s easy to imagine design and development tools that use their magic to do all the dirty work for us. If something is there to pick all the colors and write all the code – what’s left for us humans?
We’re already seeing this in tools such as Photoshop, where we can detect faces or even replace the sky with just a few clicks. For some of us, that may at once sound scary and awesome.
But it’s also important to think about purpose. These advancements are there to help us get things done more efficiently. They aren’t necessarily replacing humans – just saving them from some tedious work. Other apps will likely aim to do the very same for writing code or developing UIs.
One potential concern here is that more efficiency means fewer billable hours. Another could be that our clients will simply use these tools themselves rather than pay us.
This isn’t out of the realm of possibility. However, the more advanced the app, the more initial and ongoing financial investment that will be required to use it. Not to mention the education and experience necessary to get the most out of the technology. Taken together, we can pass along a portion of the costs and use our expertise to achieve the desired results.
Ultimately, it will be web professionals who put all of this together into a working final product. So, just as we’re using things like page builders or code frameworks to help us get things done, we’ll also adopt AI apps. They’ll be there to help us in new ways and save us precious time.
Web Designers Will Need to Adapt – Just Like Always
If you’ve been in the web design industry for a while, you have likely seen a lot of shifts over time. You probably need more than your hands and feet to count the number of changes you’ve experienced. The work has evolved in numerous ways both large and small.
Artificial intelligence may well be just another in a long line of changes. True, it may be bigger than most. But it’s something we can adapt to – just as we have with so many other rising technologies.
Maybe it is a bit scary to think about. But I think that’s only natural, as so much remains unknowable. However, we can’t let that stop us from preparing as best as we can.
In practice, this is about learning new skills and tools. From there, we must leverage that knowledge in order to make AI work for us. See where the opportunities are and position ourselves to take advantage.
If that sounds familiar, it should. This is what web designers have been doing for decades.
- The Bright Side of an Increasingly Homogeneous Web
- Tips for Being a Good Design Mentor
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- Techniques for Documenting Your Web Projects
- Why Web Design Client Referrals Aren’t a Slam-Dunk
- How Freelance Designers Can Thrive in a Tough Economy
- How Being Uncomfortable Can Make You a Better Web Designer