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The purpose of psdtolife (http://www.psdtolife.com) is to convert Photoshop Documents into complete web layouts. However, it doesn’t appear to be quite ready for the public, causing confusion for possible customers.
I’m going to review this in my ordinary fashion, with my initial experience fully written followed by my suggestions for improvement at the end of the post.
Masthead! MacBooks sold separately.
The first thing I notice about psdtolife is their massive masthead that rotates between MacBook Pros with images of websites on their displays.
I did not immediately identify what the purpose of these images were, but admit that I soon realized they were previous works done by the psdtolife service. There is no header above (or within close proximity) to reveal the purpose of this imagery, and the screenshots of the designs are so scaled down to fit into the MacBooks that it’s hard to really take anything from this area.
Despite the largeness of it all, I don’t find myself put off by it as a user. I quickly see the title of the site “psdtolife“, a slogan that reads, “bringing your PSD to life”, and understand that this is a service that converts Photoshop Documents into website layouts. Someone who has no experience in Photoshop may not understand this (ie: Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, Fireworks users…) — but this is probably not a problem unless the target audience may include non-Photoshop users.
Visuals at a Glance
Everything looks quite nice. The design clearly lays out the content, and is overall very nice on the eye. Speaking visually, the site is attractive.
The content area is divided into a two-column layout, with decent sized text (though I’m not ecstatic about the choice of Times New Roman as the type family — if using a serif font, “Georgia” tends to be a fantastic choice for Screen media). Both columns are spaced nicely, and once again, things look nice.
I skip over most of the content and my eyes are drawn to a three-column area within the content. This area shows the process of how psdtolife works, split into design, send, and relax.
I like these sorts of things, because they quickly tell me how something as a whole works, and invites me into the process. There are no links in this area that actually help me get started with psdtolife though. I go back to the masthead (skipping over the “Sign Up” link which I didn’t notice till later) to find navigation that might lead me in the right direction.
Pricing looked like the best choice, so I clicked there even though I would have rather clicked a button that said something like Get Started, or something of that nature. The “Pricing” page presented me with two packages, but didn’t let me select either package from there. Instead, I had to click the Sign Up banner at the bottom of the page…
A Contact Form in a 404’s Clothing
“This bit’s still under construction”
My initial thought was that this could be a 404 Error or something similar. A page with the same masthead (which is actually getting frustrating at this point since it takes up so much space) and a header that tells me what I’m looking for isn’t there generally is not an inviting page. Since this is all that shows above the fold, I’d be very tempted to just give up at this point.
Scrolling down reveals a contact form. At first I think to myself, “Ok. They just don’t have their full system up yet. I can still send in my design and they’ll code it for me.”
But there is NO way to upload a file. If I want to give this service my work, that’s a must for me. Apparently psdtolife is not open for work quite yet? If this is the case, it’s quite confusing that there is portfolio work, and a complete site ready for viewing.
At this point, I have little interest left in the site, take a look around some of the other pages, and check out.
Alright, so that’s how the run-through went down. Now onto the things I’d suggest for improvement.
The Masthead is the first thing that needs tweaking. As pointed out, it’s huge. That’s not so bad so long as it’s only so large on the homepage. Other pages on the site could have it shrunken down, or even taken out entirely. A label would be a nice addition above the slider, just something that quickly explains what it’s showing (perhaps with a link to more work). I’d also suggest losing the MacBooks which seem unrelated, and increase the size of the works without the extra click to enlarge them. As a viewer, I appreciate thumbnails being able to tell me a whole story without needing to click them.
Every page seems to lack a <title> attribute. “psdtolife” doesn’t cut it. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that good page titles are very important for many reasons:
- They tell me where I am if a page header fails to do so for some reason
- If searching the web, the title is typically used as the search result
- It helps Search Engines index you more accurately (by extension making your site more usable for search engines, which are then used by people)
- If I bookmark this site for later, the title is used by default
The slogan, “bringing your PSD to life” isn’t bad, especially if the only target audience is Photoshop Users who want to convert their Photoshop Documents into Websites. It could be better, or more information could be provided. Explaining above the fold (even right next to the top left banner) that this service takes Photoshop designs and turns them into working websites may help out.
Speaking of the banner, it doesn’t link to the home page. It should.
There is a lot of Happy Talk taking over the content on psdtolife. My advice is to ditch as much of it as possible, and focus more on calling users to action. Of course, there is not really a working submit form at the time of this review — but when there is, more emphasis should be the actual process of submitting a design.
The current Calls to action on the site seem to lack contrast from the rest of the content. Making them bolder, warmer, or just having them pop out more may help users find their way to the Sign Up form.
“Times New Roman” is not usually a good choice for Screen Media. If a serif font is being used, a good alternative is “Georgia“.
The three-phase process on the front page is great. So great in fact, that I’d consider moving it to the top of the site. Something like this quickly explains the entire purpose of the site, how to use the site, and quickly invites me to get started. Adding numbers to each phase would make the visual connection a bit stronger, and adding links to get started would make it near-perfect.
If it ain’t working, fix it. Keeping a site online that is only somewhat functional doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you must do so, make it abundantly clear that the site is currently undergoing maintenance on every page so that potential customers aren’t quickly driven away to never return.