The Grid: A New Way To Design Websites?
I remember developing websites when the web was just starting to take off (mid 90’s). Coding HTML by hand and using Mosaic 0.9 Beta as my browser. Over time, tools like Dreamweaver gave us WYSIWYG editors to make things easier. Today, this site is based on WordPress, one of the very successful web publishing platforms that sprung up in recent history to make creating websites and posting content easier still. Themes, plugins, widgets, and other shortcuts means you never have to see the code, or do any heavy lifting. It’s a great way to create a site, but you still need some tech skills to get it up and running. I still go into the code to make small changes to the templates and plugins, even making a child theme to keep my changes separate from the parent theme. The beauty is that once running, anyone can post content. It’s no harder than writing an email.
Switching themes in WordPress is not trivial, having done this a few times I know that the change isn’t seamless. Layout usually looks terrible and requires some effort to fix. It doesn’t help that themes have unique features (like shortcodes) that don’t work elsewhere, so you may also need to edit your posts. Further, you need a plugin like WPTouch to make the content look good on mobile devices. As good as WordPress is, there is room for improvement.
Today, I saw that a new publishing tool, The Grid, is being developed that hopes to make building a site even easier. Sites look good in any browser or on any device (desktop or mobile), layout can be changed and everything continues to look good and work well. The video below gives a quick into to the service.
The Grid harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to take everything you throw at it – videos, images, text, urls and more – and automatically shape them into a custom website unique to you.
AI sounds good, but will it actually work and produce what I want? How much control will I have over the look and feel? Are “layout filters” really different from templates? Will the automatic selection of color palette and fonts look good? Hard to say right now, you can’t create a site yet. It sounds good but it is too early to say. If you are willing to sign up now and be a founding member, you pay $8/month and that rate is locked in for as long as you use the service. One launched the service will be $25/month so I’ll take the chance that it’s something I want to use and start paying now. It won’t launch for about six more months, so it’s a $50 roll of the dice but that seems like a reasonable amount. You can also get referral credits if you spread the word and others sign up. So visit The Grid and check it out for yourself.