The Grid relies on AI algorithms to help you create a website tailored to your specific target audience.
- Easily integrate analytics from multiple social media platforms
- Edit your site directly through a mobile device
- Manage multiple sites from a single dashboard
- Requires no coding experience from users
- The speed at which Molly chooses a palette is impressive
- Completely backwards dashboard runs contrary to most UX and UI principles
- Very limited control over your finished project
- AI capabilities not up to the task at hand
There's no doubt that the objectives of The Grid are ambitious. While there's a huge market for software and platforms that simplify the website development process, most of these still require a fundamental level of design sensibilities for their users. Eliminating coding through the use of traditional buttons and menus and the inclusion of templates can go a long way towards demystifying the web development process, but The Grid takes it quite a few steps further. The Grid's AI, dubbed Molly, claims to be able to automate the website design process with minimal input from the user. In practice, the results are a mixed bag, but they could presage a promising future for the relationship between design and artificial intelligence. What The Grid promises is a big deal. Design is an inherently creative process, but the people behind this site claim that their algorithms can boil down the aesthetic appeal of a website into a sort of raw calculus. This is blatantly apparent through The Grid's most basic feature. The palette selector is the first thing you see when you start working with The Grid. While you're allowed to determine your site's palette for yourself, the default option is to let the site pick it for you. Based off a picture you upload, it will choose a five color palette that allegedly represents the ideal branding for your company. Given how subjective aesthetics can be, it's a hard notion to prove, but whatever methodology the site uses, it impressively sorts through millions of color combinations in lightning fast time. Once you've determined your color combination, you're directed to your main dashboard, and here's where things get messy. For a site that seeks to automate the creation of thoughtful and appealing sites, their central dashboard is perplexingly counterintuitive. For starters, The Grid gives you little direction on how to proceed from the start, a worrying sign for a website builder where the AI assistant is the major selling point. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that the buttons themselves are obfuscated. Using icon grids for a developer require these buttons to be iconic, so users can quickly identify their use and rely on them instinctively. The UX and UI of The Grid are a struggle rather than an incentive, and without any guiding instruction, users are bound to spend more time learning the ins and outs of the interface as they are building their site. There are no templates to draw from when working in The Grid, and they seem so confident in the algorithms on which Molly runs that there's little user input available. Essentially, users upload content which are then run through the algorithm, partnered with the chosen color palette, and blended together as a finished site. There's little options for alteration once the project is finished, and the sites themselves are rarely sophisticated. While there's much to be said for what Molly manages to do based off of artificial intelligence alone, the end product is proof that creativity can't be faked, and the technology available just can't account for the range of factors that go into a great site's design.