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I had this debate with a colleague and we didn't see anything solid or something from a search that would answer this with certainty so I thought I would open it here. You are designing a website or app in Photoshop what is the preferred method for printing a proof for a client appointment in regards to getting the best color accuracy?

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If it's inside your posibilities, I'd take a notebook or tablet to the meeting and show them that. Web is supposed to be digital, after all, so changing the format might not best represent the product. – Yisela Feb 20 '13 at 20:12
I completely agree with that, but in this day and age a signed printed copy is the best and that is something we are debating about. – Darth_Vader Feb 20 '13 at 20:16
@graphicsman having a client sign off on something that isn't the final product is a risk. The PhotoShop file isn't the web site. Merely a particular possible rendering of the web site. So just be careful how you treat it as a deliverable. – DA01 Feb 20 '13 at 20:18
very good point. My whole discussion for this thread was how to treat the design phase of a site design when an operational site is not appropriate. – Darth_Vader Feb 20 '13 at 20:20
That's a good question too. I'd perhaps post that as a separate question. (My answer will likely talk about how the problem is seeing design as a 'phase' rather than part of the entire development process). – DA01 Feb 20 '13 at 20:31

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The premise of the question is flawed for a few reasons.

A print proof is meant to mimic the final product. The idea is that you view the proof with the expectation that the final product will look exactly like that.

That concept doesn't exist on the web. For a number of reasons:

  • There is no defined canvas size. Unlike a piece a paper, a web browser can be nearly any size. (Nor may there even be a canvas in the context of something like a screen reader)

  • There is no defined screen size. Screens come in all sizes and shapes and pixel densities.

  • There is no defined software. Everyone will be using a different browser on a different operating system with different settings.

  • The web is interactive. Even if you COULD define all the above, a user can quickly change that.

I like to explain the difference between print design and web design as such:

print design: You are dictating a very specific visual presentation.

web design: You are suggesting one possible visual presentation for specific data.

The bottom line? You don't use a printed PhotoShop file as any sort of 'proof' for web design.

Ideally, you show the client working HTML, CSS and JS. That lets you see the 'big picture' including variances, interactions, etc.

You can certainly show a mock-up as a way to explain how the site is going to roughly look, but that's all it is. It's just showing how it's roughly going to look.

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you have a great point but in a company view point a working site is strain on time. It would be apparent the best possible approach is a disclaimer in regards to the end product and color. – Darth_Vader Feb 20 '13 at 20:34
Ideally, you're working in some form of iterative process but that's not always realistic in a lot of organizations (for better or worse). So, indeed, the challenge is then to properly manage expectations. Instead of the PSD file being a 'sign off' artifact, perhaps treat it as a 'this is the direction we're heading in' type of milestone. – DA01 Feb 20 '13 at 20:59

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