Should the first thing you show the client be perfect?

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A reader in the last blog asked about whether the client should see A+ work the first time you show something.

Here are three answers:

1. Each client is different. Ask your client what their expectations are. Propose different ways to work (e.g. show something perfect; show an early draft to get initial thoughts) and find out their preference.

2. For simple sites, I expect designers to show me two iterations of their best work (for a home page/look and feel), and then I want to choose one. Some designers I’ve worked with take weeks to show me as many as 10 iterations, which annoys me to no end. Two or three alternatives is the most I can handle. One is fine, too, if it is great, but two is better. I like to feel in control, and have some choice. Either way, if we are talking about a simple 10-page site, I want to see a top-quality attempt at a home page. That’s because it should be relatively easy for you to understand the requirements of such a simple site, and so the ball is in your court to understand my goals, other sites I like, etc. Ask your client if they want to see 2-3 alternatives or not.

3. For complex sites, I much prefer an iterative approach: Get something up based on my specifications, and let’s work together to make rapid improvements. This agile approach is the trend, for good reason. I much prefer it to having a developer take weeks to put something up that doesn’t match my needs. Plus, since I’m not great at graphics (like many of your clients), I need to see it and think about it in a concrete way.

Is your experience similar?

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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