XML website design - what is being asked of me?


Hi all,

A client recently emailed me to inquire about whether I'd be interested in doing a website for them.

I came back to them explaining that I am not a web designer per se, I do not know how to code however I would like to help where possible and can contribute to the design of the layout of the site.

The client emailed back to reassure me that they have a coder that I could work with, so, treating this as a learning experience I asked 'What is expected from me as a deliverable that the coder can then use - a photoshop file? what file type does your coder typically deal in/expect?'

They got back to me by saying 'I think it's just an XML file'.


What is being asked of me here?

The 'XML file' element of what they said confused me a little. I can create layouts in Photoshop to my hearts content but I have no idea about the HTML/Java Script/CSS nuts and bolts that make everything function (I'm gradually teaching myself these things on the side - but it is nowhere near being at a level of being a marketable skill).

Traditionally, as graphic designers* how would you interpret this as a request? What is the deliverable in this brief?

(* As opposed to web designers, i.e: those of you that presumably design websites in full, all the way from the sketchbook to being uploaded).

Thanks in advance,



Staff member
xml files basically (to my understanding) define the layout of something in a 'similar' way to html.

Seems like it's a strange request when you said you're not a coder so I'd maybe have another chat with your client.

Paul Murray

Staff member
I'm confused. I have no idea what they're asking for. It sounds like the client might not know what they're asking for? XML is used for outputting data in a machine readable and human readable format. Site maps for example tend to be XML.

HTML is a form of XML, though it's intended for outputting web elements to browsers, rather than raw data.
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Active Member
Like Paul said, websites are not built in XML.

And to be honest, very few websites are built from converted photoshop layouts. People expect websites to be responsive and you can’t do this from a single layout. Websites tend to be developed from individual elements rather than the whole page. And even then it’s all done in CSS.


Noted, thanks team.

Glad it's not just me that was a bit confused. I've sent a message back to clarify.