Usability Review:

While psdtolife ( is visually pleasing and explains it's purpose quite well, the incomplete feeling of it all may leave potential clients confused and searching for alternatives.

While psdtolife ( is visually pleasing and explains it’s purpose quite well, the incomplete feeling of it all may leave potential clients confused and searching for alternatives.

Our Initial Impressions - bringing your PSD's to
Andrew says:

The first thing that I notice is the color scheme; it’s quite inviting. I do think that it’s very subtle and yet effective. It’s monochromatic, which isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of design, but it’s effective. I think that the site is clean and playful.

David says:

On my first visit it takes me a few seconds to understand that this is a service that converts Photoshop Documents into website layouts. Someone who has no experience in Photoshop (ie: Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, Fireworks users…) may not understand the meaning of PSD — but this is probably not a concern if the target audience does not include non-Photoshop users.

Matthew says:

As I browse over the homepage of psdtolife I understand this site offers PSD to HTML conversions. The home page is a bit cluttered and I am struggling to create a path. I want my eyes to establish primary content from secondary content. What is the most important here?

Redd says:

The first thing I see when I go to PSDtolife is a rotating computer screen animation, which appears when clicked on to be some kind of ad, next to the words “Bringing your PSD to life”. The problem with this is that I don’t know what PSD stands for.

What confuses us

Andrew says:

Because I am a developer/designer myself, I immediately wonder: “what technologies this site is using to get from comp to code?” There’s no mention on the first page of what the code-base/CMS will be generated from the designs submitted.

The repetition of the MacBook image gives the portfolio a cheap feel. I try and learn more. I click on an image and a popup takes over my browser window. Because I am familiar with a javascript lightbox, I’m not too perplexed. If someone didn’t know what was going on this would most definitely initiate a click of the back button: something that should be avoided. I would much rather see a dedicated portfolio page.

The portfolio at the top of the page is a bit cumbersome and repetitive.

David says:

When I arrive at the Sign Up page, a header tells me that whatever I’m looking for isn’t there, or is still under construction. Since this is all that appears above the fold, I’d be very tempted to just give up at this point as a possible customer.

Scrolling down reveals a contact form but there is NO way to upload a file. If I want to give psdtolife my work, this would be 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. This is easily a 4 star site in my opinion if the case were otherwise.

Matthew says:

As a user and prospective client I am looking for a more of your work. I have seen the rotation in your header. I have seen screen shots. This company is supposed to bring PSD’s to LIFE though. The images in the header only show me static designs. I wish there was a portfolio page with links to sites they have coded.

Redd says:

It looks like this site is unfinished. There are several references to a “Client Area”, but it is nowhere to be found. The footer is also a lot of little links close together that could benefit from being cleaned up a little.

What We Like

Andrew says:

I like the idea of psdtolife taking the complicated task of bringing a website to life and reducing it down to three discrete steps. I think that the simplicity has immediate appeal. Unfortunately, as someone who builds sites, I think they may be doing themselves a disservice by abstracting out how rigorous the process can be.

psdtolife's 3-step processpsdtolife’s 3-step process for turning a Photoshop Document into a website is simple, and inviting.

Lastly, On the pricing page, psdtolife uses ‘checks’ and ‘crosses’ to indicate “yes” vs. “no”. While the difference is subtle, it results in a table that is much easier to scan. Our eyes pick up on a difference in icons/colors much more quickly than a difference in words. A little information design touch like this makes this table exceptionally usable.

David says:

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.

Matthew says:

I like the basics of the site and feel once the development is complete this site will be nice. The colors are pleasing to the eye and I enjoyed exploring the site.

Redd says:

I really like the design of this site. It is very clean and pretty. I enjoyed the color scheme greatly. I look forward to this site being completed, and when all the links work. The design could use a little tweaking, but it is a very aesthetically pleasing site.

What We Suggest

Andrew says:
  • Remove the portfolio from the top of every page. Consider moving it to the sidebar and then giving it its own page. This way it’s still persistent, but not too repetitive.
  • Make it clear what languages you develop in.
  • Provide resources for potential clients to understand how to design a site, what hosting a site entails, and how to be good content managers after the site is launched. Help them from beginning to end.
  • Make the links in the sidebar more closely resemble links. A good hover state is a start, but consider making them more obvious by underlining them.
  • Consider adding a FAQ page for questions regarding the process (albeit three steps) that may inhibit your conversion rates.

David says:

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

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.

Times New Roman” is not usually a good choice for Screen Media. If a serif font is being used, a good alternative is “Georgia“.

Matthew says:

As I click on the “Get started here” button I am brought to a new page. Singup.php seems to be a contact page and as I read I discover the site does not seem to be complete. This bothers me. A company that is trying to make money by converting PSDs to websites for people is not fully designed? Well, I guess I’ll give it a whirl anyway. I have filled in the contact form but to my surprise there is no field for me to upload my PSD.

What if I was a customer who was used to a typical website of this nature that allows clients to upload documents? Am I supposed to await a reply before I send you my PSD? Well, fine.. I’ll try. I have filled in my name and all fields in the contact area and tried THREE times to send my email to you, all three times I see “Error! Please select what this is regarding”. This is frustrating, I have tried all the options from the “Regarding” tab of the contact form and have gotten no emails actually sent! Is this a temporary error?

Redd says:
  • Don’t have the large header with rotating computer screens on every single page. It’s frustrating to scroll past.
  • Make sure that headers don’t look like links unless they actually are links.
  • Make sure you define what “PSD” is somewhere on the site to avoid confusion.
  • Have the “psdtolife” text at the top of the site act as a home button.
  • Either remove the items from the site that aren’t ready yet, or clearly explain that they are “under construction”.
  • Make the pricing links go somewhere, even if it is just to a “contact me for pricing” page.
  • Take down the Skype and Email statements and replace them with “contact form” until they are actually ready.
  • Clean up the footer.

About the Author

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  • Scorpiono Reply

    Am I the only fan that comments around, all because I’m old buddy of Matty? Anyways, nice review.

    Scorpiono recommends:
    Check out and copy the structure as much as you can, they look very professional. The color scheme is nice, so keep it that way, just work a bit on the layout placement.

  • David Leggett Reply

    @Scorpiono: You’re not the only one, but we really like having you around mate :) Especially because you call Matthew, “Matty”. is pretty well known, and nicely done. I’m even more of a fan of which cuts right to the chase, and has a wonderful order form.

  • Matthew Kammerer Reply

    Oh boy. Nick name throwing. Haha.. Thanks for commenting, Scorpiono :).

  • Scorpiono Reply

    Yup, I think is better. Plus a better portfolio if you’d ask me!

  • David Leggett Reply

    @Scorpiono: We don’t compare portfolios, but the fact that there is a working portfolio is a very good thing (as many, if not all of us suggested in our reviews).

  • Simon Vallee Reply

    Not sure if it was intentional, but I love how the LSD era-inspired heading font plays into the service’s name and description. Take LSD and your PSDs will come to life, it seems to be saying.

  • Tom Ross Reply

    I’ve been reading this site for a little while now, but haven’t bothered to leave a comment – until now! You guys had some really valid points, but from a designer’s perspective quite a few things still bothered me. A lot of the visual elements that should be eye-catching and important to the user weren’t because of very faint/washed-out imagery. Contrast and boldness is so important in a design, even if you are going for the subtle or faded look. Also I thought the laptop images were pointless as the screenshots are too small to really judge their work at all.

  • Matthew Kammerer Reply

    @Tom Ross: Thanks for the comment and for stopping by! I agree, every time I start to do a review I think design elements and bite my tongue. I think a few of us are like that. I have found once or twice there is a way to tie design into UX though :). I hope to hear more from you!

    @Simon Vallee: Haha, that is an interesting perspective.. I wonder if anyone from PSDToLife noticed that or if it would affect their clients conscious or subconsciously.

  • David Leggett Reply

    @Tom Ross: I pointed out those same things in my full review Tom. My biggest concern for them is that the calls-to-action blended in with the rest of the site despite the fact that they were larger. More contrast should be added to enhance those elements.

    Thanks for your added insight folks. Always nice to have new faces here at the UX Booth :)

  • Rachel Nabors Reply

    Looking under the hood of this site, I’m very disappointed in the quality of the CSS. Sure, it may validate, but what good front end designer puts the same class on every paragraph in a distinct section instead of using a div? Comparing the code of this site to W3-markup is like looking at night and day.

    • Andrew Maier Reply

      Are you talking about our code for UXBooth (coded by me!), or for If your comment is regarding psdtolife: We don’t generally inspect the sites for accessibility (without styles or read by text-to-speech programs), and I never thought to do a stylesheet review :)

      If your comment is regarding uxbooth, please let me know where you’re speaking of and I’ll look into it!


  • Sergei Shiryayev Reply

    If I were them I would use the three step graphic as the entire homepage. It would be simple and to the point without all the other gibberish going on. Other than that, their menu is lackluster and and I am not too fond of the color-scheme.


  • Juarez Filho Reply

    A lot of good points. This review is great. I hear about this site from Clearleft guys and I’m really enjoying it.
    I think psdtolife have some troubles in their markup. It’s complicated to a service that provide this kind of thing. :(
    Nice job guys. Keep movin

  • Janko Reply

    Great review, a lot can be learned from it.

    p.s. I like your comment form :)

  • PSD Cutups Reply

    I don’t agree with copying anyones design…some people here are saying load websites and copy their layouts.

    Although it is important to observe design trends, its not right or smart to copy a layout….

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