Reviews Archive

20 Gorgeous Examples of E-Commerce Done Right

20 Gorgeous Examples of E-Commerce Done Right

E-commerce sites are notoriously busy and overcrowded.

Today we’ll be examining a ton of online stores that break this trend by being both functional and attractive. Each of the examples below has a unique lesson to teach us about good e-commerce design. Let’s get started!

January 21st, 2010 Posted in Business, Graphics, Inspiration, Layouts, Reviews
20 Mac & Windows Apps for Desktop Blogging

20 Mac & Windows Apps for Desktop Blogging

Every blogging platform has a built-in blog editor, some better than others. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find an online editor that can offer the richness found in many desktop applications. Features like offline editing and posting to multiple blogs at once make desktop solutions a must have for professional many bloggers.

Here’s a list of 20 applications that allow you to create blog posts from the comfort of your operating system environment, no internet connection required.

December 2nd, 2009 Posted in Reviews
OnmiStar Mailer Review

OnmiStar Mailer Review

Omni Star Mailer

There are a huge number of different tools for email campaigns available; Emma, Campaign Monitor and MailChimp to name a few. Today I’ll be looking at a longstanding piece of email marketing software with a whole range of tools, Omnistar Mailer. It differs from other software in that it is hosted locally on your server.

January 27th, 2009 Posted in Reviews


PSD2HTML ReviewFor several years, PSD2HTML have been the primary sponsor of Design Shack. We don’t like to suggest a service to you unless we have tried it ourself to ensure that it’s worth a recommendation. A recent addition to our network of sites, 13 Styles was in need of a redesign and I took the opportunity to use PSD2HTML’s service and document the process.

This article will be more than a straight forward review of PSD2HTML. We’ll be considering the basic idea of these type of services and considering when, and for who, they are appropriate. Honesty will be foremost, and I hope that you will gain a real insight into using a PSD to XHTML tool.

PSD to XHTML Services

PSD2HTML are one of the first companies to provide this service (you can see their original press release), but there are a huge number of competitors in the area today and a Google search for “psd to html” brings back over half a million results. Here is a table summarizing the main players in the industry (a more in depth list can be found at Most Sliced):

Service Price ($) Time (days)
PSD2HTML 153 to 211 less than 24h
Slice ‘n Diced 279 to 399 3-6
The Choppr 149 3
XHTML iT 119 1 day or less
XHTML Slicer 200 to 350 1-3 days
XHTMLGenius 250 3
XHTMLized 249+ up to 7 days
We’llcodeit 199+ 3

We’ll be focusing on PSD2HTML, taking you through the process and showing you the final resulting design.

The Process

The ordering process at the site is very simple. There are several options available, starting with either a basic or professional package. We opted for the professional, as semantic, search engine friendly coding was a must have. Other optional additions are:

  • Flexible width
  • Stretching the header and footer
  • Rollovers and dynamic menus
  • sIFR flash replacement
  • Commented CSS and XHTML code
  • Load speed optimization
  • Integration with CMS software (e.g. WordPress, MT, Drupal, Blogger, CubeCart)

PSD2HTML's Client Area

After submitting the order, we were contacted at the start of the following working day with a request to clarify some of the features in the submitted PSD file. By the end of that day, some 7 hours later, the markup was provided through their online ticket system. The speed of the turn around was incredibly impressive – it would take even an experienced designer far longer than 6 hours to code a relatively complex site such as the one we submitted. If you need results quickly, this service would seem to be a great resource.

Speed isn’t the only factor, however. We’re going to show you, in full, the code created by PSD2HTML for the new layout.

The Results

This is the original 13 Styles design:

Original 13Styles Layout

And this is a screenshot of the new version which we created in Photoshop:

New 13Styles Layout

You can see the full website through the following link. It is essentially the exact code which we received back from PSD2HTML, and will still require customization before being integrated into the real 13 Styles site.

View the design

Please feel free to take a look and judge the quality for yourself. We found it to be great – well laid out with the correct separation of content and presentation and semantic coding. We aren’t incredibly easy to impress, but this was certainly not a rushed, second rate effort. The process takes web design to a level of ‘mass production’, and high standards can be achieved through having a huge catalog of code examples and snippets to work from.

Do We Recommend Them?

The service was fast, efficient, inexpensive and of an outstanding quality. PSD2HTML would definitely be worth considering if you:

  • Are short on time
  • Are a skilled designer, but not a coder
  • Require high quality, semantic and valid code
  • Want to have a personal, well trained contact creating the design

It can be argued that design does not come from the ability to write code, but rather the ability to create an intuitive user experience which is simple to operate and gives the desired message. Using a service such as this ensures that you are free to focus on these aspects without being bogged down in small issues such as cross browser compatibility.

PSD2HTML impressed us in every area when coding the 13 Styles site, and we would not hesitate to recommend using their service. Be careful, though, that you don’t lose the passion for crafting your own HTML and CSS.


June 2nd, 2008 Posted in Reviews