How AI will change the way we understand the user experience on websites

Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how is going to reshape the future. But this future may be closer than you expect and will have significant impact on many business and how we understand the customer experience.

Image from the movi Big Hero 6, where AI is used for... let's say healthcare.

Many years ago, having a website was a big deal. When I started in the digital business, you had to know how to code in HTML. The revolution came when software started to come out that allowed you to design websites using predefined modules. In the 2010s we started talking about responsible websites. But for a long time Flash design was everywhere. I remember those oversized images or banners that took up most of the home page of the website. And you had to scroll down for a while to access real content. Finally, HTML5 banished Flash and ushered in a new era, and new social media platforms pushed brands to stop worrying so much about their website, as they could approach their customers in a better and more direct way.

Nowadays almost anyone can create a website. Sites like Wix, 1&1, Shopify or Squarespace offer you the ability to design and launch your own site in a matter of minutes, allowing you to sell and manage your customers in one place for an affordable price. For example, Wix offers an ecommerce solution for less than 20 euros a month, including payment management, custom branding and the option to work with coupons. And this is just an example. Many other sites offers similar prices, so technology is no longer a limitation for your business.

In the last years we have been seen another revolution. Some pages have introduce visual and voice search. Chatbots are almost everywhere these days and we can access much better analysis on our users and how they behave on our website. But, once more, the arrival of AI seems to change everything again.

At the beginning we could seen some AI to improve the usage of the chatbots to create better analytics. AI technology is also used to personalize images and content. Let’s have for example how Netflix personalizes the movies and series it recommends to you, and how your profile looks completely different from your partner’s profile. Even images from the same series are different.

In the near future, AI technology will be able to fully personalize a website to specific users, based on their preferences, their previous searches and what they are looking for at that specific moment. Let’s imagine the following scenario. I recently purchases a new pizza oven. If you have been following this blog for some time, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m a foodie. I’ve been doing pizzas for many years, trying to improve my technique and make better pizzas. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the same results as the professionals. With time, and a lot of YouTube videos, I realize that I would never be able to get the results I wanted with the oven we all have at home. Basically, they don’t reach the temperatures needed to make a good pizza. It doesn’t matter if you use a stone and heat it up hours before doing your pizza. This may work once, but if you want to make more than one pizza, you’re doomed.

One day I discovered that there are some pizza oven for “home chefs”. I find that saying home chef is nicer that saying “amateur”. These ovens are a simplified version of professional ovens that normal people can use at home. I saw the light at the end of the pizza tunnel. I did some research and found some good options. In my case, I went for the Ooni Koda. But if you too are a pizza fan, there are many other options available on the market.

If you visited Ooni website right now, you will find a nice and well design website. You can basically find all the information you need on the home page. But now imaging that you have AI-driven website. The first time I visited their website I wasn’t really interested on accessories, recipes or other stuff. I wanted to know how the product looked like, how it worked and, at the end, how much it cost. It took me many days, going back and forth, visiting the website and looking for videos on YouTube, trying to figure out if it was worth the money. And this information could have been provided to me by AI on my first visit.

Also, I wasn’t the same user when I revisited them, after the purchase. Then I wanted to know more about how it works, but I also wanted to check if my pizza recipe was good or if I should try another one. On my last few visits, I was looking for some accessories. But every time I went on their website, I found the same content. I was the one who had to dig through all the information and find what I wanted. AI will change that.

In the future, a website will be able to personalize my experience and offers me, immediately, the content that I need for each specific moment. Of course, this may sound too futuristic, but it’s on its way. AI is already working to offer design assistance, providing recommendations to web developers and UX experts. Adobe is working on such solutions with Sensei. AI can already predict future actions and possible purchases by analyzing customer behaviors and interactions. AI can perform faster A/B test and provide valuable information to improve your site within seconds, instead of days.

Soon we will find AI-powered websites that can be fully personalized. Companies are investing in machine-learning to improve search recommendations. And examples like ChatGPT demonstrate that AI can interact with users to provide them with the right answers and the solutions. In this way, users will spend less time searching for the information they need and we can spend more time engaging and interacting with them on the topics that are more relevant to them. Sooner rather than later, we will have completely personalized websites, where AI will adapt the design, content and the way we interact with users.

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