The Big Reveal: Showing Your Client Their New Website

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Revealing the new website you designed for your client.

While an exciting occasion, it’s also one that can be very nerve-wracking for the entire team involved in the build. Website development takes weeks (if not months) of hard work to complete, so what happens if your client hates the final product?

How do you rectify the problem? Is there something your team could have done to prevent the negative feedback in the first place?

The answer to all of these questions is simple — clear communication is the key to unlocking a successful web design reveal. Exactly what needs to be communicated and when can be hard for account teams and web designers to determine.

Thankfully, our team has years of experience navigating this process so we can help you understand how to prepare the right way for your client’s website unveiling.

Before Unveiling Your Client’s Website…

Before the big day arrives, it’s essential that you facilitate multiple meetings with your client through all the stages of the web design process.  Maintaining communication with the client through the build will make all approvals easier.

As you do this, keep in mind the following tips to ensure the unveiling is as successful as possible:

  • Always schedule a meeting or screenshare. Never simply send a link to your client and allow them free reign to navigate a website that’s in its earliest stages of development. By scheduling an in-person meeting or screenshare, you’re in control of what the client should focus on and at what phase. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed with irrelevant feedback on aspects of the site that are not yet fully developed.
  • Explain the reasoning behind your design. Ensure your client understands why you chose certain aspects of the design and how they relate to their original design requirements. This will illustrate to your client that you are listening to their needs carefully and finding appropriate solutions. It also provides you the opportunity to zero in on key elements that should be focal points for the build.
  • Set expectations for client feedback. Many times, clients want to give you feedback in one meeting all at once. Be sure they understand that this is not that meeting. Rather, this is the time to focus on specific elements early on to prevent unwanted features from being carried through to the final product. Communicate to your client that they will receive all links after the meeting so they can provide a more detailed list of feedback.
  • Set goals for the meeting beforehand. This goes back to our previous point on setting expectations around feedback. It’s critical that your client understands what your goals are for this particular meeting and that this meeting is mainly to confirm alignment on initial design direction. The time for a full site reveal will come later.
  • Make sure your client understands next steps. You may need to schedule follow-up meetings similar to these to ensure the site build is meeting expectations. Provide your client with a clear timeframe for what elements will be reviewed at what intervals, as well as when the final reveal will take place.

It may seem tedious to go through this review process for each element, but this is the best way to ensure all aspects of the web design are meeting the client’s requirements. Repeat the process as many times as is necessary to keep the project running smoothly.

During the Web Design Reveal…

Once you feel the website is in a good state to show off the final product, it’s time to schedule the big reveal. When preparing the site reveal, make sure to start by reviewing the current website.

Including this side-by-side or before-and-after review of what the site previously looked like will provide an excellent visual comparison.  This review offers the opportunity to showcase what wasn’t working on the previous version so they’re more excited to see what you’ve done to improve it.

Guiding Clients through Their Website

During the reveal meeting, be sure to highlight the key elements that were specified in your client’s initial project requirements. Ensure they know exactly where these key features are, so they are confident that their needs have been met.

As you go through the website, showcase other elements that you brought into the final design that further align with the project goals. This shows your client that you not only listened to what their needs were initially but that you found ways to exceed them.

Keeping Control of the Conversation

While the purpose of this meeting is to gauge your client’s satisfaction with the final result, now is not the time to get too “in the weeds” on all the nitty-gritty details. If your conversation starts to wander off into the granular, reign it in by letting them know that you can discuss finer details and needed improvements at a later time.

After Showing Your Client Their Website…

Now that the reveal is over and you’ve walked your client through their new website, the nitty-gritty process begins: interpreting feedback.

After your reveal, gauge your client’s initial reaction and identify points of concern that may need improvement. Again, try to keep the feedback high level during the reveal meeting, laying out the next steps for how you plan to receive notes or edits and address any issues.

Communicate with your client how you would like them to provide detailed feedback on specific design/functionality elements, and schedule follow-up meetings to review improvements together.

Treat these follow-up meetings in a similar fashion to those you held during the early design phase, zeroing in on specific elements rather than capturing holistic feedback.

Don’t be surprised if you need to head back to the drawing board to take care of overlooked items or last-minute design change requests. Sometimes what a client initially thought they wanted ends up falling short of their expectations through no fault of your own. Remain calm, don’t take it personally, and find ways to communicate and collaborate more effectively to nail down their unique vision.

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