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Web Design from PSD to HTML

A couple of weeks back we went through the process of creating a gnarly snowboarding themed website design concept in Photoshop. The tutorial covered the process of designing our site concept from sketch to finished PSD design. Now, let’s take the design to the next step and code up a complete mockup in HTML and CSS, ensuring our code is semantic and standards compliant. We’ll then add some finishing touches with a spot of jQuery.

To refresh your memory

See the making of the concept

Cast your mind back and you’ll remember we left off at the end of the post titledCreate a Gnarly Snowboarding Themed Web Design with a finished PSD sporting a textured background, large feature area and a mix of text, images and video making up the main content area.

Check out part one of the tutorial

Cutting up the PSD concept

With our design being pretty design heavy, there’s a good selection of elements that will need exporting from the PSD. The first is the large textured background.

Select the background texture

Disable all other layers then draw a large marquee across the design that includes all the textured elements and blue gradient. Press CMD+Shift+C to copy this selection, then paste in into a new document.

Extend the background to accommodate large monitors

To take into consideration larger monitors, we need to make sure our design is wide enough not to be cropped off. A width of 2200px should be more than sufficient to accommodate even the larger of monitor setups. Select a portion of the gradient and press CMD-T to transform and stretch the background to fill the white space. Save this large image for the web, but take care to balance between file size and quality. With the image being super-sized, it’s important to carefully select the appropriate compression settings. My final file weighs in at 220kb, which is pretty heavy in normal circumstances, but considering that the rest of the design is quite lightweight, it’s a sacrifice that can be justified. We could have made things much easier for ourselves by not including a gradient as well as a texture, this way we could set a smaller graphic in the center that fades out to a flat colour. (Or wait until the multiple backgrounds CSS3 property is more widely supported!)

Selecting the logo graphic

Continue selecting individual page elements with the marquee tool, pressing CMD-Shift-C to copy-merged then paste in a new document and export. Elements such as the logo, feature graphics, profile shots and every small icon needs saving as an individual graphic.

Exporting individual page items

Remember to choose the most appropriate file type and compression setting for each item. An element that is made up of flat colours will be more suited to PNG format. Elements that require a transparent background can be exported using the PNG-24 option.

Overview of all image files

Once all of the images have been saved, you’re ready to move onto the HTML section of the website build.

Building the HTML structure

It’s always important to build the house before decorating the rooms, so we’ll begin by writing out the HTML structure of the website. We’ll base the HTML on the XHTML Strict Doctype and add the initial link to the stylesheet and a containing div to hold the content.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<title>Snow Candy</title>

<link href="style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="screen" />


<div id="container">


The header

The structure for the header is pretty simple. We have our logo, which is set in a H1 and links back to the homepage. Our navigation is perfect for an unordered list, and each contains an anchor to the relevant page. A class of active will then allow us to target an individual page for highlighting the active page.

<div id="header">
	<h1><a href="#">Snow Candy</a></h1>
	<ul id="nav">
		<li><a href="#" class="active">Home</a></li>
		<li><a href="#">Apparel</a></li>
		<li><a href="#">Team</a></li>
		<li><a href="#">Shop</a></li>

The content

Next we flesh out the bulk of the page content. The whole main area can be contained within a div with an ID of content. Within this we’ll start with the large feature graphics, an unordered list will once again be a handy element to use, as it allows us to easily list them out in sequence. Inside each list element is each image graphic, complete with a descriptive alt attribute.

<div id="content">
<div id="features">
		<li><a href="#"><img src="images/feature-1.jpg" alt="5th Annual Big Air Jam. 5th January 2010" /></a></li>
		<li><a href="#"><img src="images/feature-2.jpg" alt="Salomon Shred Round One" /></a></li>
		<li><a href="#"><img src="images/feature-3.jpg" alt="Snow Candy in S&auml;len" /></a></li>

The design then splits into two columns, so we can add a div with a class of column ready for floating with CSS later. Within the featured video section I’ve embedded a cool snowboarding video from Vimeo, followed by the title and description, both set in natural header and paragraph tags. A paragraph tag with a class of “btn” will allow us to set up a global style for any button style objects, allowing some unique styling to be added. The actual Vimeo embedding code has been modified slightly to keep it valid within our Strict doctype, thanks to the help of this article.

<div class="column">
	<h2 class="featured-video">Featured Video</h2>
	<div class="video">		
		<object width="379" height="213" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3155182&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1">
			<param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" />
			<param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" />
			<param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3155182&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1" />
	<h3><a href="#">Snow Candy in S&auml;len</a></h3>
	<p>The Snow Candy team head to S&auml;len to experience the local snow, attractions and lifestyle.</p>
	<p class="btn"><a href="#">See more videos</a></p>

In the second column, the list of events has a layout that lends itself well to being rendered as a definition list, with the date and event description being relative to each other. The date can be set as the definition title, and the definition description as the content, which will help us target these tags to style up the fancy layout we’ve got going on. With the dates being laid out vertically at different type sizes, adding a span around the month will help provide that extra hook needed for the CSS styling.

<div class="column">
	<h2 class="events">Upcoming Events</h2>
		<dt>5 <span>Feb</span></dt>
			<h4>5th Annual BigAir Jam</h4>
			<p>Elite riders compete for the title of 2010 BigAir champion in the 5th annual running of the event in Sallback, Austria. Last year’s winner Nate Bailey is returning to defend his crown against some of the most elite names from Europe and the USA.</p>
		<dt>3 <span>Mar</span></dt>
			<h4>Salomon Shred Round 1</h4>
			<p>Elite riders compete for the title of 2010 BigAir champion in the 5th annual running of the event in Sallback, Austria. Last year’s winner Nate Bailey is returning to defend his crown against some of the most elite names from Europe and the USA.</p>
	<p class="btn"><a href="#">See more events</a></p>

The last portion of content is the list of team members. Again, this list of objects is tailored nicely to be written as an unordered list element. Within each list element is an anchor link that will head off to the relevant page. Each anchor also has a class to help identify each team member when styling them up.

<h2 class="team">Meet the Team</h2>

<ul id="team">
	<li><a href="#" class="joe">Joe</a></li>
	<li><a href="#" class="charlie">Charlie</a></li>
	<li><a href="#" class="lars">Lars</a></li>
	<li><a href="#" class="marco">Marco</a></li>

The footer

The HTML is then closed out with the footer, containing a simple back-to-top link, and the body and HTML tags closed to finish off the document. A quick validation ensures there’s no errors, meaning it’s time to move onto some CSS styling.

	<div id="footer">
		<p><a href="#header" class="back-top">Back to top</a></p>



Styling the CSS

Body styling complete

The first line of CSS that’s written is to quickly reset any browser specific styling. Ensuring that we’re starting from a clean slate when it comes to margins, padding and borders. Next, the sans-serif font-family is set on the body tag, to render the Helvetica font throughout the design. A line-height of 24px will help us stick to our 24px baseline grid from the design, and will help fix any differences between browsers.

The main background of the site is then added. First the flat blue colour is specified, then the large textured background. This is positioned at the top center, and told not to repeat. Unlike inline images, background images don’t create scrollbars if they are larger than the content window, so despite our graphic being a huge 2200 pixels wide, a portion of the edges will be hidden according to how large the viewer’s monitor is.

body, div, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, ul, ol, li, dl, dt, dd, img, form, fieldset, blockquote {
	margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0;

body {
	font-family: Helvetica, Arial, Sans-Serif; line-height: 24px;
	background: #b9d2f8 url(images/body-bg.jpg) center top no-repeat;

The header

Styling the header section

Next up for styling is the main container div, which is simply given a 980px width and set to appear centrally. This is followed by the header and its sub-elements. The header div is given some padding to create the spacing at the top and sides according to the PSD concept, and is given an overflow:hidden property to clear itself and correctly calculate its height after the floated navigation elements.

The header one tag is given specific dimensions in order to properly display the logo as a background image, and a negative text-indent shifts the standard header text out of the way off-screen. The navigation is then floated alongside it, with a little margin to help align the elements. Each anchor inside the list items is styled to give the appropriate appearance according to the PSD concept, which includes setting the font-size and gaps between each element. They are then finished off with the addition of the transparent brush stroke graphic as a background image for links that have the active class, or are being hovered by the mouse.

#container {
	width: 980px; margin: 0 auto;

#header {
	padding: 48px 16px 0 16px; overflow: hidden;
	#header h1 a {
		display: block; width: 221px; height: 107px; float: left;
		background: url(images/logo.jpg); text-indent: -9999px;
	#header ul#nav {
		width: 720px; float: right; margin: 42px 0 0 0;
		#header ul#nav li {
			float: left; list-style: none;
			#header ul#nav li a {
				display: block; width: 155px; height: 34px; margin: 0 0 0 25px; padding: 12px 0 0 0; 
				font-size: 24px; text-transform: lowercase; color: #fff; text-decoration: none; text-align: center;
				text-shadow: 0 3px 3px #333;
				#header ul#nav li a:hover, #header ul#nav li a.active {
					background: url(images/active-nav.png);

General content styling

Styling the content background

The main central content area can then be styled to mimic the original PSD concept. First it’s given a specific width, with padding to push the content away from the edges. It’s set to overflow:hidden because it will contain some floated elements, and is given a transparent-white background PNG to create the translucent effect. Other options to create the white transparency could have been the opacity property, or the CSS3 RGBa property, but a good old PNG-24 graphic is the most cross-browser friendly, with just IE6 requiring extra work to enable the alpha transparency.

To finish off the content area, a small radius is added to the corners using the border-radius property. Because this isn’t fully supported yet, browser specific code can tell individual browsers to add the novelty effect.

#content {
	width: 938px; padding: 16px 16px 60px 16px; overflow: hidden;
	background: url(images/white-trans.png);
	border-radius: 3px;
	-moz-border-radius: 3px;
	-webkit-border-radius: 3px;

Styling the feature section

Styling the features section

The large features section in the design currently holds three slides, but the aim is to only display one at a time. When Javascript is added, these can be tweaked to transitionally fade between each one, but we also need the section to work without Javascript being enabled. To do this, the features section is given the specific dimensions of one slide. The overflow:scroll property will then add scrollbars to allow the user to manually navigation between slides. The UL is given a width of 2820px (3x the width of the slides), and they’re floated side by side. Without limiting the features container to a specific size, the slides would simply fill up the whole page, which ruins the usability of the site. This way, the user can experience the features slideshow, albeit in a much more low-tech way.

#content #features {
	width: 940px; height: 457px; margin: 0 0 48px 0;
	overflow: scroll; /* Changed to hidden if javascript enabled */ 
	#content #features ul {
		width: 2820px;

	#content #features ul li {
		float: left;

Styling the columns and their content

Styling the columns content

Remember those two columns we wrote out in the HTML? They need floating side by side, so a width is calculated that will fit inside the content div, and the float:left property added. Inside these columns the video and upcoming events sections are styled. The video div simply has an image background to style up the embedded video, and some padding quickly aligns everything up. The definition list for the events section requires some extra CSS to manipulate the basic definition list element into the fancy layout we have planned. The date of each event is contained within the definition title, so that can be floated to the side and set to a large font-size. The extra span we added then comes in handy to render the month text at a smaller font-size, and as a block element so that it drops down below the number.

The definition description and its header h4 tags can then be given the appropriate typographic treatment once the DD is floated alongside the DT. With all styling complete it matches the original concept perfectly.

#content .column {
	width: 409px; float: left; padding: 0 30px 0 30px; margin: 0 0 24px 0;
	#content .column .video {
		width: 387px; height: 222px; padding: 13px 0 0 17px; margin: 0 0 24px 0;
		background: url(images/video-bg.jpg) no-repeat;
	#content .column dl dt {
		width: 55px; float: left; padding: 10px 0 0 0;  overflow: auto;
		color: #fff; font-size: 64px; line-height: 34px;
		#content .column dl dt span {
			font-size: 16px; text-transform: uppercase; display: block;;
		#content .column dl dd {
			float: left; width: 354px;
		#content .column dl h4 {
			font-size: 32px; font-weight: normal; color: #fff; margin: 0 0 5px 0;

Styling the team list

Styling the team section

The last part of the content styling is to flesh out the list of team members. Earlier each team member photo was exported, so these can now be set to each individual anchor tag. Each list item is set to float left, and is given the appropriate margin to space them out across the page. Anchor elements are by default inline elements, so to allow a specific width and height to be set, they need to be converted to display:block. Each individual team member can then be targeted through the class names on each anchor, with each photo graphic and image dimensions being added as a background.

#content ul#team {
	list-style: none; overflow: hidden;
	#content ul#team li {
		float: left; margin: 0 0 0 27px;
		#content ul#team li a {
			display: block; text-indent: -9999px;
			#content ul#team li a.joe {
				width: 199px; height: 229px;
				background: url(images/joe.jpg);
			#content ul#team li a.charlie {
				width: 199px; height: 229px;
				background: url(images/charlie.jpg);
			#content ul#team li a.lars {
				width: 205px; height: 233px;
				background: url(images/lars.jpg);
			#content ul#team li a.marco {
				width: 198px; height: 229px;
				background: url(images/marco.jpg);

Styling the footer

Styling the footer

The footer area can be quickly finished up by adding the subtle texture background, and the back-to-top link floated over to the right, styled up and positioned into place.

#footer {
	min-height: 159px; overflow: hidden;
	background: url(images/footer-bg.jpg) center 0 no-repeat;
	#footer p a.back-top {
		float: right; margin: 14px 24px 0 0;
		font-size: 12px; text-decoration: none; color: #4d74bb;
		#footer p a.back-top:hover {
			color: #234c97;

Adding the Javascript

Let’s not forget the extra Javascript effects we had planned for that features section. With the help of some jQuery, and the super cool Cycle plugin, we can easily transform that basic features list into a fully working slideshow.

<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.1/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="js/scripts.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

First, the jQuery library and our own scripts file is referenced in the HTML. The cycle plugin is included in the scripts.js, then some of our own Javascript can put it all into practice. First the overflow:scroll on the features list needs changing to hidden to remove those ugly scrollbars, then the cycle plugin is initiated on the features list. By default the plugin will place a simple fading transition between each element, but there’s plenty more options that could be configured.

$(document).ready(function() {

/* Change the overflow:scroll to overflow hidden on the Features list */


/* Initiate the cycle on the Features list */
	$('#features ul').cycle();

The final concept

View the final demo

So here we have the complete mockup in live HTML and CSS format. Our HTML is clean and valid, and the CSS renders everything how we wanted according to the original PSD concept.

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