Now artificial intelligence is not just powering services like Siri and potentially listening to our conversations on Facebook, it is also making its way into web design.
Wix.com announced a new offering Wednesday called Wix ADI, or Artificial Design Intelligence, to incorporate AI into the creation of new web templates. They claim their software “blends” AI and “human design sensibility.”
Wix is promising that “no two websites” will have the same design and will be suited for different industries with variations in theme, layout and minor details like color and font. They also claim Wix ADI will be able to tailor designs to users’ “location,” though they do not elaborate on what they know about website layout preferences city to city or country to country.
Wix ADI product chief Nitzan Achsaf told Geektime the main reason to ask about location is to better scrape the web for data about your business to self-assemble the website. It’s up to a customer not to give their location, but it could inhibit the incorporation of logos, images or maybe testimonials that would fill in parts of the automatically built webpage. Over time, that might better illustrate clear style preferences in different markets.
“Already we have many different tastes you can select from. As well roll out to other countries, I am sure it will adapt to the design specifications of that location,” Achsaf stated.
Getting past the buzz about AI and machine learning that might be inherent in their new product, this sounds like it would be a royal pain in the butt for increasingly bulky WordPress. While WordPress has had an undisputed lead in easy web design for years, sites often need HTML and CSS work that website purchasers were hoping to avoid by choosing WordPress. Also, their help forums are notoriously unhelpful.
One of WordPress’s great complications is its open source format, resulting in thousands of plugins that could slow or even break a website. Wix isn’t as flexible, but at the same time has better control over its code, resulting in all its plugins being native and compatible as well as a less-buggy interface. With further customization, anyone worried about a lack of options might see some of their concerns mitigated.
But Wix has a ways to go before it catches WordPress’s market share, nor smaller CMS competitors like Joomla or Drupal. Its numbers might be better compared to Squarespace or Weebly. They reported 1.94 million premium subscriptions in the first quarter of 2016 (net growth of 170,000) and 5.3 million registered users. The company claims an all-time tally of 86 million users.
Achsaf says the software adapts with the website itself to recommend structural and stylistic changes to the site that ADI might calculate based on its continuous crawls of the web. From those scrapes, it suggests changes business owners or admins would conceivably like, depending on industry changes or updates to the business itself. There are also different settings that let more subtle changes go up automatically.
“As people change their tastes and the system will know that and pick it up,” Achsaf said. “Basically everything is either [on] a recommendation base or automatic upgrades.”