Review of PSD2HTML
Published by Chris Coyier
PSD to HTML Service by PSD2HTML.com is one of the sponsors of this blog, so I figured I would introduce them a little bit, explain what they do, and share my past experience with them as a customer. I'd like to say that although they are a paid advertiser on this blog, I wouldn't sing them any praises if I wasn't happy with their service.
PSD2HTML started in 2005 with a singular focus, turn designs into websites. Not only that, but do it fast, and do it well. Fast hardly even describes it, they code your design within 3-8 working hours. If you need it over the weekend or even faster, they will work with you on that as well.
Don't let the name fool you, they don't just accept Adobe Photoshop files, they will take Adobe Illustrator, existing HTML markup, or even flattened graphic files (like PNG) if that is all you have.
I just recently sent them a file to convert for me. It was a Photoshop file that was in sort of mediocre shape. The file was organized pretty well, but the design was created largely on top of a screenshot of an existing framework website. So, some of the text was rasterized. Some of the boxes and structure of the site was just in one big flat layer on the bottom instead of nice vector shapes. This didn't slow them down a bit.
Ordering from PSD2HTML is extremely easy. It all happens from a single web page. You upload your file, give them your email address and any notes you have about the design, then select from a bunch of options. These are important design choices that you can't convey easily in a static design. Things like fluid or static width, browser compatibilities, resizable fonts,
and cool add-ons like sIFR (the ability to use any font you want without sacrificing accessibility).
Prices start at $117 for single pages without many extras. Even this minimum order will get you a very nice and totally valid conversion. With my recent order, I chose to add a few things on. I bumped up to the professional package which ensures some extra browser compatibility and optimized shorthand HTML and CSS. I also added on fluid width, footer stretching, and sIFR for a few extra well-worth-it bucks.
A very short time after I first uploaded my file and picked my options, I got a response back from their team with several very reasonable questions about my design. For one, I had a series of buttons across in a row along the bottom of the site. Since my design was fluid width, they wanted to know if the buttons should stay centered, be aligned one way or another, or dynamically space themselves out as the design grew or shrank. My design also used some Lucida Grande and they wondered if it would be okay to specify Trebuchet MS as the next secondary font in the CSS since some Windows machines do not have Lucida Grande. Lastly, they had some specific questions about different elements on the page like if they should be links or not or how I would like them to behave as users enlarged text in their browser. Every single one of the questions was important and it was obvious they really cared about the quality of this site.
All of this communication happens in a special secure area of the PSD2HTML site where you can post messages back and forth between the managerial team. This is important because you aren't just communicating with a single person, but with the whole managerial / support staff which ensures quick responses and turn around. This also keeps all the communications in one place so both you and they can quickly reference what was talked about during the conversion process.
My experience with PSD2HTML has been fantastic. The results were nearly pixel-perfect and on time, despite them having to wait for me to answer questions. The code validated, made great semantic sense, was commented well, and was organized. I am a web designer and I blog about web design and CSS for a living, so I'm probably not the easiest client to impress either.
I can tell you right now I charge a hell of a lot more than a few hundred bucks to design a website. Does this service worry me as a designer? Absolutely not, in fact, I can almost use is as a tool to become an even better design business. Designing is about solving visual communication problems, not writing semantic code. Certainly coding is an integral part of being a designer and you should absolutely have a firm grasp on these things if you call yourself a web designer, but sometimes coding can become grunt work. If writing code is just bogging you down as a designer or you are on a tight deadline, I could see using using PSD2HTML as your go-to service.
I also want to quickly mention that PSD2HTML will ready your design for a variety of popular software like WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, Joomla, Pligg, Blogger, Shopify, X-Cart, CMS Made Simple, CubeCart. I've never tested their service on any of these, but if I do I'll let you know how it goes.