Review of Markup4U – PSD to HTML Services

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.

Markup4U - PSD to HTML

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.

Markup4U - PSD to HTML

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.

Communication

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.

Timeliness

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 Experience

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).

Published April 9th, 2009 by

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29 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Patrice Fiset, April 9, 2009

    Great post, I was always curious about those services. I just got the service for PSD to XHTML from a subcontractor on elance and for less than a $100, he coded 3 pages for me and even put jquery on one of them that I needed without asking him to do it. Overall, the quality was good but he did not respect the dimension at first. I told him what was wrong and he gladly made the changes.

    Thanks.

  • Catherine Azzarello, April 9, 2009

    Thanks for the info! Exactly the same questions I’ve had and the same reservations.

  • Shawn Lindsey, April 9, 2009

    Nice review.

    This is really a matter of opinion among people. I mean some places offer great quality work (code) and some people are taught to code differently.

    It really is all about how you the designer are aware of coding, and if the coder that works on your project is in the same mind set as you are.

    If you two are both on the same page and feel coding is working the exact same way then you are going to feel they did a great job, if you were taught in a different manner than your coder was then you are going to think bad reviews.

  • Anthony Blears, April 9, 2009

    First up, there’s a list of PSD to HTML conversion services here: http://snook.ca/archives/html_and_css/html_css_services/

    I’ve used PSD2HTML and Pixelcrayons in the past. Overall I’m happier with Pixelcrayons as they turn orders around much quicker than PSD2HTML. I haven’t used Markup4u yet.

    Having used these services for about 10 projects I can say that whilst they can save you time, sometimes it’s a false economy as I then have to amend the HTML/CSS to ensure it’s semantically correct, uses meaningful IDs and has the bare minimum of container divs… that stuff matters to me, but it might not to you (and certainly a client wouldn’t care).

    In addition I work with WordPress a lot and will point the conversion company to a base template and tell them to use that HTML markup as a reference point. To date none have followed that instruction properly and I end up spending far too long altering the provided markup to match my WordPress output – a rather tedious process.

  • Web Design, April 9, 2009

    I agree with Shawn, like with any programme skills whether you are coding html, css or even useing photoshop etc there are several ways of doing the same job. If you accept that something might be done differently to the way you would normally doing things then any kind of service like this is worthy, however most of us designers are a pretty critical bunch and if we are not familiar with something then it is wrong!

  • Vandelay Design, April 9, 2009

    Anthony,
    I have my own list here – http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/psd-to-html-services/

    I agree with your concerns, but the code I got from Markup4U was pretty good in terms of the issues you brought up. I honestly didn’t spend much time looking for places where extra divs could hav been avoided, so I can’t really speak on that one. That is a concern for me, but in this case I knew the client didn’t care, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

    Have you tried having the PSD converted directly to a WordPress theme? I know it costs a little more, but it sounds like it could save you some time.

  • Anthony Blears, April 9, 2009

    I haven’t tried a direct PSD to WordPress service yet.
    It hasn’t been quite right for me as I develop using the Carrington framework (http://crowdfavorite.com/wordpress/carrington/readme/) so all my WP sites start off with the same base markup which I just apply different CSS to.

    Having said that WP Coder (http://www.wpcoder.com/) looks interesting – they specialise in PSD to WP and I love the simplicity of their site.

  • agrotime blog, April 13, 2009

    Why would someone pay for such a service when you could just export their sliced up psd in photoshop as a web page and perhaps clean up the code after that point, lol. Maybe I’m cheap but I would just do it myself.

  • Patrice Fiset, April 13, 2009

    @agrotime It’s call delegation, if I am busy working for other customers why not having other people working for me? I prefer having 10 customers and making 30% profit than having 1 and making 100% profit.

  • joyoge designers' bookmark, April 14, 2009

    Nice review, thanks..

  • Steve - Eightyone Design, April 15, 2009

    I have never used any PSD to HTML services and if I am honest I have always been rather cautious of them. However, your review has made me look at them in a new light and the turnaround time is very good.

    From you review it seems that you would need to know your way around code in order to use the templates they provide. I have always kind of looked at these services being aimed at non-coders – but maybe I am wrong?

    Would you say you need to know your way around the basics of CSS and XHTML in order to use the templates?

    Steve

  • Vandelay Design, April 15, 2009

    Steve,
    I definitely think it’s best to know your way around the code. However, if that is not the case, the designer could have them build the entire site rather than just the two pages (of course, that would be more costly). In any case, it’s good to be able to work with the code and make needed adjustments if the clients wants something to be changed.

  • Marc Winson, April 21, 2009

    We use XHTMLWeaver.com for almost half year and so far, everything turns out quite good. We only need to keep 2 php guys and 1 designers in the office and the process has been streamlined as well.

  • michelle, May 11, 2009

    I want to know how exactly its work and how i can implement this tactics. i am looking for more information about psd to html services. Michelle.

  • Vandelay Design, May 11, 2009

    Michelle,
    It works like this:
    - You design a page (or pages) in Photoshop
    - Send the files and payment to them
    - They’ll send you the HTML/CSS a little while later

  • Andrew, August 24, 2009

    Thanks for this great review. we have also collected a resource of 20 best PSD to HTML service providers on the basis of basic industry fundamentals like market reputation, brand popularity, quality of work, turnaround time and pricing. You can check the list at http://www.bestpsdtohtml.com/20-best-psd-to-html-service-providers/

  • Jason, November 8, 2009

    Hi Michelle, if you are interested in choosing a PSD conversion service among the hundreds of new ones popping up each day, save yourself time and visit http://codecopia.com.

    Email us personally mentioning this post and we’ll offer you a hefty discount as well.

    We’re always looking to meet new clients and spread the word about our focus on quality coding and exceptional customer service. We’d be happy to answer any questions about the process!

  • Jane, November 20, 2009

    Good service, but bit expensive.

    I found another very affordable psd to html slicing company, with comparatively fast turnaround time, to get my photoshop designs converted into really high quality markup.

    ppl can visit them at: http://www.seo-semantic-xhtml.com

  • ngassmann, January 8, 2010

    I think either I got the lemon or you got the diamond in the rough. I submitted a job to them Dec 13 and they’re still having trouble figuring out that I don’t want them to nickel and dime me for plugins/scripts I already use.

    I gave them a detailed PSD with layers and very specific instructions saying,

    “If you compare the mockup to the current site, you’ll notice that a lot of the elements (feature slider, category nav, etc.) will be carried over into the new design. The sidebar most recent/emailed will replace the four tabbed sidebar element, but use the same PHP to populate the data. ”

    Today (3 weeks later) they sent me the following:

    “We’ve investigated the site. We’ve compared the designs and your current site – most of the functionalities present in the designs are already implemented on your site…

    The following feature is not included to your current site: most emailed block;

    We would really appreciate if you provide us with the FTP access to the whole site when we start the development as otherwise our programmers will need to manually take all the posts and install them manually – together with the plugins.”

    I couldn’t believe it. First, they couldn’t see the functions get_mostemailed(); and get_mostpopular(”);

    Then they said that if I didn’t give them FTP access they would have to “install the posts”. What? Install posts? Normally I am not one to rant, but I completely bought into the Vandelay endorsement. I WILL NEVER recommend markup4u again.

    • Vandelay Website Design, January 8, 2010

      ngassmann,
      Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. I can honestly say that had a great experience with them, although it was only for one project. From my experience and from what I have read from other designers it seems that you never really know what you are going to get with a PSD to HTML provider. Some people swear by certain providers and others have horror stories from the same provider. This is the main reason that I typically do the coding myself. That said, I will likely use Markup4U again at some point because I did have a really good experience with them.

  • ngassmann, January 8, 2010

    Same thing. Usually do it myself as well. But we had 4 projects lined up at once and I finally decided to go with one of these services. I think one of the other disappointing things to find out was that the end of their day lands right as my day starts. So the fact that they respond to me when I’m asleep and don’t get back to me until the next is probably contributing to the lengthy delays.

    Knowing that there is no representation for them in the US or UK like some of the other options out there was a little disappointing.

    • Vandelay Website Design, January 9, 2010

      I thought they had multiple shifts because I had some contact from them during my workday (I’m in the Eastern time zone, U.S.). I know that can be frustrating though as I have worked with some PSD to HTML providers in Australia and it was the same deal. One miscommunicated email and a day was wasted.

  • ngassmann, January 9, 2010

    Yea I’m not sure. If I were to guess than I would say no simply because I always get as many responses in to them by 9:30a PST and by noon i get one or two responses back before the final “Thank you for your message. We will contact you tomorrow” auto response.

  • Sandeep, January 15, 2010

    We are also psd to html service providers, our website url is: http://www.designingstudios.com

    Thanks & Regards,
    DesigningStudios

  • Burton, March 24, 2010

    It’s like pulling teeth to get a freakin quote from these guys (markup4u) … they strung me a long for nearly 10 days saying things like

    “We are proceeding with the investigation and will contact you with more details as soon as it is humanly possible, likely by …. ” never giving me a solid date

    I had others quote the same project in 5 hours…. So eventually I just asked them to forget about it. I guess they don’t need my business.

    Their lack of prompt responses and the way they kept stringing me a long rose concerns that this same style of communication would spill over into the project.

  • ngassmann, March 28, 2010

    Burton,

    We are using CodeMyConcept now on a regular basis. Haven’t been happier.

  • CodeMyConcept, May 5, 2010

    Thank you so much Mr. ngassmann

    You made us blush!