I have an idea of doing web layout mock-ups in house, getting clients to review/decide on a design, and then outsourcing the PSD to HTML/WP conversion of the homepage to a third party, and using that as a template to complete the site. Is this a feasible way to build websites, or am I overlooking/oversimplifying anything?
Creating a website from a PSD is like building a house from an artist's sketch of the front - you won't get a good website out of it. If your business model is based on being dirt cheap, aimed at people who don't know or care about quality then it might work ... but if you want to be seen as a reputable company doing high quality work then outsourcing anything is a big risk, but especially so in this case.
Thanks for the response, Stevie.
With regards to the quality, if the conversion site I am using promises 100% compliant code, I vet them and go with someone reputable, and I use high quality graphic work, what would be wrong with the site? I would never outsource to a client without knowing the quality work I am getting them.
I am by the way not against cleaning up code as necessary, but I feel that outsourcing markup in this way, especially to a reputable company, is extremely efficient.
Thanks again for your insights. I am trying to find a way to do this without sacrificing quality, and advice is extremely helpful.
If the only value you are really adding is the design part, why not just specialize in that? Do what you are best at.
A website is much more complex than a static image, which is what you get with a PSD. There are levels of interaction and variation that it's difficult, if not impossible, to convey purely with a picture. That's what I mean by building a house from an artist's sketch – you might know how what he wants the front of the house to look like, but you don't know how to set the rooms out, where he wants the plumbing and wiring to go, you don't even know which windows he wants to be able to open. That's why architects produce detailed multiple technical drawings showing all these 'hidden' details. It's much the same with a website. Unlike a printed page, your website should be able to flex and flow in different setups and on different devices, it shouldn't matter if people use a different sized window, or different fonts – the website won't look exactly the same but it still needs to work. And if all you're giving your code-writers is a flat image, you're relying on them correctly guessing how you want the site to work, and that's a good way of getting a site that doesn't live up to your expectations.
I agree with this, but what if the service I'm using offers cross-browser & cross-platform compatibility? If it was really an issue I could just do fixed-width layouts. Also, couldn't I minimize the "artist's sketch" drawbacks by explaining the expected website functionality in great detail to the coder? Surely there must be some way to make this work.
Fixed width layouts are not ideal, particularly in a world increasingly filled with tablets and mobiles with a whole array of screen sizes.
Yes, it is possible to spell out in more detail how you want the interaction and adaptation to work, and if you have a good relationship with the coder and you know you can trust them then you may well be able to make it work. You just need to be really careful that your confidence is justified, because if the client is paying you for the work and you've outsourced it, you're responsible to the client if it isn't up to scratch, and that isn't a good position to be in.
There's nothing inherently wrong with outsourcing, but you need to be very aware of the potential dangers around losing that element of control.
I agree with the above advice, and keep in mind that if outsourcing web development was as easy as you are hoping that it will be, then every designer would just outsource the development piece. Unfortunately that isn't the case, so be careful and cautious and don't over promise based on what you expect from an outsourcing team!
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