For the lay user who does not know much about coding, the most visible change about the internet has been the way websites look.
Over the past decade, websites have not only become more colorful, but browsing is as pleasant a visual experience as leafing through a coffee table glossy magazine about fashion. Elegant themes and templates, well-designed navigation, aesthetic appeal, and, most of all, excellent loading times have contributed to people spending hours browsing the web.
What is Web Development?
There is only one reason responsible for this change. The evolution of web development from plain pages with hyperlinks (think of Yahoo or AOL homepage circa turn of the millennium) to HTML 5 enabled websites.
At the front end or the browser end, it consists of coding, markup, placement of elements, layers of navigation. At the back end or the server end, it consists of database management, fetching and rendering of images, and, most importantly, network security.
Introduction to AI
Artificial intelligence – the concept is known to most of us thanks to Hollywood blockbusters such as Blade Runner, but not much is understood about its scope.
It is a major evolution in computer science and the realization of a long-held dream – the development of programs that learn by themselves. Most of this is achieved through the study of past behavior and using it as a predictor of future trends. It is in its infancy but has already made important contributions to web development through cultivating user experiences that are far more intuitive than what any human could design.
The AI market was estimated to be worth $25 billion in 2018 and expected to grow 45% every year. Statista has predicted that it would reach $126 billion by 2025. Obviously, it is the next big thing, and most organizations look forward to using AI-based web development for better interactions with users and generating a more customized feel.
Example of AI use in Web Design
The most common use of AI in web design can be found in Facebook. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s forecast in 2017 that the use of AI is an existential threat to mankind, his flagship company has been consistently using it for some years.
Have you ever noticed that the more you interact with particular friend’s posts, the more they come up in your feed? Also, strangely the more likes you get from them. That is because the Facebook algorithm puts their posts in front of the queue, and also vice versa does the same for your posts.
Those friends whom you ignore tend to drop out of the feed. With an average Facebook user having a few hundred friends, this is the only way to serve you content that you would like.
Not only does Facebook use AI for tweaking your feed but for removing objectionable content such as fake news, spam, pornographic content, and other similar material. It is also very efficient at identifying fake accounts that serve a particular objectionable agenda.
Similar technology is being used by Reddit, the mega discussion board, and known as AutoModerator. Amazon uses it to suggest items that you might like to buy or at least browse through.
Grammarly is a spelling and grammar checker that works quite well as an editor. It is not only able to cover several types of grammatical mistakes but suggests alternative words and synonyms that make writing more vigorous.
Implementation of AI in Website Development
Why is AI becoming important in web development? It is because we all want more intuitive sites that almost have a precognition of what we require.
These are the most well-known applications of artificial intelligence in web development.
Intelligent Website Builders
The design of a website layout is tedious and labor-intensive. From Wix to Jimdo, this task can now be outsourced to an AI-based editor.
How does it work?
After you sign up for Wix website builder, you could use a fully functional WYSIWYG editor or simply answer a few questions about the type of website you wish to set up e.g. a blog or a store or a small business site. The Wix ADI would choose a template, modify it, and show you a preview in a matter of minutes.
Adobe Sensei is just like the Wix ADI but on steroids. It connects seamlessly with Adobe Cloud and delivers a perfect website in less time than ever before. With its design element recommendation and automated image resizing using facial recognition tools, it can create a site with the same degree of artistic input as a human.
These are the most visible AI elements present on a website. The first generation of chatbots used about five years back was hardly intelligent and was rather wooden in its response.
The latest versions have become increasingly adept at understanding human language based input. The utilization of these bots has helped to automate the process of understanding client requirements without any need for humans.
Not only are intelligent chatbots able to work 24×7 without feeling tired, but they are also able to directly integrate the data they collect with the CRM system and allow the business to devise a seamless customer experience.
The principal application of chatbots is to solve technical issues such as configuring a router. They never become impatient and, when used in the right context, are an invaluable tool for customer support.
AI-Based Programming and Diagnostics
Believe it or not, AI has started to write code. An ideal example is Microsoft Sketch2Code. All that a web developer needs to do is hand draw a prototype wireframe, and the program can convert it into lines of HTML. The program can recognize navigation layers, buttons, contact forms, and add them as prescribed.
Another example of AI used in web development is Deep Code, a program that bug tests HTML by thoroughly analyzing it. Bug testing is expensive, and the use of the Deep Code reduces the number of manhours needed.
Bayou code search engine developed by Rice University can intelligently search Github repositories to find if a similar project has been executed before.
In the end, what these web development tools perform is take away the task of writing massive chunks of code that was the most expensive part of web development by automating the procedure.
Better SEO by Harnessing AI
SEO strategies in use are heavily dependent on humans for the analysis and interpretation of data. Often it takes a long time for SEO to have an effect since it is always playing a game of catch up. An action plan is implemented, and the result is observable after 2-3 months.
If it fails to live up to expectations, then another is implemented. This makes SEO both expensive and time-consuming. The use of data mining and superior number crunching using AI can maximize the use of website data and improve its design.
One of the most well-known examples is Market Brew, an AI-powered search platform that can predict a website’s Google ranking after two months.
AI-based Product Recommendations
As mentioned above, Amazon recommendations are quite well known. But not everyone owns a gazillion dollar worth e-commerce site such as Amazon to employ a team of AI engineers. Fear not because recent technological progress has meant that such advanced applications are within easy reach of micro and small business owners too.
Using plugins such as Wootomation, you could have your site recommend products to customers based on their browsing habits, just as Amazon does. Data is the new oil. More specifically, data about your potential customers is what makes or breaks a marketing strategy.
AI is superior to conventional website tools in scraping this type of relevant data and sorting it as required. The highly structured data analysis allows your marketing team to use a more precise approach in product recommendations.
Personalized User Experience
Integrating AI into your website gives you several advantages over your competitors. Essentially you would be able to understand your customer’s requirements more thoroughly. This allows a customer to feel as if the store was created primarily with him/her in mind.
For those who own an ecommerce venture of some kind, such as an online store, it is essential to optimize your web design to meet these new criteria. An AI plugin Watsonfinds is an exciting tool that predicts the emotion your users would feel after reading a text such as product description.
Internet users are an impatient bunch. We have all become accustomed to finding the information we need instantly. Due to this reason, voice-based search has become quite popular with Apple Siri and Google Assistant being used daily by millions. The use of AI and ML in web site development does not only mean that your site contains these elements but that your site can respond to search made using AI.
With the quick rise of artificial intelligence, it is evident that web developers will no longer be simply programmers of HTML and CSS. Much of their work would be done by AI, and their task would be to supervise the application of relevant AI tools in specified areas of web development.
The use of automated code generating tools and plugins that can integrate efficient recommendation engines has changed the technological landscape. The next generation of web developers would be proficient at the use of machine learning and data mining to build superior web apps that improve sales as well as user experience substantially.
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