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Over the years, one notable development that has democratised web development is the emergence of DIY web development platforms like WordPress and Wix. These have made creating a website cost-effective and basically a breeze for individuals and businesses, reducing the reliance on external developers.
The global market for website builders, valued at approximately $2 billion in 2022, is expected to expand significantly and reach a revised market size of around $3.8 billion by 2030. This growth is anticipated to occur at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% during the forecast period of 2022 to 2030. However, while these platforms have gained popularity, the industry seems to be stuck in a loop of similar offerings without much innovation or imagination, reaching a point of saturation.
Microsoft has stepped in to change the game with its introduction of Copilot in Power Pages. Copilot is an AI-powered assistant for Microsoft’s low-code business website creation tool. It streamlines the web design process by generating text, forms, chatbots, web page layouts, and even image and site design themes based on user prompts. This AI assistant allows users to describe their needs in natural language, eliminating the need to start from scratch and saving valuable time and effort.
One key aspect that sets Copilot apart from competing solutions is its versatility. Leveraging OpenAI’s powerful GPT-3.5 model, Copilot can provide a wide range of AI-generated suggestions tailored to the user’s requirements. However, Microsoft emphasises responsible use and cautions against using Copilot to generate spam sites. The system includes safeguards such as offensive content filtering to ensure responsible AI utilisation.
Users retain control over the AI-generated suggestions and can provide feedback on any irrelevant or inappropriate output. This feedback loop is essential for improving the accuracy of the system and ensuring that the AI assistant aligns with the user’s vision and requirements. Furthermore, the chatbot feature in Power Pages incorporates safeguards like a whitelist of URLs to prevent the presentation of malicious or misleading information to users.
AI integration in web pages
The integration of AI into web development extends beyond Microsoft’s Copilot in Power Pages. Before the introduction of Copilot in Power Pages, several website builders gained popularity for their ease of use and extensive features. The WordPress community has also been discussing the potential benefits of AI integration.
While there are no immediate plans to add AI to the WordPress core, contributors have explored various possibilities. Suggestions include AI diagnostic co-pilots for issue identification and solutions, AI-powered content marketing toolkits, and AI chatbots as collaborators in future WordPress phases. Currently, AI integration with WordPress is available through plugins like CodeWP, All in One SEO, Rank Math, SEOPress, and WordLift.
Similarly, other players in the industry have also integrated AI into several aspects of their website-building tools.
Webflow, known for its no-code tools for website creation, is introducing AI-powered features that enable users to customise templates through verbal prompts. The AI adjusts content, images, and structure based on user needs. Users can manually edit designs with AI assistance, which also generates drafts, optimises search features, and translates content. Webflow aims to streamline web designing, making it accessible while retaining manual design capabilities. Pricing and availability for the AI features are yet to be determined as they are currently in limited alpha testing.
Wix.com has launched its AI Text Creator within the Wix Editor, aiming to improve the quality of site content and streamline the website-building process for its users. The feature allows users to generate high-quality and tailored content, including titles, taglines, and paragraphs, by providing inputs and answering prompts. By leveraging AI technology, Wix aims to optimise the website creation process and provide users with professional-looking content. The AI Text Creator is currently rolling out to Wix users in English, with plans for wider availability. Wix.com is a leading SaaS platform that enables users to create, manage, and grow their online presence.
There’s another no-code website builder backed by Y Combinator, called Typedream, which simplifies website creation by providing an easy-to-use editor and various customisable elements such as forms, blogs, and pages. With its drag-and-drop interface, users can effortlessly develop professional-looking websites without coding knowledge. The platform offers a wide range of templates that can be personalised to match a business’s branding and style. Typedream also includes time-saving AI features like automatic layout suggestions, colour palettes, and typography, which reduce the need for extensive design brainstorming. While the free version is suitable for getting started, the paid version offers additional features like a custom domain, code injection, and detailed analytics.
Web developers still stand a chance
While the availability of DIY platforms may reduce the demand for basic website development, there are still ample opportunities for web developers to thrive and provide specialised services in a competitive market. Experienced professionals who can deliver customised solutions and tackle complex challenges will continue to be sought after. This highlights the importance of expertise in specialised areas within web development.
The field of web development remains relevant and dynamic as it evolves alongside the ever-changing digital landscape. Developers who adapt to new technologies, stay informed about emerging trends, and offer unique skills and services and are well-positioned for success. The industry continues to evolve and adapt, ensuring that web development remains an essential discipline in the digital era. With advancements like AI-powered assistants, web developers can embrace innovation and drive the future of web design, catering to the evolving needs of businesses and users alike.