Sarah Parmenter’s article I can’t design in the browser has set off a buzz in the web community about designing in Photoshop. Give the article a read before going farther.
The web is a convoluted place of influence. Print design gave rise to language HTML and XML are based on and the heavily influenced CSS, and with that influence opened the path for many workers to make the jump from print to screen. With them can much-needed knowledge of proven tactics, and battle hardened tools.
The issue stems from what a person learns first, if they learned developing before design then they have the issue I have, so developers becoming designers raise your hands and slap your forehead. People of design learning developing; so we have a nice internal developer vs designer melting pot that is the website-making-person community. Don’t frown at that term, if you have a better all-inclusive term leave it in the comments.
While I do not have the same problem as Sarah, I have an equally aggravating one. The exact opposite, I can not design a webpage in Photoshop. Going into detail it is the opposite of Chris Coyiers’ issue, because I get extremely focused on structure in the program. I’ll easily spend half a day fiddling with grids and trying to fix every detail of a content-less object to pixel perfection in mental anguish knowing a client is just going to throw a super-sized image in it and break it the day of shipping.
The ideology is not the same either. In HTML everything is a box, a rectangle with 4 sides. Even the things you think you put out side the box, are still within a box themselves, referenced in location to a greater or lesser box. A single character of text is a box to measure everything else by, a pixel is a box on a screen, within the box that is the document, a span is a box on a set of lines that define the height and width of a box within a div, or object set to
display:block the big daddy of all boxes.
Everything is a g0$!@#m !@#$ing box and Paul Irish’s post on using the global selector to enforce a proper box-sizing model just highlights it. So to the guys at MyStream don’t feel bad, its suppose to look like that, that’s why we have Photoshop.
I draw up structure in Photoshop and use those measurements to make a custom framework for all my projects, within that I work out my inspiring elements, then it all goes to Google Chrome. I use Chrome as a pseudo-IDE, in conjunction with NodeJS and Notepad++. Using Chromes development tools lets me express my thoughts and just slide objects around in a manner similar to Photoshop.
But then again I don’t use Photoshop, I use The GIMP, now that may just be my problem right there.
Now my main point is the tool is not the product. In my experience with customer service and my education in UX I have learned as long as it works and works well it does not matter how the solution is arrived at, on top of that the solution has to be easily repeatable and any upgrades to the process have to be as equally if not more so ‘magical’.
Yes ‘magical,’ as in the end-user has no understanding of the underlying processes or logic to the steps they are taking to use a product or service beyond its intended use; for which they will measure frustration by accomplishment of end result and not actual difficulty in using the product. Any upgrade to product or service, in our cases websites, must not be any more time-consuming than previous versions else the creator or provider of service/product will suffer extreme backlash, which the consumer will have little recollection of should they accomplish their goal in hindsight.
In conclusion people do not care how you do it as long as you do it! And as a community we as website creators should not be critical of people who use other methods that work equally well. These are quirks due to educations coming into a quickly developing field. There is no right way to do anything yet, just best practice. A website could be masterfully floated, adaptive, and in pure css, but no who really matters, the end-user, will really care if it’s that or a picture with a bunch of absolutely placed boxes,… I mean objects.
Personally clients that use me will get a CSS file with documentation, more design oriented people will ship a PSD with well labeled layers. Clients of mine that ask for PSDs I charge extra, then go and chop up my site with a screenshot. I’ve learned the hard way to not compromise my art and craft, neither should you Sarah, design in Photoshop to your heart’s content and teach others how.