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Is a website designed in the browser right for you?

It’s one of the hottest web design trends of the past few years. The number of designers working directly in browsers, rather than using tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, is growing.

So why is it happening? The simple answer is that there is a growing number of designers who are skilled in creating visuals but who are also comfortable with code.

Designers and web developers are now often the same people – especially in smaller agencies. Web designers are learning coding skills, and coders are learning visual skills.

Both developers and designers are looking for the simplest, quickest, and best ways of doing things, and some have come to the conclusion working directly into a browser is the way forward.  So is working in the browser right for your project?


The pros


  • Content – the thing which attracts viewers to any website – is considered first. Designing in the browser is particularly useful for content-rich sites like blogs, and news websites and apps. If your design focuses on the thing users want to see on it, the content, that can also be a shortcut to a better user experience.
  • Your site is also designed and developed more quickly, you can see it as it should be viewed at an earlier stage, and working without early mock-ups can cut the cost.
  • Designers can check how their prototype site will look on mobile devices instantly, and finding different layouts, colours, and typography is fast. Changing hyperlink colours throughout a site, for example, takes just one command in CSS, but is more complicated in Photoshop. Effects and interactions can also be shown to clients in a way Photoshop cannot.
  • Designers writing HTML and CSS can get a site from prototype into production without any extra effort. With Photoshop designs, a developer will also need to take them and code them, which can be challenging. Working straight into a browser ensures designs are all able to be coded.



The cons


  • There’s a danger of neglecting the details. Working in Photoshop allows designers to think just about the design details, focusing on them without rushing a design.
  • Working outside the browser could make your designer more creative – it’s easier stay within the boundaries of a system when working in the browser. There are more visual constraints, for example, in the browser. If you’re looking for something different and striking, allowing your designer this creativity is a key part of the process.
  • Having a full design brief enables you to see how each section will look without having to visualise it for yourself. That can help in making clear decisions, and cut the cost in the long run.



Working straight into a browser is useful for smaller sites, including projects like this  https://www.invisionapp.com. For larger websites and those with more specialised needs, working in Photoshop allows designers to present clients with a more complete design and it allows more room for creativity. Talk to your designer about the best way forward for you.