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AI or Agency? The pros and cons of a human touch vs artificial intelligence in web design

AI in Web Design

Your organization’s website is a critical marketing channel. It’s the first impression many customers have of your business and it plays a vital role in building your brand, creating awareness, nurturing and closing sales. Many times it is a primary way to delight your existing customers, upsell, and retain them as well.

The design and development of your website can mean the difference between attracting and engaging customers or losing them to competitors. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), there is a new debate over whether to use a traditional agency partner or AI for website design and development.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros, cons, innovations, and compromises on offer here.

What is AI in Website Design and Development?

AI is short for artificial intelligence. This is a groundbreaking technology that harnesses the power of algorithms and machine learning to carry out tasks that were traditionally performed by humans.

When we’re talking about web design and development, AI platforms such as Wix ADI and Bookmark have emerged with the ambitious goal of automating the entire process of building websites. These innovative platforms provide users with a plethora of pre-designed templates to choose from, as well as an array of automated features and convenient drag-and-drop functionality. By incorporating these advanced tools into their workflow, individuals can, seemingly, streamline the otherwise complex process of creating a website.

Using AI in website design and development can undeniably revolutionize how businesses approach the creation and optimization of their online presence.

Pros and Cons of Using AI for Web Design

The benefits of using AI for website design and development

So let’s begin with some of the pros. Using AI for web design and development offers several key advantages, including cost-effectiveness, speed, and efficiency. By leveraging AI technology, individuals and businesses can create visually appealing websites without traditional skills or breaking the bank.

Benefits of AI

In addition to being cost-effective, AI-powered web design platforms also excel in terms of speed. Traditional website development processes often require extensive back-and-forth communication between designers and clients to refine the layout, colors, fonts, and overall aesthetics. Conversely, AI tools streamline this process by offering pre-designed templates or utilizing machine learning algorithms that swiftly generate customized designs based on simple prompts.

Using AI eliminates the need for skills like coding knowledge when designing a website. This ensures that individuals with little technical expertise can easily navigate through the platform’s intuitive interface and effortlessly bring their ideas to life online. Even those who have never designed a website before can leverage these powerful tools to create professional-looking sites within minutes.

The benefits of engaging a specialist agency for website design and development

When it comes to designing and developing a website, agency partners have distinct advantages over using AI. One of the key benefits is the personalized attention to detail that agencies can provide. This is the human touch. Unlike AI algorithms, human designers can carefully consider every aspect of your website’s design, requirements, and goals, tailoring it specifically to your brand’s needs and preferences.

Specialist agency partners bring a deeper understanding of brand identity to the table. They take the time to consider your company’s values, mission, and target audience in order to create a website that directly achieves your goals at every level. This level of understanding ensures that every element on the page, and every line of text, aligns with your brand image and effectively achieves your goals.

Additionally, agency partners possess specialized expertise in UX/UI design. User experience (UX) plays a crucial role in determining how visitors interact with your website and ultimately impacts their decision-making process. It’s not just about making the site look good. With their knowledge of best practices for creating intuitive navigation systems, effective messaging, engaging layouts, and seamless functionality, agencies can optimize user experience on all fronts.

By choosing an agency partner for web design and development you’re relying on real human skills and not artificial technology. There are layers of intangibles. You gain access to real knowledge, human experiences, and meticulous attention to detail tailored specifically for your brand identity along with valuable expertise in UX/UI design.

Benefits of an agency

While there are undeniable advantages to employing AI in website design and development when it comes to cost-effectiveness, speediness, and enhanced accessibility, the basic decision ultimately boils down to individual needs and priorities and whether you want to take your web presence to the next level in some way.

The Current Limitations of AI in Web Design

The Human Element

As mentioned, AI has made significant strides in many areas, but it falls short when it comes to strategic thinking and planning user experience for a website. AI, in its current form, lacks the ability to understand the nuances of human emotion, empathy, and creativity – elements that are at the heart of building a compelling user experience. These aspects require a deep understanding of the target audience, their needs, behaviors, and emotional triggers, which is something that only humans, with their innate emotional intelligence, can provide. 

An agency partner, with their team of experts, can strategize and design a website with a human touch, ensuring that the website is not only functional but also emotionally resonant with users. They can anticipate user needs, create engaging content, and design a customer journey that feels intuitive and satisfying. This level of user-centric design and strategic planning is currently beyond the reach of AI. 

Generic Design

One of the major limitations of AI in web design is its tendency to produce generic designs that lack creativity and uniqueness. While AI platforms have made significant strides in generating visually appealing websites, they often fall short when it comes to creating something truly distinctive. This can be a problem for businesses looking to establish a strong and unique brand identity online.

Lack of Customization

Another limitation of AI in web design lies in its limited customization and personalization capabilities. Although these platforms offer templates and predefined styles, they may not provide enough flexibility for businesses with specific branding requirements. Customizing the website’s layout, color scheme, typography, or overall aesthetic becomes challenging within the constraints of AI-driven systems. Sometimes the results simply miss the mark.

Lack of Features

AI struggles when faced with complex requirements and features that are essential for certain businesses. Whether it’s integrating specialized functionalities like e-commerce platforms or building intricate navigation structures tailored to unique user experiences, current AI technologies often struggle to handle these advanced demands effectively.

While AI has shown great potential as an automated tool for designing and developing websites efficiently, it still has room for improvement before fully replacing specialized agency partners. The ability to create truly innovative designs that capture a brand’s personality and meet specific business needs remains an area where human designers and developers excel over artificial intelligence algorithms.

Comparing Cost and Value: AI vs Agency

When considering the cost and value of using AI platforms versus partnering with an agency for website design and development, it is important to recognize that while AI may appear cheaper initially, opting for an agency should be viewed as a strategic investment in your business as well as a huge time saver.

Real, Tangible Value

The true value of working with an agency lies in their ability to deliver a unique and professional website tailored specifically to your brand identity and aligned with your specific business needs — and they do all the work.

Choosing to build a website using AI may seem like an enticing option, as it offers the promise of convenience and cost-effectiveness. However, it is important to recognize that opting for an agency partner to design and develop your website can provide numerous advantages and value over relying solely on AI technology.

Time Savings

As mentioned, one crucial aspect to consider is the amount of work involved in building a website — even when you’re using AI. With this approach, you are required to handle all aspects of the process yourself. From articulating a strategy and planning the navigation to designing the overall user experience, every step falls under your responsibility. This means investing significant time and effort into understanding how the software functions and utilizing its features effectively.

Content Creation

When building a website with AI, you must also take charge of content creation. This includes planning out the written material, ensuring its accuracy through proofreading, formatting it appropriately for online consumption, and optimizing it for search engine visibility (SEO). These tasks demand not only content strategy and writing skills but also knowledge of SEO best practices.

Quality Assurance

Testing for any issues or errors within the site becomes your duty when relying on AI technology alone, and AI is rarely error-free. Without professional guidance from an agency partner’s expertise in quality assurance processes or comprehensive testing procedures, identifying potential flaws might prove challenging. Moreover, overlooking these issues could potentially lead to negative user experiences or even damage your brand reputation.


Launching a website involves more than just designing and developing its features; it requires careful consideration of various factors such as domain registration, hosting services, server configurations, and content management systems. By partnering with an agency, you can leverage their expertise in navigating these technical aspects smoothly.

An agency partner will have a deep understanding of the intricate details and hurdles involved in launching a website properly. They have honed their skills through years of hands-on experience and staying up-to-date with industry best practices. This knowledge allows them to anticipate potential roadblocks or challenges that may arise during the launch phase and proactively address them.

Real human engagement and project management

Agencies excel in coordinating and engaging different stakeholders involved in the process. From initial planning to launch, they orchestrate a cohesive effort among all parties involved.

In addition to delivering a visually striking website tailored specifically to your requirements, agencies also provide ongoing support and real human engagement throughout the entire process. From the initial consultations and discovery process to ongoing support, you will have access to highly skilled professionals who will guide you every step of the way.

The future of website design and development

Human and AI Collaboration

As the future of website design and development evolves, a fusion of human expertise and artificial intelligence (AI) is set to shape the landscape in unprecedented ways. Ideally, it’s going to be a collaborative effort. Professionals who have honed their skills in project management, strategy, planning, content creation, design, UX/UI, programming, and launch will join forces with intelligent systems to collaborate and achieve next-level outcomes. By combining the unique strengths of humans – such as strategic thinking, deep human experiences, empathy, and innovation – with AI’s efficiency and automation capabilities, a powerful alliance will emerge.

The future of AI


One key aspect where AI tools are poised to make a significant impact is their ability to analyze vast amounts of data swiftly. This analytical prowess allows these tools to uncover valuable insights that can enable humans to make better decisions. Gone are the days when you had to rely solely on intuition or limited user feedback; now you can leverage AI’s data-driven approach for more informed decision-making.

Faster and Better

It’s important to note that AI is not a bad thing to embrace. Its incredible speed empowers designers and developers alike by automating certain tasks that were once time-consuming or repetitive. Humans can stand on the shoulders of AI and eventually work in collaboration to get things done faster and better. With increased efficiency brought about by automation technologies like machine learning algorithms or natural language processing systems, professionals can focus more on higher-level creative endeavors instead of getting bogged down by mundane responsibilities.


In the end, it’s up to you regarding the path you choose. Hopefully, the information provided here will help you decide whether an affordable AI-generated site is for you. You may also decide to work in collaboration with an experienced team of web design specialists who will handle all aspects of your project for you. They’ll deliver a website that’s uniquely positioned to achieve your specific goals. Or, if you have the time, skills, and patience to create an effective website using AI, you can choose that route as well. 

Good luck with the path that you end up choosing. If you have more questions or need advice please contact us at Sanctuary.

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About Luke Wagner:

As Sanctuary’s Website Developer, Luke Wagner works behind the scenes on our websites to ensure that they are functioning as they should. But if they aren’t, rest assured that he’s up for the challenge to find a quick solution. He is extremely motivated to keep developing his skills and growing in the world of web design and development.

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