When it comes to creating a great website, there are many different aspects that have to be addressed by the designers and the developers. There are image folders, a number of files, jQuery plug-ins, and the hundreds of other things associated with the site. Each person has his or her own way of organizing this information into some sort of logical sequence.
Unfortunately, a person’s organization may be completely confusing for anyone else that has to work with the files in the future. Confusion leads to frustration, which leads to war between the designer and the developer.
With some conscious effort and a little etiquette, this great divide can be closed and each side of the development process will be happy and satisfied.
Common PSD Errors
• Confusing File Names: Many people have a terrible file naming habit which consists of naming files with the words revision, final, ultimate, favorite, etc. The problem with these terms is that it can be hard to identify the file that is actually the final copy. Either come up with a sound naming system such as using the project name and then a version number so that it is very clear what came first or name one file and archive all the others.
• Conflicting Content: No one likes to do things twice. With this in mind, no developer will be happy if they have to go through and redo things that could have been easily avoided in the first place. From inconsistent colors to stock photo problems, going back through to correct errors and alter the code can be a very time consuming task. To keep this from happening often, make sure a brand guide is available to all the employees so that consistency is present. At the very least, have someone else proofread your work.
• Missing File: When working on a network, it is possible to get ready to work on a file only to realize that you cannot open it. It is extremely inconvenient for everyone involved when a PSD is located on a personal desktop instead of in an accessible location. Make sure that all the work you do is saved on the server so that other people can access it when necessary. If you prefer to save things to your desktop, set a reminder for moving your progress to the network.
• Unnamed Layers: Developers have a blast when they get a PSD with mess of unnamed layers. This is the habit of many designers, mainly because they know their files better than anyone else. For the sake of anyone else that needs to dive into your PSD, take the time to use folders and real layer names so that navigation is smoother.
• Font Issues: What do you do when an option appears on the screen notifying you that a font substitution will have to take place? Probably sigh in frustration and then move on from there. Making the substitution is not always recommended because it can be hard to match the original font, and you may not know what the designer’s intentions are. In order to prevent this situation from occurring, designers should try their best to have special fonts available to everyone. Best case scenario, all the computers will have access to the same fonts.
• Stock Photos: The funny thing about stock photos is that many of them come with a brand watermark that lets people know the image was never purchased. Watermarked images should not be in a final PSD. So, start giving attention to details.
• Be Willing to Learn: This can be applied to every part of a person’s life. It is important to realize that you are not the best web designer or developer in existence. Someone will always know more about something. Have humility and be willing to listen to advice and tips from other people. You may be surprised by how much the quality of your work can improve by learning a few new things.
• Version Control: A version control system is perfect for file sharing. These types of systems are crucial to multi-person projects. When lots of revisions and transfers are taking place, it is simply a matter of clicking the wrong thing one time and everyone involved will be upset. The version control will cut down on any critical deletions or overrides accidentally taking place.
• File Size: Do not load large files simply because you can. Smaller pictures can still have the same quality as larger files and will load faster for users. There is no reason to make users wait any longer than necessary for a page to load.
• Use Functional Names: Name your files in a way that are easy to identify. Combine description and function in the name so that you know exactly what files are being used for.
• Communicate: Do not be afraid to speak up. Communication is a two way street and as such, both designers and developers should feel at ease when communicating with one another. Not only should designers take the initiative to explain different aspects of their designs, but developers should be willing to vocalize any programming concerns regarding the design. While this may seem like a pretty obvious point, it is amazing how much information never gets passed along. When both sides of the spectrum work in unison, the entire process will be much smoother.
As more people are combining the designing and development aspects of website creation, it is easier to address the issues experienced by each side. Whether you have taken the time to learn more for a freelance business, or if you simply wanted to expand your skill set, you will be more apt to understand your coworkers. Hopefully, as both sides begin to better understand the other, harmony will set in.