Articles on PSD-to-HTML conversion

Professional PSD to HTML Conversion and Other Questions to Sergiy Lavryk

This is Part One of the interview with Sergiy Lavryk, Chief Project Manager at HTMLcut.com. Sergiy has shared his thoughts on an ideal HTML/CSS markup, professionalism and business responsibility, where additional fees could be hidden in PSD to HTML conversion services, and some other questions.

Q.: Sergiy, could you tell us a little about yourself and your company?

Sergiy LavrykA.: Sure. I'm in the Web design and development field for about 10 years. My experience and interests embrace back-end programming (ASP.NET, PHP), front-end coding (HTML/CSS, JavaScript), and project management. HTMLcut is one of our projects launched a few years ago. Its idea is quite thoroughly expressed in the motto "Cut time and costs on cutting HTML" - you give us your Photoshop mockup and get an HTML/CSS markup coded in return.

Q.: What is an ideal HTML/CSS markup?

A.: Strictly speaking, it depends on a website, its objectives and technical background. Things that are perfect for one website may be needless or even undesirable for others.

Dark green linksYears ago, when I started my first web project, I came running to our senior designer with the question: "Which color is the best for links?" She answered: "Dark green." - "Why?!" - "When you know nothing about the website, any color is the best, eh?"

It's a joke, of course. But I learned three main lessons then: (1) Every website is unique, (2) Each detail of the client's requirements is important, (3) Any coding technique or option should be used consciously.

On the other hand, there are some typical moments. When people pay their money for coding (or any other) services they usually look for professional quality and reasonable price. No wonder - when ordering PSD to HTML conversion, you make investments in your business or life.

Q.: What about "excellent", "the best" and other adjectives in the superlative quality? Such wording isn't uncommon in advertisements of PSD to HTML companies...

A.: You are right, some advertisements out there look too aggressive and even blatant. But sooner or later (in fact, very soon) customers find out who offers loud words and who provides solid work.

Q.: OK, a markup of professional quality - What does it mean?

A.: Here we have several levels. For end-users it usually implies
(1) Neat look, reliable and fast functioning in at least main web browsers,
(2) Search engine friendliness, and
(3) Ease and convenience in the maintenance and further development and update.

The next level is a technical point of view. As a matter of course, it includes a flawless W3C-valid markup. But what sets PSD-to-HTML professionals apart is competent semantic coding and code structuring. Semantics reflects the way people (and search engines!) understand web content and is always important, unlike trendy CSS or HTML tricks which are often transient. To a large extent, it is correct semantic coding that helps to make a markup more reliable in functioning, SEO-friendly, and easy-to-maintain. But to be accomplished efficiently it requires not only ordinary technical skills but also an extensive practical experience, analytical capabilities and an all-round education. And no wonder that semantic aspects are the most difficult to automate in PSD to HTML conversion.

One more important facet of professional quality is related to professional ethics. In my strong opinion, PSD to HTML companies should be advocates of best Web practices and HTML-CSS standards. I believe that professionals should only offer professional level coding. That is why such options as W3C validity, Shorthand optimized CSS, Commenting, Table-less, SEO semantic coding, and some others are included in all HTMLcut's service packages by default and without any hidden fees.

Q.: "Without any hidden fees" - So, if a customer would like to compare prices on PSD to HTML services, she should compare orders with the same options rather than face values of service packages or figures in the advertisements, shouldn't she?

A.: Absolutely. In that way she could find out that some of the prices in the market which are nominally low are not so low in reality, simply because they don't contain essential options. And to order these options you'll need to pay additional money.

Professional PSD to HTML means no hidden fees

Q.: How can a customer of PSD to HTML services check whether the markup quality is good? Are there any ways?

A.: There are easy-to-use online validators that can serve as independent and unbiased acceptance tests. They are provided by one of the most reputed international organizations - The World Wide Web Consortium (w3.org). Just go to validator.w3.org and jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ and type your site address - and you will instantly get an answer whether the HTML/CSS markup of your website is compliant with the W3C standards or not.

To be exact, those validators don't cover all aspects of the HTML/CSS markup quality because it is difficult to automate checking many of them. Nonetheless, the W3C tests are very helpful as an express examination tool and are widely used.

One more simple but effective test is to examine a markup in different web browsers. Ask your relatives, friends or colleagues to help you and then compare results. If the website appearance and functioning meet your requirements and the difference for, for example, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome is little to no then your new markup passes this test.

Q.: Is it important to maintain W3C validity? Often websites which have lived in the Web for a while are not W3C compliant.

A.: Yes, it is true. The reasons can be various, sometimes unnoticeable. For example, a person who manages your website forgets a slash in the tag <br />. Often such an error is not critical for the site functioning and its positioning in the search engines, so it is not striking, but it breaks the W3C compliance for the XHTML Strict level. Also, if you are a fan of the newest widgets (for example, ones related to social networks) or "hottest" new features in HTML-CSS, then you should be ready that some of them may fail W3C tests.

My advice is to strive to keep up your site W3C valid and don't let your website code become weaker. Badly coded pages may be not indexed partly or even at all. On the contrary, a clean semantic HTML/CSS markup can appreciably help in evaluating and, as a result, better ranging your content in the search engines. It is more chances for a standard code that it will be interpreted equally in different browsers, operating systems and devices. Regardless of who does this work (your employees or someone else), W3C valid websites are usually more understandable and easier in the maintenance and modifying. There are a reputation bonus too - you know that your site stays "in shape" and is in line with the modern progressive trends.

Q.: I've come upon an assertion that designers are quite clueless with HTML/CSS coding and that is why PSD to HTML services are in demand.

A.: I don't like such reasoning. David Ogilvy once said "The consumer is not a moron, she's your wife." Paraphrasing these words, I'd like to say that the designer is not a moron, she's your colleague at work or... yes, sometimes even your wife. Ironically, many PSD to HTML companies are established by web designers (and our company is not an exception).

Q.: Then why do designers resort to PSD to HTML services?

A.: ...

Part 2 of the interview

December 20, 2010

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About the Company

HTMLcut.com is a PSD to HTML/CSS and PSD to WordPress, Joomla, Drupal company that has helped a lot of designers and web companies to save time and money on conversion their designs into professional HTML/CSS markups.



See also the video "Professional PSD to HTML CSS conversion":
 



Read other articles:

1. How to get the most out of PSD-to-HTML/CSS slicing services
2. PSD to HTML/CSS conversion market - A year later
3. HTML5 - The end of PSD to HTML services or just the beginning of PSD to HTML5?

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