Mobile website builder Universe launches AI-powered designer

Universe, the no-code mobile website builder, announced today that it’s launching an AI-powered website designer in beta. The designer, called GUS (Generative Universe Sites), can help anyone build and launch a custom website from their iOS device.

Once you get started with GUS, you will enter the familiar Universe grid editor. Instead of starting with a template, you start a text conversation with GUS to begin creating your website. GUS will start by asking: “What kind of website would you like to build today?” Once you give GUS some initial details about the type of website you would like to build, GUS will ask you for a bit of information about what exactly you’re looking. For instance, GUS may ask if you have a specific design or color scheme in mind, or if you have an idea of how many pages you would like on the website.

After you give GUS details about your vision for the website, GUS will create a layout for you. The layout is completely editable, as you can manually change things without having to touch any bits of code. For instance, if you want to change an image that GUS selected, you can go in and swap it with a different one. Once you’re happy with what you see, you can go ahead and publish your website.

“When we set out to develop what would ultimately become Universe, our mission was clear – to empower anyone to build the internet,” said Universe founder and CEO Joseph Cohen in a statement. “Generative AI lets us do this at an entirely new level: just tell GUS what’s in your mind and it’ll build it for you. Now, everyone on our iOS app can try the GUS beta. We hope we can give everyone the confidence and design support—from tattoo artists to general contractors to students to pragmatists to visionaries—to claim their corner of the internet with the computer they already carry around in their pocket every day.”

The GUS Beta is currently available to all users who update their Universe app on iOS. Universe plans to bring the experience to the web in the near future to give users without an iPhone or those who prefer desktop the ability to access GUS.

Universe’s new tool is similar to one launched by Wix earlier this month, which is called the AI Site Generator. The tool allows users to describe their intent and generate a website complete with a homepage, inner pages and text and images — as well as business-specific sections for events, bookings and more.

One of the main ideas behind both companies’ products is to help small and medium-sized businesses launch and maintain websites to drive sales, which can be a challenging process. For context, a 2022 survey by Top Design Firms, a directory for finding creative agencies, found that nearly 27% of small businesses still don’t have a website and that low traffic, followed by adding “advanced” functionalities and cost, are the top challenges they face with their website.

Of course, the products aren’t only geared and marketed towards business-owners, as they can be used by anyone to create a website easily.

“Universe continues to champion inclusivity and accessibility in web design, and GUS marks a significant milestone in this journey,” Universe wrote in a press release. “With its AI-powered capabilities, GUS opens doors for individuals from all walks of life to bring their creative visions to life on the digital canvas.”

Founded in 2014, Universe has raised $47.3 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase. The company raised $30 million in December 2021 as part of its Series B round from Google Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners, Box Group and more. Universe closed a $10 million Series A from Google Ventures back in April 2020.

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