The Grid is a program that is still in development but has already put out advertisements galore, boasting an Artificial Intelligence capable of designing and building websites itself.
It’s not difficult to find plugins that can assist with generating chunks of code, and extensions that greatly facilitate Photoshop mockups. But a program that can do all of the above? In seconds? With just a couple of clicks of the user? Get out.
For the designers and developers, this may seem catastrophic, as the question arises “could this replace designers and developers?” This is what our minds were built to do. This is what we enjoy, what we thrive on. I’m a designer, and don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little help now and then, but what if I want to keep designing? What if I want to be more than just a creative director?
This is a teaser video for the software, but as far as laying out the website is concerned, it just shows bits and pieces being assembled. The process behind it is still a little foggy to me. Do you just upload the content and media and it spits something out that you’re stuck with? Do you get to make changes after? Do you get to make some decisions of what you’re wanting before? I think these are important questions that will decide who uses the software, and how it is used.
As I mentioned before, the initial discovery of this product had me a little freaked out that my job would become obsolete. However, after viewing the video and reading up on the subject a bit more, my fears have been lessened. The fact is that technology is evolving every day, and no matter what magical software exists, I think there will always still be people who want some help; who want to hire the professionals to do it rather than doing it themselves with or letting a computer take over.
My thought is that while this is supposed to be a program that works hand in hand with designers, it will be hard to use a program with such extensive capabilities as just a tool to assist you from time to time. If it works as it says it will, it will be a pretty impressive product. But I think it would be difficult for a designer, who enjoys what they do and enjoys being creative, to let their job become just clicking through different layout options rather than thinking through options themselves. So I see it likely falling more the way of other existing pre-designed website services and will be used primarily for people who want a website but want nothing to do with even making small modifications to a template.
But I could be wrong, it could in fact, be a great tool for designers and developers. I still prefer to design with a process that involves research and wireframes, not one that is just left to clicking through layout options. But maybe there’s more to it than that. I suppose we will just have to wait and see when it is released.