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The role of AI for web development: Reshaping the digital horizon for the better? (3/3)

The last part of our trilogy: why there is no way that AI will replace the human eye for detail in web development.

7 min read

In this trilogy, we explore the possibilities and downsides of using AI for website creation in 3 articles. We kicked off the series with a copywriting and wireframing perspective and went into detail on the influence of AI on web design. In the final part of the series, we dig deeper into the role of AI in web development. 

61% of web developers state that they use AI in their web development processes. This striking figure highlights AI’s growing influence in shaping the horizon of modern web development.1 AI is not only unlocking new levels of creativity, as we have seen in the previous articles, but it also can streamline coding and optimization tasks, increase web security, and offer a personalized online experience.

Sounds promising? Yes, if handled with care. 

Coding with AI

One of the major applications of AI in web development is in coding: AI assistants cannot only auto-complete code but also generate code from natural language or graphical inputs. Also, they can quickly identify and fix bugs in the code, reducing the time spent on testing. But they have their limits. 

“AI assistants are branded as “assistants” because they need to work with you, not for you.”2

AI tools to speed up coding

Tools like Cody AI speed up the coding process for developers, as they autocomplete codes with the assistance of AI. More, the AI chatbot provides answers to questions regarding file and component behaviors and structure, enabling developers to move forward quickly in development. 

As we know, GPT-4 is the content creation machine par excellence. Thus, it doesn't come as a surprise that it also has the potential to revolutionize web development. Capable of writing complex code in a fraction of the time it would take developers, GPT-4 can generate vast amounts of code quickly. In the screenshot below you can see a request we made to GPT-4 asking for the code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a popup of a Vimeo video:

By automating coding tasks, the use of AI enhances the speed and efficiency of web development. However, the prompt creation of web codes is not an easy task: especially if you are just starting to use AI for web development, it is likely that you spent hours on getting the result you desire. 

Moreover, AI is not flawless and AI-written code always needs human intervention to double-check, as Toni Massanet, Lead  Developer at The Branx, points out: 

“The code provided usually needs some fine-tuning, so the role of the developer is still crucial.” 

Developers have the technical expertise to revise the code and make the necessary adjustments in order to make it work. Of course, they also need to know where to implement the code and how to integrate it with what they already have.

AI for web personalization 

The history of targeted online content can be traced back to 1995: Only five years after the first web browser was launched by Tim Berners-Lee, the first cookies were implemented in the Internet Explorer by Lou Montulli, a web programmer. With the rise of cookies, marketers and developers could track user behavior and use that data to personalize their experience on the website.3 

From targeted to personalized

Nowadays, this tracking has become much more sophisticated. AI algorithms are able to analyze vast amounts of data, such as browsing history, search behavior, and purchase history,  allowing the creation of a comprehensive profile for every visitor. 

Data gathered from dwell time, clicks, and mouse movement, can be used for adapting the content to the individual preferences of each user, including product descriptions, images, and recommendations.4 This is especially relevant for online shopping and marketplaces, as they can enhance sales via custom recommendations on their web pages. 

Ethical concerns and brand personality

From a company perspective, on the one hand, AI personalization can decrease metrics like CPC; on the other hand, however, website authenticity and the overall brand personality might suffer. Content is not selected by a machine and not by a human editor who knows the brand like the back of their hand. 

“This can make the content feel less genuine and human, and it can also make the website feel less personal and less connected to the user.”4

Also, if the personalization is not relevant or useful to the user, or if it feels intrusive or inappropriate, customers can feel alienated by the suggested content. It can make the user feel like the website is not tailored to them and may cause them to lose interest in the website, increasing the churn rate.

What is more, some ethical considerations have to be taken into account at this stage: not only does this raise concerns about data privacy, but it can also trigger the so-called Echo Chamber Effect. Applied to our context, this communication studies theory means that users only encounter content that resonates with their views, limiting exposure to diverse perspectives.4 

Vitamin AI? Boosting website quality and security 

Quality assurance

In order to guarantee the reliability, functionality, and usability of a website, quality assurance (QA) is a fundamental task for developers. However, QA is not only a tedious and time-consuming process, it is also prone to human errors. By automating checks and detecting errors, AI can help web developers perform QA more efficiently.5

Website security

With the digital world expanding, cyberattacks are happening more often and are getting smarter, making website security a top concern—AI is becoming an important tool in maintaining it. Using AI-driven risk assessment can generate concise summaries for high-quality alerts and streamline incident responses, speeding up alert investigations and prioritization. Additionally, AI tools can pinpoint weaknesses and bolster defenses against cybercrime, including phishing, malware, and other malicious activities. For an extra layer of security, we at The Branx use Cloudfare: easy to set up, use, and maintain, the integration protects our web and enhances its functionality. 

Threat and fraud detection

AI systems can detect hidden data, keep an eye out for unusual data access, and notify cybersecurity experts about possible risks from anyone trying to access sensitive information. This helps save crucial time in spotting and fixing problems as they happen.

By evaluating the risk of every login attempt and authenticating users based on their behavior patterns, AI models can find a middle ground between security and user convenience. This streamlines access for verified users and decreases fraud costs.6

If we put ourselves in the shoes of the users, the extra layers of security generated by AI could be frustrating, though: two-step verification via mobile, email, or third-party applications can trigger users to bounce more easily. 

However, one important factor that should be considered is the “black box” problem. The decision-making process of AI can be opaque, making it difficult for developers to troubleshoot issues or trace back decisions. This means that monitoring and understanding the decisions of AI tools can be a hurdle for the web development team. 

AI in web development: An eye for detail? 

There is no doubt that the benefits of AI tools including automating repetitive tasks, improving code quality, enhancing website functionality, and optimizing user experience make AI an integral part of web development in 2023. 

Codes generated by AI provide developers with the basis to start with and help save time that can be allocated to more complex tasks. Nonetheless, AI is not perfect: AI-generated codes need to be double-checked, as they might be defective. Also, automated checks and decisions taken by AI are not transparent, which requires a deep understanding of not only website creation tools but also AI.

Regarding web personalization, AI also has its benefits and drawbacks: while it can be beneficial for the business's sales, it might harm website authenticity and, consequently, the perception of the brand's personality. Also, it can trigger data privacy and ethical concerns.

Summing up: How AI is changing websites 

In this trilogy, we have explored the role of AI in website creation. Recapping, the use of AI-powered tools can generate a massive amount of copy content, create wireframes and suggest designs within seconds, and automate tasks in web development. 

However, relying solely on AI-created content, websites might end up being very similar to each other in terms of layout, wording, and visuals, which makes it hard for startups to stand out from the crowd and have a negative impact on brand perception. Considering the importance of a well-structured website with excellent branded storytelling, there is a risk that startup websites attract fewer users, investors, and stakeholders. 

Thus, today more than ever, unique websites are gaining importance. 

For everyone involved in the creation of a website—copywriters, designers, developers, marketers—the ability to evaluate when the use of AI can be fruitful and when to rely on human creativity and problem-solving skills. Most importantly, they have to keep in mind the brand strategy to tell a compelling brand story on the website and to present tech startups the way they deserve.

We hope you enjoyed our series on the use of AI for websites. At The Branx, the #1 startup branding agency, we embrace AI tools to explore new creative angles and automate certain tasks. However, we structure our internal processes in such a way that we ensure the quality of the outcomes and we improve the content in a way that algorithms are (until now) not able to: we gain a deep understanding of our startups and their brand personality, talk in a unique branded tone of voice, create branded illustrations and animations, and make sure the storytelling of the websites resonates with the brand values and the audience. 

By the way, make sure to have a look at how the Vivici website turned out in the end. 

Also, check our top startup web projects of 2023 like Enlitia, Sikoia, and Andluca, and get inspired. In case you are looking to create a stunning website for your tech startup, feel free to drop us a line.

2 Springboard
3 Zeropark
4 Markettailor
5 TopDev
6 HubSpot

About the author

Tamara Hofer
Copywriter & Marketing Assistant

Tamara is our multi-lingual expert in copywriting and storytelling. She also helps with all digital marketing efforts.