Here is an interesting perspective: the internet itself is one of the largest, if not the largest, collection of consumer-created content. We all use the internet, and the majority of us participate in creating content for it as well, be it simply through updates on social media or actually creating websites or blogpost such as this one. If we follow that logic, then one could argue that the process of creating web content is a service that could be designed to optimally support co-creation. This is exactly the way the Grid looks at the internet as well. This start-up is building a new way to create websites and content, by focusing purely on the simple needs of the content creator.
So what exactly is the Grid? In its simplest form, the Grid allows website owners to only concern themselves with the content they want to put on their website, the Grid will take care of the rest. And for this ‘rest’ part, the Grid has designed an artificial intelligence system which will analyse the content you would like to place, and designs your website optimally according to both the new and already existing content. It for instance looks at colors in a picture you want to post and then changes the colors surrounding that picture on your website to match them. It will adapt to the purpose of your website as well, be it a blog, corporate landing page or a webshop. Basically, as a website owner you do not have to posses technical and design knowledge to be able create content. And this is important, since this allows more people to actually create content. As is also mentioned in the paper by Randall et al. (2005), when customizing goods (or a website in this case), some user might be able to deal with parameter-based interface, where you can adjust every detail but do need to posses some expertise to understand all the details, however not everybody is capable of this. For them, need-based interfaces are better, which might not offer all possibilities but are a lot more user friendly. The Grid is basically a needs-based interface for content creation.
The Grid’s A.I. system basically makes recommendations to improve your website, 24/7. However, while in normal recommendation system these recommendations are made as suggestions, the Grid’s A.I. skips this step and executes the recommendation right away. In order to do this, there has to be a certain level of trust between the user and the system. Due to the Grid continuously running A/B tests in order to find the design best suited for the visitors of that specific website, the Grid’s A.I. learns and builds that trust relationship.
Now what the Grid is doing is really interesting, as it’s a completely new way of looking at website creation. However, it also makes me wonder about the next step. Perhaps in time, it might be possible that every website customizes itself to a specific visitor. For instance, if your computer knows you have bad eyes, or like pictures, your websites will be displayed with larger headings or with more focus on images. In a sense, you would create a personalized internet. Food for thought for sure.
For more info on the Grid, check out this website.