In the ever-evolving world of web design and development, the question often arises: should we rely on artificial intelligence or human expertise? Let's explore the scenarios where each comes in handy.
When To Use AI vs. Humans
AI can excel in tasks such as web design automation, utilizing AI-powered website builders and templates, and automated content generation and customization. It can also be beneficial in web development by leveraging AI-driven coding and debugging, as well as streamlining website maintenance and updates. Human involvement becomes crucial when executing the baseline that AI provides. Things like custom web design, which involves tailoring unique user experiences and incorporating artistic elements and visual aesthetics, require the creativity and intuition of humans.
AI in Web Design & Development
AI can help you get to a baseline for your website quickly and efficiently. Let's look at a few ways you can use AI to enhance your website and/or business.
Website Builders and Templates
These days, AI has made it easier than ever to get a website up and running. Better than telling you about it, let me show you. I used Durable to generate a sample sports instruction website.
After less than five minutes, I have the bones for a successful website. All I need to do now is take the sections generated and tailor them for my hypothetical business.
There are even more sections (a blog, testimonials) where I can customize the website depending on my needs. The important thing to note here is this is a start. It‘s a great start, but it’s still just a start.
With AI-powered algorithms and natural language processing, content generation has become faster and more efficient. AI can generate blog posts, product descriptions, and even social media captions, providing a solid foundation for websites.
Would you believe me if I said the last paragraph was entirely AI-generated? Tools like HubSpot AI are revolutionizing the way web designers approach copywriting.
With a simple prompt, you can generate full pages of valuable content. As a writer, the toughest part of my job is often pushing through writer's block. Tools like content assistant help me generate ideas so I can be more efficient and strategic in my approach to writing.
Here‘s what HubSpot’s head of AI blog, Martina Bretous had to say about when to use AI in content development. “Consider the type of content you're creating and where the value is for your audience. If the content's value is intrinsically tied to that human perspective (for example, a blog post on the best marketing tools), skip AI. It won't be able to offer the valuable insights that will differentiate you from your competitors. On the flip side, if you're creating content where that perspective isn't at the center (like a how-to post or social media ad copy), then AI can give you a skeleton to build from.”
Coding and Debugging
There are a plethora of AI tools to help speed up the coding process. CodeGrip, for example, lets you input your code for a free analysis. Any web developer is familiar with the painstaking process of debugging. Wracking your brain for hours, late into the night, hoping something will click, and you can find a way to make your code run.
Well, with AI tools, you can see exactly what‘s going on and speed up the debugging process. You can also use ChatGPT in the ideation process if you feel stuck when creating code. While it’s not a perfect solution, ChatGPT (among other code-generating tools) puts code on your screen that you can then edit until it's ready to run.
When to Use Humans in Web Design & Development
While AI undoubtedly brings efficiency and automation, there are certain aspects where human creativity and intuition cannot be replaced. Let's dive into the scenarios where human involvement is crucial.
Editing Content/Coding Output
You might have noticed a theme in our examples above. AI tools are great for getting started, but human intuition and creativity are absolutely necessary to carry the process through. A good rule of thumb is only using AI to do something you're confident you can do yourself. That way, if something does go wrong, you can quickly adjust the AI output to something workable.
You should never blindly put something generated by AI out into the world. Not only does it remove the human connection that is so important for the customer experience, but it also puts you at risk of having a subpar product.
Solving Customer Needs
Simply put, AI can only understand humans to the extent of the prompts that we give to it. There is (so far) no substitute for the human experience. When a customer files a complaint or drops a suggestion to improve UI, it is up to a human designer to take that input and deliver a solution.
The customer is always right, but they don‘t have the answers. That’s where human ingenuity comes into play. You can use AI as a vehicle to execute, but it takes a human to come up with the solution
Putting AI and Human Expertise Together
Rather than choosing between AI and humans, a harmonious collaboration between the two can lead to remarkable results. Let's uncover the advantages of integrating AI and human expertise in web design and development.
Think of AI as your own digital intern. You can use it for ideas and brainstorming and fill in the gaps with your own expertise elsewhere. Here are some examples of how I use AI in my workflow.
You can use AI to instantly generate hundreds of ideas from which you can pick, splice, or modify for your needs. Let‘s say I wanted to come up with five categories for the sports instruction website I generated earlier in this article. Here’s a prompt I'd enter into ChatGPT to quickly get some ideas
You‘ll notice that even though I only needed five categories, I asked ChatGPT to generate fifteen ideas. AI won’t always generate exactly what you need, and you'll often have to splice together multiple ideas to come up with a great one. By generating more ideas than you need, you can use your intuition to pick the cream of the crop.
Enhancing Human Creativity Through AI-Powered Tools
If you‘ve ever had a creative spark be brutally crushed by the weight of thinking about everything you need to do to execute on that spark, you’re not alone. AI can take care of most of the “grunt work” for you so that you can focus on what really matters. Your creativity and ingenuity.
Taking the sports instruction website again, let‘s say I wanted to populate the website with blog articles. I could just generate a blog article and publish it to my website, let’s see how that goes.
At a glance, this is exactly what I asked for. But if you happen to know anything about the subject, you'll quickly find out that most of what the AI generated is fluff without substance. Now compare it to WikiHow's article on the subject.
This is a small snippet of the whole article, but the point comes across the same. There‘s more specificity in how you can actually use the move, there’s a picture to show you how to do it, and there's even tips on how to use (or not use) posting up strategically. You can clearly tell that a human with lived experience has written this article.
Now take the WikiHow article, take all the pictures out, remove all the body content, and just focus on the headers. You get something like this
H2: Moving Into Position
H2: Getting the Ball
H2: Incorporating Scoring and Passing
H2: Advanced Moves
Structurally, this isn't too different from what I generated with ChatGPT. The difference comes down to how WikiHow filled out the article with valuable information to the reader, solving for possible customer needs with lived experience and picture/video examples.
While there‘s more to web design & development than just blog posts, this example shows the value of lived experience when solving your customers’ needs. When maintaining your website, use a human to work on UI/UX but AI to compile and summarize customer feedback. Humans create; AI serves as a baseline.
Simply put, AI is perfect for streamlining tasks that once required tedious manual input, allowing you to focus on creative endeavors.
Web Design & Development: AI and Beyond
AI is a fantastic tool that can serve as an aid to your everyday workflow. Using it together with humans who have lived experience is the key to unlocking your website's full potential.