"The Grid" harnesses AI to create your website

By November 21, 2014

The developers of a new AI-based website design tool claim it will ensure that “the design adapts to your content, not the other way around.” However, there are still a few question marks hanging over this interesting innovation.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to conquer new territory. A San Francisco startup is now on the point of launching a new system for creating your website based on the content you supply – i.e. a sort of automated smart webmastering. The Grid founders promise to enable anyone and everyone to create his/her own website in a fully intuitive manner without recourse to the usual templates and without any html code.

The founders, former Google AdSense Products Director Brian Axe and ex-Medium designer Leigh Taylor, are planning to provide access to The Grid in late spring 2015 at a charge of $25 a month. This is far lower than hiring a webmaster and a graphics specialist, but steeper than the cost of for example creating your own WordPress site. The Grid will host your site but will not supply a domain name. So customers will have to buy a domain name before going on to The Grid to begin building their site.

Axe and Taylor claim to have found a means of enabling an ordinary non-specialist to create a well-designed, sophisticated website – ranging from personal websites and professional services sites through to fully-fledged e-commerce platforms – suitable for both PCs and mobile devices. They say their platform will be capable of matching content and form so as to achieve a perfect balance between your website’s graphics and its message. The AI tool will examine the low- and high-contrast areas in users’ images and place text accordingly, crop images using face- and feature-detection, and automate colour schemes automatically.





A key question that arises however is: is there not an anomaly somewhere in the concept of ‘automated customisation’? Once a customer has uploaded the images and text s/he wants to incorporate in the site, s/he will not have much more to do. So might not this apparent advantage eventually turn out to be a handicap? The company has not yet actually demonstrated the service and at this stage it is far from clear to what extent site owners will subsequently be able to adjust the design to suit changing circumstances. The Grid launched a crowdfunding campaign in October to raise funds to begin production of the service. If it proves a success, The Grid’s solution is likely to give a boost to the more widespread use of AI across the Internet to improve the quality of microsites and enhance the performance of search engines.

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