The future of PSD deliverables

By Rian

In The Post-PSD Era: A problem of expectations Dan Mall continues a Photoshop discussion started by Brad Frost a few days ago. Dan’s conclusion is worth pondering:

As an industry, we sell websites like paintings. Instead, we should be selling beautiful and easy access to content, agnostic of device, screen size, or context. If you can get your client to believe in the sales process that you’ll do that for them, they won’t care what the site looks like.

I agree with Dan’s viewpoint on what we should sell to clients, but not that they won’t care what it looks like. They always care. A little earlier in the post Dan says this:

I don’t think we’re in a post-PSD era, but I do think we’re moving towards a post-“full-comp” era.

Now that I agree with completely. At Flow our deliverables to clients have increasingly moved away from a PSD for every page on the site, to a combination of clickable prototypes, style tiles, and PSDs for key pages. Developers and Product Managers love this because they can play around with the prototype to see how the site/app works, not just what it looks like. Other decision-makers love the style tiles in particular, because it allows them to guide what the site looks like without getting distracted by the intricacies of the interaction design (which requires a different type of discussion/feedback cycle).

In other words: we should sell clients on our design process, agree upfront on what deliverables will help them accomplish their goals, and make the appropriate amount of PSDs part of those deliverables as needed.