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General Discussion

Nick Pettit
STAFF
Nick Pettit
Treehouse Teacher

PSD to HTML is Dead

Hi everyone,

Many students have asked me for a PSD to HTML tutorial on Treehouse, and there's not really a short answer as to why we've never done it. I decided this needed to be answered in a more articulate blog post. Here's the link:

PSD to HTML is Dead

Here's a short excerpt from the article:

PSD to HTML tutorials are all over the web. In fact, many people have asked me why there’s not a PSD to HTML tutorial on Treehouse. In addition to the tutorials, there are lots of companies that will accept a PSD and convert it to a webpage for roughly $100 USD.

If it’s so popular, then how can I say that it’s dead? Well… I wish every web design quandary could fit into a poetic 140 character tweet, but this is a fuzzy issue that demands a more articulate explanation. Let’s dig in.

Read more...

9 Answers

I'm from the guys who cant start coding right away, i need to have an image about what i'm building, and also Photoshop is more popular than the wire-framing apps you mentioned. Well, it's up to the designer.

Richard Feinburg
Richard Feinburg
2,970 Points

I start making websites in the mid 2000s and I could never understand why would anyone would use Photoshop to layout there design as in I was always an Illustrator person when designing a website. Even though this post is about slicing up images and using shadow drop and add a little coding to get it work for the browser. I was always glade I never use Photoshop for this.

People gets too comfortable with the visible part of web design and not in the coding part of things even though it's harder to be a good designer then a good coder.

Leandro Severino
Leandro Severino
12,674 Points

you just don't know what you're talking about

John Fortune
John Fortune
6,446 Points

I come from an advertising background and I can attest that a fully realized photoshop design is vital when selling work to clients. Clients in my field are used to seeing work that is as closely realized or "finished" as possible. I can't tell you how many times, when presenting wireframes, that clients were completely lost until they saw the comp.

Richard Feinburg
Richard Feinburg
2,970 Points

I completely understand that. I was talking about I use Illustrator as my design layout program. I would design a completely realize site with Illustrator because of the structure it has over Photoshop. My big problem with design a website aka look is that it may not work when coding it out. I have seen so many example of people designing a website with Photoshop and you would have to do so many hacks and work around to make it look like the PSD file.

I was always a person that if you can't code your website by hand then you're not really a web designer or can call yourself as one when selling yourself. A lot of graphic designers that I know would not type up any code and use Photoshop to design websites and sell it to customers that they can also do web and print. Just by two cents of the subject. :-)

John Fortune
John Fortune
6,446 Points

I wasn't necessarily commenting on your process. If it works for you, more power to you!

Richard Feinburg
Richard Feinburg
2,970 Points

Sorry, I should be more clear of what I mean. I'm not talking about Design a website (visible look) in Photoshop is bad. It should only be the stopping part of the website design. Once it's design in Photoshop or Illustrator then the designer/coder should jump into the coding program and use the Photoshop or Illustrator file as a referrals.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

John Fortune -

> I can't tell you how many times, when presenting wireframes, that clients were completely lost until they saw the comp.

There are a lot of good posts about how to better sell and set expectations with clients. This is one of my favorites on the subject http://daverupert.com/2013/04/responsive-deliverables/

John Fortune
John Fortune
6,446 Points

Awesome! thanks for the link

I stopped exporting images from design about a year ago I just have the icons and logos in as images now. Maybe a background if need.

missgeekbunny
missgeekbunny
37,033 Points

After reading the post I have to agree. There is more to the web design process than the high fidelity markup and translating it to html and CSS. Having an image will help the client get the idea of the basic design but just a simple take the picture, splice it up, and code it doesn't cut it anymore with screens ranging from about 400px to over 1000px.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

My favorite quote about this is from Harry Roberts of csswizardry.com ...

A PSD is a clue not a contract

I remember designing websites in Photoshop, than Illustrator, than Fireworks... and back to Photoshop. It's what clients expected and it was the best way to make it look really good to get approval. It seems slicing .psd's died along with table layouts, painful photoshop typography replaced with web fonts, css3 gradients, shadows and masks, and even photoshop filters can all be seen in the browser: http://html.adobe.com/webplatform/graphics/customfilters/cssfilterlab/.

Photoshop is a great way to manipulate pixels but less and less of a website consists of raster graphics these days (icon fonts, .svg's, data URI's etc.). It's a little unnerving for visual designers to see this critical tool lose it dominance, but there is hope of new tools (like http://macaw.co) that get designers more accustom to what type of design decisions are overly complicated to produce in code.

The problem of getting a design approved still exists. For this I feel that high fidelity working prototype using Axure 7 (kind of the agency standard now) works better, is easier to iterate on and communicate requirements to a development team. If they client expectations call for many different looks or directions I would offer them small custom designed treatments - like http://styletil.es/ Even animated banners don't require Photoshop thanks to Google Designer: https://www.google.com/webdesigner/

So yes PSD to HTML is dead but that doesn't mean pixel-perfect visual design dies along with it. It just means a more evolutionary, iterative, prototype versions approach more akin to development actually. Maybe it's a good thing if more people (clients, users, developers) get to be involved in the evolution of a design and not only see it when it's perfect. Gosh sorry this is so long, I need to stop being so long-winded on comments.

If you want good design and somewhat unique/artistic website you definitely need start with photoshop (or anything else) and make in css stuff like solid colors and gradients, shadows and so on. But what if you want to use texture? Better to try it before you start coding. Alot of "in browser design" websites look the same in my opinion. Some of theme look like... well nevermind.

This is why I'll never take graphic designers seriously for as long as they continue doing this. That and Adobe Muse, the code markup, makes you want to gag. I'd rather a properly coded site with near minimal graphic design than some slick layout. Thankfully they are teaching more about typography and usability now than how to be an expert with photoshop and illustrator.