Web design is a relatively new job. When websites first came into existence, there was no need for designers — sites were made up of pages containing just text. As Internet speeds began to increase, it was possible to make pages more complex, first by adding images, then videos and other rich content.
Read: 3 Decades of Evolution of Web Design
Google also contributed to the change — if site owners want their content to be seen, they need to optimise it.
Web designers now have to possess a wide range of skills, from coding to SEO, but the profession remains a creative pursuit. Designers are creating sites for users as well as search engines. It is the unique ideas that allow pages to stand out and our grab attention.
THE END OF WEB DESIGN AS A CAREER?
Are days numbered for web designers? There is a fear that many more professions will disappear over the next decade or so due to artificial intelligence (AI).
It is true that AI has already taken the place of a web designer at some small businesses. A number of online services now exist to allow anyone to create a website. These work by asking users questions about their businesses and utilizing an algorithm to create layout, design, and even basic content. The result: a professional-looking website.
Read: Decision Time: Web Designer vs. Website Builder
The key here is professional-looking. Whereas many small businesses are opting for AI-generated websites to save money, it is negligible how much they are saving in reality.
For instance, many services limit how much a user can edit a site. Customizations are often restricted to a few features, such as color and minor aspects of layout. Plus, even when services do allow users to change code, the final result still lacks originality and inspiration — it is missing a human touch. When you need to add the need for frequent updates and fresh content to keep both users and search engines happy, you’re back to square one: you need a web designer and other creatives.
HOW AI WILL BENEFIT WEB DESIGNERS
human vs robot
Far from being problematic for web designers, AI could actually enrich capabilities. By relying on AI for mundane tasks, designers can focus their efforts on creative activities. A design requires careful thought and planning, but at least some parts of implementation can already be handled by AI. In fact, as AI continues to improve, time spent building a site may be reduced from months to mere minutes.
Furthermore, although AI has no understanding of art, it can generate the beginnings of an idea that a designer can use as inspiration. When such ideas are based around a large amount of data, AI can provide important insights that help the site become more successful.
Whereas AI may result in a few more sites being created without a web designer, this should not be a source of worry for creatives. Large and medium companies, as well as many small businesses, understand the value of human input and will continue to seek the services of a web designer for their sites. AI, far from replacing web designers, will allow designers to do their jobs better.