Published on Thu, May-10-2012 by George

PSD to HTML Conversion Best Practices

Things to consider when selecting your PSD to HTML Conversion provider

Graphic designers looking to convert their design to HTML face many different kinds of challenges. From grappling with best practices, figuring out what conversion software to use, figuring out the best course of action to take can seem like a minefield. What’s most important to graphic designers is that any conversion method– whether one is looking to simply convert PSD to CSS or even a full-fledged conversion from PSD to HTML– is that a conversion gives accurate renditions of your work in the least amount of time possible. Both conversion speed and faithfulness mean everything when working on a client’s web design.It is important that graphic designers know the current best practices in converting PSD to HTML,

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because hard work can be hamstrung by using poor HTML coding or inefficient tools. Delivering website designs quickly and efficiently can make the difference between a celebrated web design launch and losing a customer.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of graphic design conversion programs and software that have been introduced to the market. These programs vary greatly in feature sets and capabilities, and be classified under two basic categories: programs that accept entire page layout files created in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop with a direct export to HTML code, and programs that will only convert a selection of graphical elements into HTML. While both have their uses, they also have significant limitations.These conversions generate code that is completed computer-generated and not vetted by an outside system before export. The most common name for this result is “machine translation”.  So-called machine translations of PSD to HTML is similar to the machine translation results found when using an automated translation of English to Spanish text. Placing a lengthy selection of Spanish text into a language translation program does deliver results, but more often than not, the exported translation output is archaic, unnatural, or otherwise incorrect, with only the most basic of statements surviving translation intact. The same general rule also rings true for machine translation work via graphic design to HTML software: simple designs might translate accurately into HTML, but complex designs will not. Additionally, even when these programs are successful at design conversion, they will often produce bloated web pages that will be slow to load, woefully unoptimized, and have little or no structure for effective search engine optimization (SEO). More often than not, these machine translation programs end up introducing more errors than they purport to solve. This is why it is a best practice to employ such conversion applications sparingly. If you must use them, it is recommended that they be used in a limited manner. Try to do no more than generate an initial draft of the code, and then refine, rewrite, and complete the coding by hand.

That means the best way to faithfully render PSD to CSS or HTML designs is by using hands-on code. HTML, XHTML, and CSS coders have a veritable cornucopia of experience and knowledge to draw upon. In contrast to a software program, an actual human can spot and correct coding mistakes. The more complex a design is, the more knowledgeable and experienced coders are need to deliver accurately designed websites. While some design firms are fortunate enough to have experienced coding teams onsite along with the time and money to invest in skill training, maintaining coding software and the latest hardware, most design firms can not afford a full coding team. In that case, those firms would do well to consider subcontracting website conversions to an outside service as a lower-cost alternative.

You may examine the options available to you and decide to go with a third-party conversion service. If you do, for best results the following areas of examination are recommended:

How long have the coders at this company performed design conversions? How extensive is the company’s skill sets? Can they handle a wide range of formats such as vector graphics, animations or desktop conversions? Examine their portfolio. In addition to showing a firm’s past work, a portfolio can also offer an idea of whether they can create and convert functional webpage designs similar to the complexity you are looking for. If a firm does not offer a portfolio, beware.

Can the conversion group guarantee it will meet set deadlines or milestones? A guarantee here is crucial because if you have committed to delivering a final design to your client on certain date, any delays from the conversion group could derail your entire design. Whenever possible, you should check prospective groups with outside references. Independently verify their track record, and make sure they have procedures in place for keeping you appraised of the project’s progress. Doing so will make sure that there are no nasty surprise right before your deadline.

Effective coders should always follow a clearly defined process. It is important to make sure that the coder will clearly define the process used for delivering final code. Any such process should aways include open and honest communication between both the designer and coder throughout the coding conversion, as well as clear definitions of deliverables, milestones, deadlines, and outline any satisfaction guarantees.

Maintaining and respecting the confidentiality of your client’s data during the conversion is as essential as the design itself. Quite often, website design launches or design branding initiatives will also coincide with product launches, business announcements, or company-wide makeovers. Webpage designs can often contain large amounts of sensitive corporate data. Unauthorized disclosure of that data could cause irreversible harm to your client, the company’s clients, or even the entire market sector. You must make absolutely sure that the coders will maintain the strictest possible NDA (non-disclosure agreement), and that it will be guaranteed by that company.

Coding costs can make the difference between turing a profit or making a loss. Oftentimes, designers will contract a coding or conversion group at an hourly rate, or using a loose estimate, only to discover that the final bill is much greater than they anticipated. Some coding groups keep costs atificially low by sub-contracting in turn to freelancers with less experience. Make sure that whomever you enter into a contract with will give you experienced coders that will work with fixed costs and has a proven track record for confidential, on-time delivery.

PSD to HTML conversion

PSD to HTML conversion


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