PSD to HTML – An Essential Step in Website Development

WEB DEVELOPMENT | June 7, 2017

PSD to HTML has been the heart of website development for many years, now. The PSD to HTML workflow was once one of the most popular and creative ways to build websites. However, today designers suggest this method is slowly fading away as new styles in web designing are rapidly emerging. This article aims to discuss why PSD to HTML was considered a great idea and what’s wrong with it now.

What is PSD to HTML?

PSD to HTML is a process where the web pages are first designed in Photoshop or other similar image editor such as .PSD (Photoshop Document) files, and then converted into codes using HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step breakdown of PSD to HTML:

Step1: Design a high-quality web page layout in Photoshop of your intended web design.

Step 2: Use Slice tool to divide the image and then export it to the web.

Step 3: Write HTML or CSS code that will use the PSD files that you exported.

During its early years, this process was seen doable since it was challenging to start coding without knowing what the result may look like. Hence, trying out different design in Photoshop first, and then coding sounded like a more practical method.

Taking this concept further, many Web Design & Development companies applied PSD to HTML as templates for team workflow. In other words, one team would create PSD mockup and then a second team will write all the codes. Although in modern times, the job of a web designer has managed to comprehend aesthetics as well as CSS and JavaScript coding.

Was PSD to HTML a good idea?

PSD to HTML workflows once was one of the best ways to design websites.

The first reason of this is creating image assets. Today, browsers support all modern features of CSS such as gradients, rounded corners, and drop shadows. However, in the previous browser versions, it was very difficult to add these effects without the use of pictures, and so designers would create shadows and gradient as images, and then place them on the page using coding tricks. These image assets must be made no matter what, so creating them using image editors as high fidelity mockups saved time. Before the development and pervasive adoption of CSS, many websites were just a collection of image assets.

The second and most important reason why PSD to HTML was a good idea is that web wasn’t available for phones or tablets. The Web used to be available only on desktop and not for any other device like it is today. So designing images for just one permanent resolution i.e., 1024×768 was viable.

For these reasons, designers used to look up to Photoshop as major web design tool.

What’s wrong with PSD to HTML now?

When put against other areas of technology, the Web is relatively a younger medium and evolves rapidly. Developers had made websites using variations of PSD to HTML, but it’s time to move on. The main reasons why people think that PSD to HTML is dead are:

Responsive Web Design

There are now countless methods for browsing the internet, such as, Smartphones, desktops, tablets, smart watches, and televisions. There is no specific screen resolution that designers can target. In fact, there is no specific number of screen resolutions you can “target” now. Since Photoshop is pixel based, creating the same pages in hundreds of different resolution is not possible.

CSS Design

New features in CSS have become common now. There are some minor challenges, but browser support has tremendously improved in last several years. Customary effects such as gradients, rounded corners, and fallback shadows can be achieved with CSS, and don’t need image based fallback anymore.

Maturity

The web industry has also grown a lot. Most organizations prefer designers who are willing to take responsibility of aesthetics as well as CSS, HTML, and JavaScript code.

It is still a dream for web designers to create ready-to-use websites with one simple tool only with as fewer codes as possible. The first attempt in this trend was Adobe Dreamweaver.

The next significant step was Flash, still widely used that allowed the designers to reliably produce fabulous design work with either little or no programming. And if a designer could muster the spirit to learn a little bit of Flash’s ActionScript code language, well then, almost anything was possible”.

Another popular way to design websites now is WordPress. With the help of WordPress community, you can create websites even without any HTML or CSS coding.

The list of these tools and software is never-ending. Each one differs in approach, idea, and features, but has one or another shortcoming. However, PSD to HTML has become obsolete and cannot be used for web building purposes anymore.

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