You are a busy designer that just finished your latest design and are now at the point you need to convert the design to HTML/CSS. While you do not mind doing this, you know that your time is better spent putting all your effort into your design work. At this point you determine your only option is to find a PSD to HTML service and have them take care of the coding.
Now that you have made the decision to outsource the coding phase of your project it is time to find a company that provides a quality service. Doing a search returns many results. You see companies like Markup Service, PSD2HTML, W3 markup. and many, many more. This decision process is going to be much more difficult than you first expected. Do you choose the cheapest? How about the fastest or the one showing several positive testimonials? The choice is going to be tough.
So what should you look for when trying to decide on a PSD to HTML coding service? Keep reading and I will give you the information you need to narrow down your choices and make the decision much easier.
Experience and Expertise
You do not want to trust just anyone with your design, so it is important that the service you choose has coders with experience and expertise in converting designs. Choosing a service that does not may mean sacrificing elements of your design because the people you hire may or may not know how to make it work in HTML and CSS. You can learn a lot about the companies you are interested in by thoroughly researching their websites. Most companies will list their workflow process and answer any questions you may have about how your design will be converted. Can not find the answers you are looking for? Do not hesitate to email them and ask. Emailing them will also help you gauge how responsive they are. If you send them a pre-sales question and do not hear from them for days this is a red flag and a strong indication that you want to avoid doing business with them.
Quality of Code
Quality goes hand in hand with experience and expertise, but there are a few important factors you really need to look at.
The first thing you want to confirm is whether or not the company sticks to web standards. You want clean, semantic code that is easy to read, not something that looks like it was hacked together by someone who does not even know what HTML stands for. Most services should have examples of their code for you to check out some place on their website. Take a look and make sure that their examples meet your quality requirements. If they do not have examples available on their site, email them and ask for a few. Most will be happy to provide them. You can also inspect the HTML and CSS of their actual website, is the code neat and tidy or sloppy? The answer to this question will go a long way with either eliminating said company from your consideration or putting them on your shot list.
After you find the code looks good you want to take a closer look at the examples and see how or if the code is commented. Commenting the code is very important as it will allow you to easily tell what each section does and confidently make any changes to the code you may require in the future. If the company does not comment their code or gives you some story about why it is uneccessary because of their intuitively named classes and IDs, strike them from your list. Frustrations are the last thing you want when modifying the code in the future and that is what you will get if the HTML and CSS are not commented well.
Finally, you want to find out about cross browser compatibility. You know your customers needs, so make sure the company you choose will ensure that your design will work well in the browsers you need it to. As much as we hate to admit it, there are still a lot of people out there who use Internet Exporer 6. If you are told by a conversion service they do not code for IE6 and you need to make sure your design degrades gracefully, scratch them off your list. Do not let another company dictate the needs of your customers. There are plenty of quality services out there that can and will accomodate your request.
Unless you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffett the price of the service is important. Typically you want to avoid the cheapest services in addition to the most expensive, unless these services come with a great reputation and/or recommendations from someone you trust. If that were the case you would not need to read this article though. Anyway, the bottom line is price is important. Some services have overly complex pricing structures, if you have questions about how they price their services make sure you clear these up before placing an order with them. Many other services have a straight forward order page where you know exactly what you are paying for, PSD2HTML’s pricing page is a great example of this with prices for a standard web site as well as many popular content management systmes like WordPress and Joomla.
Two questions to ask yourself here are: How fast do you need it; and Is the price for a quick turnaround worth it? Remember the old adage, speed, quality, price, pick two. Most services will have approximate turn around times listed right on their site. Take the company htmlBlender, you can quickly find on their site that they can have you site ready to go in a little as eight hours. Remember, planning ahead will allow you to choose the right conversion service and give them ample time to do their work without having to worry about how quickly they can get the job done.
You run a serious business so the level of technical support you get is very important. Check out what types of support are offered and what the hours are. Ideally the company you choose will have several different ways to offer you support, such as phone and chat support. Do not be afraid to test these support methods before you buy. You do not want to be left high and dry after the company delivers your coded design.
In addition to support, make sure the service you purchase is guaranteed. It is important that you are 100% satisfied with the outcome of your design. If you are not satisfied, do not feel bad about exercising the clients guarantee. With that said, it is good practice to try to work with the other party to resolve any issues you may have with their work before you request a refund.
What are other saying?
Finally, and most importantly, find out what others are saying. Do not depend on the testimonials they post on their site, afterall they probably are not posting the thoughts of disatisfied customers. Asking around on your favorite web design/development forum is another way to get some feedback. I just did a little research for each of the services I mentioned in the opening and found that PSD2HTML has 538 reviews on their Google Products page with a majority of them 4 and 5 stars, while I was able to find reviews for the other two it pales in comparison.
Using the information I listed above should give you a good start at finding and narrowing down your list of potential services. It may seem like a daunting task at first but I assure you that you will be rewarded for doing your due dilligence. One last thing I want to stress is that you should never assume something about a service. If you are not sure, contact them. This way you will not get a rude awakening when you award the project and your assumption was wrong.
Good luck in finding the right PSD to HTML company to code your next design. Be thorough in your search and I am confident you will not be disappointed.