Wix promises AI website design, but fails to deliver true artificial intelligence

Wix's new automated design functionality is helpful, but it doesn't match the definition of artificial intelligence

Wix promises AI website design, but fails to deliver true artificial intelligence
Minh Dat Tran

The world, or at least the world of technology, is fixated on buzzwords. Call it laziness, or call it simply a great way for companies to build context for their customers and prospects. Either way, buzzwords aren't going anywhere soon. And right now, "artificial intelligence" is the buzzword en vogue. I get dozens of PR pitches a day that promise to apply AI to dog walking, laundry services and enterprise resource planning.

Today's example comes courtesy of Wix, a website development platform. Wix's cloud-based web development platform allows users to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites using online drag and drop tools. So, what place does AI have in Wix's industry? According to Wix, AI is going to help its users eliminate the most significant challenges they face when building websites: time, design and content creation.

According to the briefing materials, Wix enables this through the data it gathers from the experiences of its more than 86 million users. The idea is to blend AI, alongside human design sensibility. How Wix achieves this is by asking a few questions of the user at the outset and thereafter curating content according to the answers. Essentially it takes the millions of different combinations and permutations of layout and design and delivers what Wix believes is the best option for the particular user's situation.

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Using Wix ADI, users can have the system develop the website completely or use ADI as a guide and do it themselves. Once the website is completed, users can customize the themes, edit text or add images, sections and pages.

“Wix ADI is an advancement that has been under development for years, and we know from our deep experience and extensive research that there is considerable demand from individuals, designers and businesses all over the world for exactly this type of solution,” said Nitzan Achsaf, head of Wix ADI. “Wix ADI isn't just a new website builder. It sets a new market standard for web design. We have been at the forefront of this market for nearly a decade, and now as one of the leading AI technology providers, we will make website creation accessible and easy for everyone.”


From the outset, I need to say that giving users some functionality that makes it easier for them to customize their website to their particular requirements is really useful.

But just because something is useful, it doesn't mean it passes the test for accurate application of a particular buzzword. And in this case, I don't see anything even remotely like AI in this release. AI is when a system not only performs manual tasks, but can, over time, learn from its own actions and the response to those actions and continuously improve what it does. While Wix makes it easier to design a website, it seems to do it through a series of questions and answers and a matrix, albeit a complex one, which defines outcomes based on the answers to those questions.

Recently I made a comment that technology vendors, rather than trying to purport to be cool, should simply be honest about who they are and what they do. If Wix had come to me with an announcement talking about how they make the website design process easier with some simple automations, I would have been interested and felt that the product matched the pitch. In this case, however, Wix seems to be gilding the lily—something that is sadly common.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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