The Commoditization of HTML
I've been noticing these services cropping up all over the place these days. You send them a PSD or PNG and they build out the HTML and CSS for you.
This type of thing existed before and I've certainly received emails from offshore companies willing to do my production work for me. However, they were behind the times and produced inadequate code; at least, inadequate for the 'standardistas' among us.
The new trend, however, is to provide quality CSS-based layouts that are even optimized for search engines (SEO). XHTMLized was one of the first that I heard about but I've already seen others, all ranging in price from about $150 to $500 with turnaround time between one and seven days.
Here's a list of sites that I've managed to uncover:
XHTMLized certainly has some first-mover advantage and their testimonials page is evidence of that with quotes from many within the web development industry. Their service is priced at the low end, starting at $149 but their delivery is at the high end with turnaround of a full week. The company comes across as professional and capable of producing quality work.
I've seen PSD2HTML doing some heavy advertising and look like decent competition. Their turnaround time is much shorter, promising a one day turnaround (currently two days due to production volume). What's interesting is that they've actually broken down their costs based on SEO or browser compatibility. If Internet Explorer and Firefox are all that matters, it's only $117. Add in Opera and Safari along with an optimized CSS file and it'll cost you $153, close to XHTMLized. Finally, their "high-end" service adds optimization for SEO and load speed for $211.
XHTMLGenius is run by Shaun Andrews, one of the guys behind Tick. XHTMLGenius falls in the middle, timewise, by promising turnaround time of under 3 days but is a little pricier at $250. Subsequent page designs, assuming some similarity with the first page, will be about $125 per page to get converted.
Slice 'n Dice
Slice 'n Dice comes in a little on the high end compared to the other services on this page offering a 3-day turnaround for $399. Alternatively, you can save some money by waiting 6 days for your HTML and only pay $279.
Although the people behind SND are no doubt busy, I would imagine it'd be more difficult to compete at that price compared to the other services on the market.
Probably the most poorly named option of the bunch, XHTML/CSS offers up a four day turnaround for $175. Although I have no particular reason to think so, I'd feel the least comfortable going with these guys. Maybe it's the way they market themselves. They seem to market to a different audience than everybody else. While the rest are going after the savvy design crowd who just need a cheap alternative, XHTML/CSS seem to be going for those who just don't have the skillset to produce proper XHTML/CSS. I suppose time will tell if it proves successful for them.
Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to try any of these services out. The largest problem, for me, has been turnaround time. Being concerned with the quality of HTML I might receive, I'd need to ensure that I had buffer room in my timeline to be able to handle hiccups in the development process. A turnaround time of a week, plus any revisions (either by them or myself) has simply been too long for me to try it.
If you've used any of these or know of any others, feel free to share your story.
(Note: all pricing is in U.S. dollars)