Aesthetics vs Efficiency: The PSD to HTML Conversion Debate

Some websites are more than eager to declare PSD to HTML conversion an ancient witchcraft. The reality is that if you are starting with creating a custom website or are redesigning your entire website, there are very high chances you will go through a PSD to HTML conversion cycle.

There are some high level concepts that will pose a challenge only if you have been through a ton of conversion cycles, which, in all likelihood, you haven’t. Hence, we bring to you the debate of – aesthetics v/s efficiency in PSD to HTML conversion.

What is the debate and why should you care?

If you look at PSD to HTML email conversion, it is a logical process. Once you have deployed the services of experts in the process, there is next to chance of failure. That said, this depends on how you define failure. If your goal is to simply attain a website or an email template that ‘works’, then there is no need for you to read further. In reality, majority business owners care more about the efficiency and effectiveness of each process, including the PSD to HTML conversion. This is where the debate comes in.

When you are going through the conversion phase, there would be a ton of conflicts. Some of them would be in the lines of:

1. What elements to choose and what elements to let go of?
2. How to determine whether a specific element has been included or not?
3. How to decide what stays and what goes away?

These conflicts will be held between your engineering team and your UI/UX designing team. Both the teams have the right intentions, but you will have to decide which team scores the point on each vertical – depending on its impact on the business itself.

Your engineers will try to ace the efficiency aspect – to get a light, well-tuned end-product. Your designers would want something more fulfilling and aesthetic, which will give your brand a distinct identity. How do you decide what route is to be taken?

Here are a few ways you can settle the scores:

1. A/B Testing: Take up each iteration from both the teams and put it to rigorous testing. Whether it is only about PSD to Email HTML or whether it is about an entire web-page, ask both the teams to hand out their most preferred samples and then check them on your most preferred KPIs: bounce rates, engagement rates and conversion rates.

2. Red Team vs. Blue Team: This is a logical testing mechanism designed to poke holes in the logic of each team. Now, incentivize the engineering team to defend the work of the designing team and incentivize the designing team to defend the rationale of the engineering team.

If both the teams perform their respective roles with diligence, they will emerge with a greater awareness of the other side’s picture.

3. Take an iterative approach: Your engineering team would want something extremely light and well-performing. Start with this one. Then, evolve it into the iteration of the designing team and see whether performance is dipping or climbing. The idea is to replicate the MVP approach of product building, in order to see what design elements are essential. You can also start the other way round – with a full-fledged design team backed product, and start eliminating elements, till you have attained optimal performance.

In Conclusion

Don’t let the teams decide things by themselves. At the same time, don’t take subjective decisions here. Choose a system of making the decision and stick to it with transparency.


Ravi comes from a technical and creative background and understands client operation management very well. He has functional and technical expertise in email design, development and email marketing concepts, Also helps clients with go to market email strategies.



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