Website design is never easy, and the more advanced the site needs to be, the more technical the design process becomes. The Grid has received a lot of social media coverage over the past few months with its promise of being able to build websites ‘artificially’ without the need for a developer or web designer.
According to The Grid, in the future websites will simply build themselves and users will only have to upload images and text – the service will then analyse the content and create a responsive site in just a few minutes using specific style sheets provided by The Grid. The design will adapt to the content as it grows – a challenge that web designers have to face all the time.
Now before we all get too excited, this service will only start to be rolled out in Spring 2015. Its subscription fee of $25 per month suggests it is aimed at small to medium sized businesses whose content is likely to be fairly simple. That’s not to say The Grid won’t be a suitable budget alternative to websites designed and built by humans, but as a graphic designer and web designer I have my doubts whether it can go beyond the basics.
I think The Grid could work for a lot of companies in much the same way as WordPress or Wix websites do, i.e. filling the DIY hole for those that have a limited web budget. There will still be a need for a graphic designer to select the right images, create the right kind of files, choose the colours and keep an eye on branding. And if it needs to do anything really clever or technical, or link up with databases etc, then it will most certainly need a developer!
The web is continually changing and evolving with new technology and trends. Developers and web designers are constantly being pushed in multiple directions, so I monitor these developments very closely. When something genuinely good comes along, I try and assess how it can be of benefit to my clients and implement it where appropriate.
It’s important to keep up with the web, but we need to remain focused on the main purpose of a website, which is to deliver information to people in an easy to understand and clearly defined format, and I believe that needs a human touch, not an artificial one.