The Future of Website Design – What does ChatGPT say?

The Future of Website Design - What does ChatGPT say?

One of the things about working in the digital arena is that the only constant is change: every 6 months or so a new technology or paradigm emerges and the whole industry scrabbles around to understand what it is, and how it fits into the current landscape. Sometimes technologies are overhyped or misunderstood, and sometimes it takes time for their uses to fully develop and reveal themselves – our job is to make sense of it all for our clients.

One of those areas that seems to now dominate the landscape is AI and services like ChatGPT. Raising questions such as: where will this technology lead us? What jobs will it replace? What will happen to those people?

Those are pretty broad searching questions and if we zoom in a little on my particular industry of web design, I’m keen to see how AI will affect it.

I’m no expert by any means with AI but it’s obvious that it’s got huge potential in generating content – whether those are words, graphics, movies, music, or even code – AI can seem to do it all.

But nerves jingle when I see this because, on a basic level, I wonder “where does this leave my business in 5 to 10 years time?”. And how do I prepare for it?

Holding back the tide?

I am mindful that there are certain things we cannot hold the tide against – e.g. I see posts on Facebook about “don’t use automatic checkouts in supermarkets” (as they are taking human jobs away) and I (sadly) think “well, best of luck with that” because certain things are going to happen whether we like it or not. Or, if we go back hurther in time, when more modern loom & weaving methods were introduced, there were riots – as people’s livelihoods were displaced.

If we put our fears to one side, let’s start to think about how this will all come together. From a high level, my gut tells me that these are all tools, and outputs are only as good as inputs. Yes it’ll change the playing field, but the game will essentially be the same – experts use tools expertly on behalf of other people.

I also thought this: let’s ask ChatGPT what it thinks the future of web design is?

Note: the caveat here is that this doesn’t really play to the strengths of ChatGPT (which may not even be the best tool here) BUT this feels an interesting way to structure this article.

“Hey, ChatGPT! What is the future of website design?”

Following is ChatGPT’s exact transcript (with my thoughts interweaved):

Predicting the exact future of website design is challenging, as it is influenced by rapidly evolving technologies, design trends, user preferences, and societal shifts. However, based on current trends and emerging technologies, we can make some educated guesses about the potential future of website design:

Mobile-First and Responsive Design

Mobile devices continue to dominate internet usage, so mobile-first and responsive design principles will remain crucial. Websites will be designed with a focus on providing seamless and optimized experiences across various screen sizes and devices.

Joel – Yes – this has dominated website design for many years and will continue to. We are increasingly mobile.


Minimalism and Clean Design

Minimalist design with ample white space and clear typography is likely to persist. Clutter-free interfaces improve user engagement and make it easier for visitors to navigate and absorb information.

Joel – This makes sense and is already very much part of the industry (e.g. User Experience UX).


Microinteractions and Animation

Microinteractions, such as subtle animations, hover effects, and transitions, enhance user engagement and create more interactive and enjoyable experiences.

Joel – this has its place, for sure – but less is more (bearing in mind we are looking for ‘Minimalism and Clean Design’, no?)


AI-Powered Personalization

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be increasingly used to create personalized website experiences. Websites will adapt in real-time based on user behavior, preferences, and demographics.

Joel – Ok, this is interesting thought I would ask “how are you going to do this?”. The direction of travel with the web is (rightly so) that the Wild West days of personal data being freely up for grabs are over – that landscape is increasingly barren. So any personalisation (for anonymous website visitors) will be limited – obviously when people ‘log in’ (or take any action to willingly part with their private information) , then this situation changes.


Voice User Interfaces (VUIs)

As voice assistants become more integrated into our daily lives, websites might adopt voice user interfaces to facilitate hands-free interactions, particularly for tasks like search and navigation.

Joel – yes, I can see this. But I wonder if this will affect some sectors rather than others? Will it affect B2B rather than B2C? I mean, I can ask Alexa for a local plumber & happily get a quote. Bur often recommendation is key. And what about services that have a lot more buying steps in them?


Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR and VR technologies could play a significant role in website design, allowing for immersive and interactive experiences. Virtual showrooms, product demos, and interactive storytelling could become more prevalent.

Joel – yes, lots of opportunities here for certain sectors. The technology is growing and (more to the point) people are becoming more familiar with this tech. The graphical power of your modern Android and iPhones is astounding (I was brought up on Manic Miner, mind).


3D Graphics and WebXR

Three-dimensional graphics and WebXR (Extended Reality) technologies could transform website design, enabling 3D product displays, virtual tours, and more engaging visual content.

Joel – same point as above.


Dark Mode and High Contrast

Dark mode and high contrast designs are gaining popularity due to their potential benefits for reducing eye strain and conserving device battery life.

Joel – high contrast has always been a consideration for accessibility but, I confess, I’ve not considered it before in light of conserving battery life – which, of course, has an environmental dimension as well.


Accessibility and Inclusivity

Websites will increasingly focus on improving accessibility to cater to a wider audience, including people with disabilities. Inclusive design practices will become standard.

Joel – Accessibility has been important news in the web design world for quite a while. However, from experience, many companies say they want accessible websites but then balk at involving the professionals such as the Digital Accessibility Centre in Neath.


Blockchain and Decentralization

Blockchain technology might influence website design by enhancing security, privacy, and transparency. Decentralized applications (DApps) could reshape how websites are built and hosted.

Joel – hmmmm, maybe. But most clients don’t care two hoots where something is really hosted as long as the IT partner is happy with it, and the website is up & running. Yes there can be legal ramifications as to where things are hosted. That’s not to knock Blockchain etc – Indeed wasn’t it Blockchain that was the darling bud before AI stole its limelight? Personally, I’d like to see more Blockchain (especially the read-only ledger part) in use where organisations stamp why they think they have access to do certain items with our private data – sort of like an audit trail.


Data Privacy and Ethical Design

With growing concerns about data privacy, websites will prioritize ethical design practices, ensuring transparent data collection, secure transactions, and user consent.

Joel – as I mentioned earlier, privacy, data privacy etc – this is huge – and legislation is only getting tighter. It’s certainly a good thing that large orgs cannot simply scrape and store our personal data without a legal framework and recourse from the users. There is a lot of ethical considerations as well about AI and it injesting human content to improve it’s own models – fine unless the content author does not approve.


Customization and User-Generated Content

Websites could offer more customization options to users, allowing them to tailor their experiences. User-generated content and community-driven features might become more prominent.

Joel – this point was made earlier (come on, ChatGPT!) – and, as I said, customization needs to work hand in hand with privacy. User-generated content? Well, that was a hot topic many years ago – will it make a comeback, maybe.


It’s important to note that the future of website design will likely be shaped by a combination of these trends and innovations, as well as unforeseen developments in technology and design philosophies. Web design agencies will need to stay adaptable and open to new ideas to create websites that provide meaningful and engaging experiences for users.


Closing Thoughts

Perhaps I was a little unfair to ChatGPT to ask it to predict the future – it didn’t really come back with anything world-shattering (and sometimes contradictory). . But maybe this emphasises that these tools are only as good as their inputs.

I’ve worked in IT and software all my career. We’ve heard about ‘software that can write software’ for decades (heck, I was in a demo once over 25 years ago when a salesman was trying to sell the company I worked for a tool that would write COBOL – it kept on crashing – felt sorry for him), and ‘Forth Generation Languages’ (and more). If anything, experience has taught me to let the hype settle before making too wild a prediction.

…I might ask ChatGPT what it thinks 12 months from now and compare answers!


p.s. I might write a future article on some WordPress specifics regarding AI.

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