Insights, Web Development

Have a Design to HTML Project? What to Consider Before Getting Started

A guide for agencies and businesses who plan to use front-end development services for their projects.

No matter if you are an agency with multiple projects or a business that needs its new website converted to HTML/CSS, being well prepared in advance, helps a long way.  As a manager in a web development company that specializes in design to HTML conversions and a person with a background as a front-end developer myself, I’ve noticed that projects with clear blueprints make the developing process much easier, smoother, and faster. How this part goes, defines the future of the project. The HTML/CSS work is what the website visitors will see. It’s also the foundation of what the back-end developers will use during the integration process if there is one.

In this article, I would like to share with you this list of things to consider when passing your design to HTML project for front-end development.

Design to HTML Specifications

Let’s start with the blueprint itself. It’s a list of specifications worth including when passing your project to front-end developers. This will help both sides – you and your partner for design to HTML conversions. It will save everyone time in going back-and-forth for clearing up the details. And in some cases, it might be even a lifesaver for the project.

Front-End Framework

The first thing to decide is if your project needs a front-end framework and to leave a note about it to your design to HTML team. For a simple project, it would be ideal to keep the code as clean as possible. Using frameworks may not be optimal in every case, because it will make things unnecessarily complicated. On the other side, more complex projects may benefit a lot from the usage of a front-end framework. For example, when building almost any kind of web application,  a good foundation is preferable. The most popular front-end frameworks and the ones that many developers prefer to use are Angular, React, and Vue. If you are not sure how to proceed here,  get a consultation from your front-end development team and ask them:

  • Whether they think your project needs a front-end framework?
  • And if so, which is the one that best suits the needs?
  • Are they familiar with the specific framework?
  • Will they be able to assist you in hooking up everything with the back-end?

They will let you know the pros and cons and help you decide what’s perfect for your project. Still, I would highly recommend it if you do your own research too. This may help you take into consideration things that only you are aware of.

CSS Framework

After you have taken into consideration the front-end framework, it’s time to decide if you want a CSS framework as well. What you need to consider here is:

  • What are the benefits of using a CSS framework and do you actually need it?
  • Is this framework compatible with the front-end framework you selected?
  • Are your front-end developers familiar with the CSS framework of your choice?
  • Are your designs based on the specifics of this CSS framework?

If you start looking for CSS frameworks you will see there are plenty of options. However, ideally, you would select a popular one, like – Bootstrap, Foundation, Bulma, Tailwindcss, or Materialize. The reason to choose a well-accepted CSS framework for your design to HTML project is first, this usually means the framework is more advanced, with more features, well documented, and with fewer bugs. And second, there is a high chance the developers you plan to work with, have a lot of experience with the specific CSS framework.

Similar to the case with the front-end frameworks, simple projects like a standard landing page would benefit more from the lack of a CSS framework.  The additional code may affect the loading of the website unnecessarily. However, if your project is a web application with complex UI or a large-scale website, it’s best to have everything unified and extendable. And CSS frameworks are very good at that.

Specific Code Requirements

If your company has some specific requirements of how the code needs to be delivered, mention this in your request and also leave some examples of code done your way.

Specifically, if you are a web agency with experience in front-end development, but lack in-house resources, spend some time to outline the code requirements you have. Then find developers that feel comfortable inheriting your code specifications. In the long run, such a partner in the design to HTML conversations will be more like an extension of your own team.

For businesses without any specific preferences for writing code, it’s still preferable to ask if the developers you selected for the design to HTML conversion follow any coding practices. For example, at htmlBurger, we have created our own front-end coding standards which we go after every time unless of course, the project requires a different approach. This helps us keep the quality of the code at a high level. And also our clients receive very similar results on every single project, no matter who is the developer on our side.

Platforms Integrations

You might also want to give some background information for your project and let your design to HTML conversion team knows what technologies, CMS, and platforms you plan to use. CMS platforms like WordPress have their own specifics. And although you hire a team to do just the design to HTML conversion, if they know a little bit about the work of the back-end developer, they may be able to make some optimizations for the specific CMS.

That’s just a small touch and won’t actually affect a lot on how the HTML/CSS is done, but these things will surely bring some joy to the back-end developers. And if you do all your back-end integrations in-house then that’s even better:) A little help here and there makes a big difference.

Additionally, if there are any other platforms you want integration for, such as Instagram feeds, YouTube videos, third-party form tools, external widgets, etc. you better let your front-end developers know about them.  If these integrations need to be done during the front-end development phase, make sure they are aware of them.

Custom Animations

If your project needs specific animations, you can either describe those or give some examples. In case you are an advanced user, you can even build those in the design tool you use. Most design softwares have options, where you can build interactive previews, which would help the developers understand your needs. Sure, the animations can always be added later, but it’s still better if you mention what you plan to add in the future. This way the developers who do your design to HTML project will be able to set up everything properly.

And if you want some nice animations, but you’re not sure what will look good, you can get a consultation for your design to HTML project by the development team. You may even get some ideas you haven’t thought are even possible. At htmlBurger, we tend to add some nice touches by default, but we always appreciate it when our clients free their imagination and request us to do some unseen-before animations.

Specific Functionalities

To make sure there are no misunderstandings between you and your developers, it would be perfect to clear up the details around the functionalities that you want them to build for you. Even if you think something is obvious, this might not be the case for the other side. So for example, if you have a calculator, estimator tool, or tabs that need to work in a specific way adding some notes explaining your requirements will help.

At htmlBurger, we include some functionalities like tabs, sliders, and popups by default when we see them. We also go through a quick Q&A session with our clients to make sure we’re on the same page. But even in those scenarios, some small things could still be missed, so take some time and list all the functionalities you want to see in your design to HTML project.

SEO Requirements

Be aware that although most developers follow some SEO best practices, they are not inherently SEO experts.  SEO optimization requires different skills and is usually done by people specializing in the field. And since SEO practices are constantly evolving, consider passing some info to your developers on how you want things to be done.  For example, outlining the headings across the pages on the top of the design or describing what tags needs to be added. This will guarantee you are getting the results you are looking for.

That is another thing that can be done later, but it would save time and effort for everyone involved in the process if you specify it in advance. So after you complete your design work, it might be a good idea to check with your SEO experts if they have any specific requirements and ask them to list everything. Then pass these to your front-end developers.

Responsiveness & Additional Resources

And now it’s time for you to prepare all your project files and additional assets. This includes the design files for the desktop version as well as the responsive designs. If your project is a rather straightforward one, you might leave the responsiveness to the developers’ best judgment. Even without any additional designs for tablets and mobile devices,  developers should do a pretty good job.

On the other side, if you are working on a complex UI or have thoughts of how you want your website to look on different devices, prepare some visual guidelines for the responsive versions. You can do that for either some of the most complex screens or for all of them. It’s up to you, to decide what you can leave to the developers’ decision.

What else you need to pass to your design to HTML development team are all the additional resources they may need like custom fonts if there are any,  high-quality graphics, notes, sitemap, content, etc.

And that’s all. You’re ready to go now.

Conclusion

I hope this article will help you find the right company for your design to HTML projects. Establishing a valuable and long-term partnership may be difficult sometimes. We know. But a good preliminary preparation may help both – you and the company you want to work with, by finding a common ground you can use to build a process that is optimized and works for everyone.

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