What Is A Website Mockup Design?

Website Mockup Design

A website mockup design is a visual guide that gives developers a detailed picture of what the page is meant to look like. A mockup is a static design of a web page or application that features many of its final design elements (but is not functional and not quite as polished).

Mockups can go by many names, like schematics, page blueprints, and wireframes. But regardless of the name your designer chooses to use, what they’re creating is the same. The website mockup design is where your designer will set the themes for the page, create any font and color codes, as well as create any assets that the developers will need when building the actual page. They often include some placeholder data or images where certain pieces of content will be pulled from the live site’s media library.

 

How Do Mockups Fit Into The Web Development Process?

In terms of the actual development process, mockups fall at the crucial handoff between your design and development teams. The usual workflow of creating a new page can be reduced the five steps really, step 3 of which is the mockup:

 

Basic Web Design-To-Development Workflow

  1. Ideation – In the ideation stage you and your designer can sync up and discuss what the focus is for the page. Who is your audience, what value is the page providing? How will users navigate to it? What features (clickable, interactive, or otherwise) do you want included? And most importantly – how would you like all this information visually and thematically represented?
  2. Wireframing – Based on that discussion, your designer will likely design a loose wireframe of the functionality of the page. This will show the “layers” of the page design and distinguish between navigation, headers/footers, the background, and the actual blocks of the page. These can range from sophisticated presentations using Figma and other tools, or even be as basic as a cocktail napkin drawing.
  3. Mockup & Handoff – This is where the designer truly gets to flex their creative talents. The website design mockup itself will be where your designer takes the wireframe and starts to craft the actual backgrounds, assets, and images that will make up the page. As opposed to what we non-designers might think, these are all different assets that are designed individually, then assembled by the designer. This way when the developers need to reference a certain media asset in their code, they know exactly which part of any page they’re referencing.
  4. Prototyping & Approvals – After your designer completes the mockup design and your team has had time to approve it, it’s time to hand it over to your developers. They will take the website design mockup and turn it into a coded reality on your website. Most likely, they’ll start with a prototype to test out the functionality or any complex interactions your designer has included in the mockup. Once they have your approval that the fundamental functions of the page are working, they’ll finish building out the rest of the page according to the design mockup.
  5. Live Push – And there you are – from the moment your CEO had the idea that “we need a new page about X” all the way through the hands of your designers and developers, here were are at the moment of publication. Make sure you test the page (using either a staging site or a temporary permalink so it doesn’t interfere with your actual domain) before pushing live. Once all lights are green lit – it’s time to push your new page live and start building your internal links towards your new asset. After all, there’s no point in building a new page if nobody is going to find it.

 

Useful Website Mockup Design Tools

There are countless design tools that allow designers to create easily shareable and editable design assets with developers. When it comes to which design tool your team uses it’s truly a matter of taste. However, when it comes to sharing with team members who may need some room for back and forth and follow up questions, the chosen tool Directive trusts most is Figma.

The ability to leave notations and explanations for where data will be pulled from and what functionalities aren’t represented in the static mockup is a huge timesaver for our dev timeline turnaround. This is very important to consider when calculating timelines for new page builds. Just because the mockup is done doesn’t mean the page can simply be slapped up onto the site.

 

Things To Keep In Mind When Designing A Mockup

Web page development is its own project in and of itself. And depending on the complexity of your website mockup design, you may find your dev timelines extending to account for the complexity of the build. So make sure you maintain a balance of creative freedom and practicality when designing your mockups.

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