I recently had the opportunity to use the services of Markup4U, a company that offers coding services for designers. There are no shortage of PSD to HTML service providers, and from a designer’s perspective it can be difficult to know who you should hire for these services. Over the past year or so I’ve received a number of emails and comments from designers who were looking for a quality service provider in this area. I thought it would be useful to review Markup4U’s services here so that readers can get a better feel for them and how they work.
For full disclosure, this is not a paid review, but I did get some services in exchange for the review, although that will not affect the opinions and information shared. In this review I’ll cover my impressions of the work that I received from Markup4U, their level of communication and timeliness. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share screen shots of the site that was coded due to privacy issues, but hopefully the information provided will still help you. Markup4U coded two pages of a client website for me, the homepage and one secondary page, which I then used as the foundation for other secondary pages.
This was my first experience with a PSD to HTML service. I’ve always done the design and coding of my projects for various reasons, partly out of habit, partly because I didn’t know who to choose, and partly because I thought it would be inconvenient to work with someone else’s code.
Quality of Work
If you pay attention to PSD to HTML services and what designers think about their experiences with these providers, you’ll see a really wide variety of opinions. Some say they love the work that was done for them, and others complain of poor quality code and unprofessional service. I know I’ve read completely opposing comments about specific service providers.
With conflicting information like this out there, it’s hard to know who you’ll get quality work from. Personally, I question the legitimacy of the blog and forum comments about these types of services, because many of them seem to be fake. That means that designers will be hesitant to trust anyone that they do not have personal experience with. This is one of the reasons that I have been hesitant to use PSD to HTML services, but Markup4U is one of the companies that seems to have a very solid reputation.
I was very pleased with the quality of code that was provided by Markup4U. One of the first things I did was to validate the HTML and CSS, and both passed with no problems. As an independent designer that works primarily on small projects, it’s rare that I work with someone else’s code, other than maintenance on other sites, which isn’t something I do very often. This is one of the reasons I have hesitated to use PSD to HTML services in the past, because I figured it would take time to see what the coder was doing and time would be wasted finding what I wanted, particularly in the CSS file. However, this was a very minor issue on the site that Markup4U coded. The code was very clean and well-organized. The CSS file was very easy to understand as it was commented and divided into a few basic sections. Classes and IDs were named logically and easy to follow.
As is the situation any time you are working with someone else’s code, there were a few things that I would have done differently, but those were only issues of personal preference and a matter of my habits, not issues of bad code.
To get the process started with Markup4U, you first submit a form on their website and provide the PSD files to them either by upload or by providing a URL. I was pleased to get a response from Markup4U within about 30 minutes or less of submitting the form. That email presented a few questions to me on some details that I didn’t specify when I submitted the form. The communication was brief, but it covered everything necessary.
After I responded to this initial email I was given an estimated time of completion, which was later that day. I wound up getting the files back from Markup4U about an hour before the anticipated completion time, or about 5 or 6 hours after I submitted the design.
Following this there were a few emails back and forth due to a change that the client had requested (something that was not part of the original design) and Markup4U responded quickly and helped to get everything completed.
The only criticism I have with the communication from Markup4U is that I would prefer to have the name of the person I’m working with so I can address them in my emails. The messages that came simply said Markup4U Team at the end. Overall this is a very minor issue, and I know they have legitimate reasons for operating this way. All of their communication was prompt, professional and helpful.
If you compare PSD to HTML providers you’ll see that some of them promise very quick turnarounds, and others will charge higher rates if you need it done quickly. Markup4U offers a turnaround time of one business day, plus up to one business day for each additional page. As I mentioned earlier, the code was provided to me in less than a business day, which I was very happy with. Obviously, it takes time to code a site, and quality is more important than getting it back instantly. That being said, Markup4U provided a good balance of both quality and speed.
Overall I was very pleased with the service I received from Markup4U. Although I have always been hesitant to use PSD to HTML services, this was a very good experience and I am sure I will do it again. It saved me a lot of time and allowed me to make better use of my day. I can certainly feel comfortable recommending Markup4U to other designers, and in fact I am sure I will personally use their services again.
For those of you wondering about the details of what Markup4U offers, the base price is $145 with a 50% discount for each additional page. They also offer coding for WordPress themes (you can contact them for a quote based on your needs).