Generative artificial intelligence (AI) continues to dominate the modern zeitgeist. Web forums, news articles, and that one cousin that tried to get you into crypto are proclaiming the wonders of AI. Their praise would have you believe that the robot revolution is finally upon us. Amidst this obsession, we were left wondering if AI can actually hold up to the claims being made about it or if the hype is equally as artificial.
We put the current lineup of AI web development tools to the test to see how they can help us improve our process and better serve our clients.
Let’s take a look at what makes an AI design tool “good” and what currently available tools can help streamline the web development process.
What Makes a “Good” AI Design Tool?
So, what exactly makes AI website design tools “good?” We're glad you asked. We evaluated six potential web development tools on three major criteria – ease of use, accessibility, and results, to determine if they are worth using during the development process.
Ease of Use
When deciding which AI website design tools are worth using, we looked for tools that were user-friendly and easy to learn. If the goal is to save time and energy, why would you want to waste time with something overly complicated?
We found that the best options will simplify and streamline the design process. If the AI tool being considered requires a Ph.D. to operate, it might be time to consider looking elsewhere.
On that note, another key feature to determine if certain AI developer tools are worthwhile is how accessible they are. Expensive tools and those that require month-long waiting lists won’t be of much use if they cannot be accessed.
With such a wide array of AI tools on the market, finding one that can carry out a set task in a timely matter and without breaking the bank is critical to determining its overall quality.
The most important factor in determining the quality of an AI tool is whether it can deliver what it promised. AI website design tools are popular because they reduce the amount of manual labor needed to make your site successful. If a tool can’t produce quality writing, images, or code, it will hinder a developer’s efforts more than help.
With these criteria in mind, let's take a look at the AI tools we evaluated and discover if they are worth your time.
AI Tools for Web Developers
ChatGPT has an approachable, simplified interface. When inputting a prompt, it’s important to ask ChatGPT the right question to get the desired outcome. For instance, when troubleshooting code, pay attention to how you phrase follow-up questions and always review the answer given before asking another question. Chat GPT has a habit of stripping/modifying working functions from the code that was previously there to fulfill/answer the most recent question asked.
ChatGPT has a free option that can be accessed by creating an account with OpenAI. This free version is available when demand is low and has a standard response speed. There is a paid version, ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 a month. This paid version is available even when demand is high and has a faster response speed. Paid members also have priority access to new features as they arrive.
ChatGPT is a great tool for writing boilerplate code and troubleshooting. You can ask a question about a piece of code you have written, and it does a good job of modifying it based on the prompt.
DALL-E 2 is a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description. The interface is intuitive and easy for beginners to use. Like ChatGPT, Dall-E 2 can be finicky with prompts. The more specific details you can give it, the better the result will be.
By signing up for a free account with OpenAI, you get 50 free credits for the first month and 15 free credits per month after that. Each image you generate costs 1 credit. Additional credits can be purchased if needed.
DALL-E 2 is a good resource for creating specific images you might be unable to find when looking through stock photography. We found that it was better suited for illustrative imagery than realism.
For example, we gave Dall-E 2 the prompt “realistic image of an elderly couple walking in the park” and the result was straight from the uncanny valley. While this tool can be somewhat helpful for creative brainstorming, don’t expect the generated images to be website ready just yet.
Fathom is a free, and easy-to-use notation program that takes some of the stress out of meetings. We found it to be a helpful tool that records, transcribes, highlights, and summarizes Zoom calls so you can focus on the conversation instead of taking notes.
Fathom has a useful integration feature and can add summaries of calls into Notion, Google Docs, Asana, Todoist, and Gmail. While it may not be a direct help to the website design process, we found that this could be a useful program for taking notes when there are a lot of edits or updates to discuss during a call.
Uizard is a developer tool that we wanted to evaluate but were sadly locked out of due to a long waitlist. The program costs businesses $39 a month. The premise of Uizard is that it uses simple text to generate multi-screen mockups for apps and websites with Autodesigner. We plan to assess this program and provide more details once we have access.
AutoDraw is a free drawing tool that uses machine learning to help make drawing and creating a little more accessible. With this tool, you can draw out a basic concept and it will create a refined version based on what it believes you are trying to draw.
AutoDraw is a great tool for sketching out ideas and can be a useful tool for web design.
Download: The Pre-Project Website Design Checklist
Streamline Web Development with AI
AI has the potential of being a versatile and useful tool for web developers. By reducing time spent on simple tasks and streamlining the overall site design process, AI can greatly improve the web development process.
If you’re asking yourself if this is too good to be true, you’re right – it is. There are some clear issues that AI faces before it can develop websites with complete autonomy. AI can be an extremely valuable tool for web developers, but it’s just that – a tool. AI, at least for now, is not a replacement for skilled developers, but it can function as an invaluable tool to help them with their jobs.
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