How would you deal with a client who rejected a prototype because of a "lorem ipsum" placeholder?

highcenburg profile image Vicente G. Reyes ・1 min read

I just sent a Balsamiq cloud prototype to a client and when she replied, I felt like she was mad for seeing lorem ipsum on the prototype.

I politely explained what lorem ipsum was and the purpose of it but she insisted that the content should've been in english so she would know and understand the content of the website and how it would look.

I ended up using hipsum for the placeholder then replied that she'd look for a different provider for their website instead.

How would you feel? How would you go about it? I'm just curious.

Also, there's an email address of a person on the site. Should I email the person directly? This person I'm speaking to gave me her gmail instead of an email address with the company's domain. I'm really pissed right now and think that I should send my proposal to the contact person on the site.

Any reply would be appreciated.


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Hi fellow pinoy!

As far as my views about the "lorem ipsum" episode, the moment the client says or complains about it, just lay down the fact that the "lorem ipsum" placeholder is universally used by anyone, anywhere at any point, in web design mockups or prototypes or whatever you produce without any proper content.

I also made the habit of asking or telling beforehand that "any placeholder content will have a standardized content (lorem ipsum) to provide proper demo content. Any customized content, text or color scheme requested specifically by POC is welcome."


Great insight & tips, kabayan!

This was her exact message after I explained what a placeholder is:

"Even though, it should all be written in English so I would know and understand the content of the new website and how it would look like."

Just to be safe on my end because I feel a bit sketchy on how she responded, I already deleted the balsamiq cloud link and decided to send her a message that I would present the prototype over skype.

Hoping for the best now.

Thanks, Kabayan!


Good to know! Hope everything works well on your end!


This will seem pretty neutral but as always, there is two ways to approach this kind of situations:

  1. The safe way, which is giving the client what they want, no matter how idiotic it is, we have a saying here in France: "The client is king".
  2. The "how to deal with idiots way": Don't. They don't like how you work? Don't work for them. But you'll have to assume the consequences.

If you need the work, you should take option 1, assuming it's not too late and that you can get the project back. Dealing with potentially moronic clients is part of being freelance, unfortunately.

Now to satisfy your curiosity: personally, I'd take option 2 because the client is just being an idiot there. And I don't like dealing with idiots. But that's also why I'll never be able to do freelancing, so that's just my two cents, don't take this as advice (or do, but again, consequences and all).


The 2 options would be a dilemma to me since 1. I need work because my bank's returning a 404 already & 2. I hate idiotic people(which the client seems to be - no pun intended) hence me paving a way for a 3rd situation which is to persuade the client to do it my way.

The last message I sent was I'd present the prototype via screen share which I 95% think she won't agree with because I feel like she wants to use my prototype and have another provider develop my work that's why I deleted the balsamiq cloud link.

Thanks for the insight, Quentin!


My response would have been:

"I can make that change, what copy would you like to go there. This was not previously discussed, therefore a standard placeholder text was used."

And if the copy on the page was not in scope, you can also add:

"Creating the copy of the page was not in scope, would you like me to quote that now?"

Also what does your contract state? From the limited information, it sounds highly likely this was an excuse for them to back out, but they may have no grounds for doing so.


There was no contract yet as it was only a prototype. Should I charge clients for a prototype, the next time they ask?

I'm also thinking, judging from what they said on LinkedIn, that they're just giving that excuse to back out or use my prototype to get someone else to develop the prototype. I know it's my fault for not giving a contract before starting to work and I learned my lesson.

Also, I changed the lorem ipsum to hipster ipsum to show that english texts. Is it that hard for clients to picture those placeholders as a place for their own content?

As I'm writing this, I really think that they wanted to see content related to what they do so they could steal it and have someone else develop it. Or they said that they would back out to try to make me desperate for work and agree to how much they want to pay. You know, "clients".


Yea work is work.

My advice is to treat every hour spent as billable. Even when learning about a client's project, that still takes time. Now you may not get payment upfront or win the project, but quotes / estimates should take that into account.


As the saying goes, "the customer is always right".

As a consultant myself, I've learned that clients can sometimes be unreasonable, but it's usually better to just do whatever you have to inorder to keep the client satisfied. Don't take their critique personally, just let them know that your happy to fix the problem for them, and keep it in mind for future work. In fact, learn to love their critique, since it will make you better at what you do!

For this particular client, I doubt how useful it would be to follow up and try to explain further. It doesn't sound they they were unhappy with you or the work you've done, so don't take it personally. They're just trying to visualize the prototype as closely to the final product as possible.


I appreciate the answer, Casey. Would you think that it's a cheap-tactic to get a free prototype? I sure think it is! I wasted 6 hours of my life if it is!


I guess this is over with now but you shouldn't be doing 6 hrs of work for a client before they have accepted your quote.

Get the details, write the quote, then get 50% fee up front, then start the design work.

The kind of people that won't agree to normal business terms are the kind of people that will give you hassle like you have experienced.

If you are desperate, like, about to become homeless desperate, you have no choice, but you need to get some savings built up quickly to give you a buffer and let you avoid clients like this.

The time that they wasted and the extra work these clients expect in either deliverables or just hand-holding are time you could be working for proper clients. I know it's almost irresistible to turn down what seems like free money but you have two choices:

Bite the bullet and turn it down the first time when you really don't want to.

Or get burned a few times until you aren't going to take being messed around any more.


Thank you. I'll keep this in mind. Especially this:

Get the details, write the quote, then get 50% fee up front, then start the design work.

The kind of people that won't agree to normal business terms are the kind of people that will give you hassle like you have experienced.


Just as @sudiukil said. You have 2 choices, it's either be the client's dog, or stand up and leave the moronic client.

But my way is, to persuade the client to agree to your terms.

Which I think is impossible to this client since I haven't heard from them for a week now lol


Then cry in the corner if they won't continue with the deal hahaha


i`d say stop using lorem ipsum and start using the fox statements next time.


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