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Charles Roper

I’m with the whole mockup in markup idea, and my head tells me that designing in the browser is a legitimate and useful method of design for certain jobs. It seems appropriate for the web.

And yet my heart asks me, what about creativity and experimentation? What about themes and moods and graphic design? Not that designing in the browser stifles creativity as such (it may enhance it, for some), or that you can’t play with themes, ideas and moods; it’s just that, throwing layers around in Photoshop, blending, tweaking, pushing, pulling, enlarging, blurring and so on, just isn’t as fast in CSS. I find designing in CSS tends to engage my logical left-brain while not involving my intuitive right-brain nearly enough. That’s probably just a failing on my part and I need more practice.

Mike Kus said web design is a journey. I wonder if his style of rapid iteration and evolving themes could be achieved using an in-browser workflow? It would be interesting to see a web design showdown. One generic brief that would be appropriate for either methodology, two master-designers, one with a PSD process, the other a browser process. Both designers screens would be recorded. Each could use whatever tools they have at their disposal. It would not only be very interesting to see how the designs turn out, but it would also be interesting to see how fast the designs happen; how fast iterations and direction changes are handled.

Ultimately I’d echo what others have already said: you’re just going to have to choose what works best for you and/or is most appropriate for the job at hand, as trite as that may sound.

One further thought: it occurred to me that the design in browser approach would be excellent when taught in a formal academic environment, like university. Web design students would be required to initially build sites using only HTML and CSS – no graphics allowed. Once they have that nailed and can effectively communicate using those primary tools, then they would be taught how to enhance their message with judicious use of Photoshop.

[BTW, I’ve never had any problems with Photoshop on my PC. Sounds like you have one of those dodgy fangled Mac things. You need a PC instead.] j/k ;-)