To Photoshop or Not To Photoshop...

I really like Jason Fried (of 37 signals) and pay attention when he has something to say. So that's exactly what I did when I read this post yesterday about why they skip a Photoshop (or visual comp) step in their development process. He makes a number of salient points: Photoshop isn't interactive, it's not very collaborative, it doesn't ever look the same as the finished product (esp. the text) and it's awkward (for him at least).

While well reasoned, something about his post didn't jive with my experience. When I take the time to build out a "roadmap" for a design in Photoshop (or whatever design tool makes me most comfortable), experience tells me that things end better. I get to make mistakes early. I also end up pushing things further (visually or even at the interaction level) because the tool gets me there quicker. I invent things that may look improbable (or even impossible) to actually pull off and then by the time I get to code, I actually pull them off!

I can respect both sides of this issue, but apparently I'm not the only one who disagreed and Jeff Croft's thoughtful responsewas illuminating. Does a "photoshop" step help out with your workflow?


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