Over the last few weeks I have been playing around with Stable Diffusion, an AI image generation tool similar to Dalle-2.
It is a whole lot of fun. You can create images in a wide variety of styles, from illustrations to photo-realistic images.
So is it possible to use AI image generation tools like Stable Diffusion for web design? Let’s find out with a series of small experiments below.
Website Wireframes & Mockups
Web designers don’t have much to worry about here for now.
Mockups created by AI image generation tend to be of very poor quality, usually looking like bad WordPress templates from 2012.
Let’s try to make some character illustrations, the kind you might see on a SaaS website.
Some of these were quite interesting and not unattractive – but I don’t think they are usable.
Can we create some usable button designs?
AI isn’t very good at creating attractive button designs – and for me often seems to generate rounded mobile style buttons and icons.
Let’s try to create some site icons, such as a website’s checkout icon.
The images we got back here were certainly ‘interesting’, but a user would struggle to make sense of them.
Blogpost featured images
This is one area where AI image generation could be useful potentially: creating featured images for blog posts.
Although it wouldn’t necessarily be easier than using stock photography, it would result in unique images.
Can AI image creation be used for web design? Probably not really.
Or at least not in a way that it is efficient – it would be faster to use stock photos and illustrations in most scenarios.
It can take a long time to generate an image close to what you are looking for, and in all tests we ran UI elements and other things needed for general purpose web design would usually come out looking just a little too weird to be useful.
There are absolutely some opportunities out there to come up with creative ideas for AI-based web design fun, experiments, and probably some really cool micro-sites and projects.
But for making day-to-day websites for clients, with current technology as it is – AI image generation is in our opinion unlikely to play a fundamental part of the web design process.