Working on a web design mockup is about planning every idea beforehand. The process includes some essential steps that include deciding on the wireframe necessary to arrange the content properly by choosing graphic software for building engaging visual effects. The next stage is to focus on the organization of the web page mockup, with the mission here to identify the core layout elements. As soon as these stages are complete, it’s time to start building a full-scale website design mockup from scratch, adding all the necessary features to help you create the most catchy designs.
Why is it necessary to create a mockup website? It provides a clear vision of how your future site and its pages will look, and you will have the opportunity to customize your resource before you actually start coding. Many amateur designers are confident that mockups do not actually differ from one site to another, but they are wrong to consider all mockups as the same.
Working with different softwares, tools, fidelity, and platforms may eventually lead to different results. For this reason, it is vital to have a clear understanding of your website objectives, and a basic idea of how to create a website mockup. You might need a powerful tool that will support and maintain all phases of the process.
Whether you choose a graphic editor or decide to code it yourself, you will need to follow the essential guide that explains how to create a mockup of a website.
Tip #1 – Start With Brainstorming
In-depth research comes first, regardless of whether you plan to create a complete website or simply a mockup. You need to gather as much information about your future resource as possible. This is where you need to define the key goals of your project. Set clear tasks that your website is supposed to accomplish in future. Get the clear vision of your buyer persona or target audience in order to choose the proper content. Make sure you consider all of the following issues:
- Set website objectives – what goals should your website have? What missions should it complete?
- Define your buyer persona – who will visit your website and why? Divide your potential audience into categories. Identify their age, specialization, preferences and other aspects to get a clear picture of your buyer persona;
- Deliver relevant content – make sure you deliver a proper content that matches your target audience’s likes and preferences;
- Look for competitors – find a list of 5-7 websites that take a leading position in the same niche. Look at their designs and functional features. The idea is not to do something similar — but to do it even better!
Tip #2 – Decide on End-to-End Tools
How do you create a website mockup using end-to-end UX tools? Their main benefits include ease of use and the ability to cover multiple design issues. Some tools are similar to advanced platforms like Sketch or Photoshop; the only difference is that Photoshop requires at least basic skills, while end-to-end UX tools look much simpler, especially when it comes to creating website mockup templates from scratch.
Modern tools like Principle come with advanced design systems to deliver 100% consistency of the mockup through the entire building process. The feature seems to be a good option for those planning to create several mockups at the same time. Choosing the right tool may seem daunting, unless you consider some of the baseline aspects. Keep in mind the above-mentioned aspects to help choose the right bunch of end-to-end tools.
Tip #3 – Start with Website Mockups with a Low Fidelity Level
The fidelity level suggests if a chosen web design tool is powerful enough to create an interactive and visually appealing mockup. Low fidelity mockups are a good alternative to advanced designing tools or website mockup coding that requires special technical skills. Tools with lower fidelity appear to be simpler instruments to help turn the process of designing a template into simple sketching on paper.
Moreover, they let designers leap over the process of wireframing and depict the detailed positioning of every element represented on the page. Once you require some more complex platforms, you can opt for Moqup and other similar programs. They deliver a set of baseline editing and designing tools out-of-the-box, in addition to libraries and element selections to speed up the process of creating a mockup.
Tip #4 – Opt for Advanced Mockup Tools
Some designers may require solutions that are more robust when it comes to website mockups. This is where platforms like Framer may help. They put an ease on the designing process and do not require any dedicated coding or web design skills. On the other hand, you should note that choosing such programs results in a lack of consistency and puts an ease on the workflow.
Another drawback is that dedicated tools do not provide stylistic solutions — you need to handle that issue on your own. On the other hand, it means that you can concentrate further on the clear advantages delivered by dedicated design tools.
Before you opt for a particular solution, review our tip #2 to see if it provides enough fidelity and consistency to meet your web design expectations. If you still need a simple solution for wireframing and sketching with no special skills, dedicated tools will be a real bargain.
Tip #5 – Ensure a Mobile Responsive Mockup
Since the majority of online users have gone mobile, creating a mobile-friendly website is a must in order to target the largest possible target audience. The idea is to provide easy access to your website from various devices, despite OS or carrier, and this is where fluid layouts can help. Let’s start with defining the major layout types, which include:
- Fixed Layouts – all your webpages will have the same dimensions despite screen sizes or devices;
- Fluid Layouts – these layouts change depending on the users’ screen resolution and dimensions. A web page tries to occupy all the available space and ensures a mobile-responsive overview of the website.
You need to decide whether your website is mainly accessed by desktop users or it should cover a mobile target audience, as well.
Tip #6 – Choose Dedicated Software for Design and Graphics
More skilled and experienced designers prefer using advanced software like Illustrator or Photoshop, which are more complicated, compared to Framer or Principle, and require special skills and acknowledgment. The main benefit of these programs is the ability to provide a total control over each pixel and element. The tools let designers achieve award-winning levels of realism, in addition to a decent level of visual fidelity. Don’t be fooled, though — using Photoshop can appear to be less challenging than it really are.
Such programs are the best choice for professional designers who work under a specific brand and constantly need to meet special requirements and standards. The branding rules may include particular schemes and font colors, resolutions, and element dimensions. This is where tools like Photoshop appear to be essential helpers. Apart from color options, the platform delivers an extended list of functions like moving objects and visual tools that are rather easy to use.
Tip #7 – Opt for Coded Website Mockups
This tip requires deep coding knowledge and is useless to amateur web designers and newbies. Opting for coded mockups requires at least a basic knowledge of coding, so not the best default choice for beginners. Despite all the complexities and challenges when using this type of mockup, most reputable and recognized designers tend to support the code introduction during the mockup phase, and not before the prototype stage.
Getting deep into code provides a deep vision of each and every element. You can decide on things you are able to implement, even when it appears to be impossible. In every way, each website design ends up with HTML/CSS. The only problem here is that early coding may result in problems running the website in future, as the slightest change can affect the resource. So, avoid coding earlier than required, as it can eventually limit your design opportunities.
Coding does not require any special tools. You actually design a mockup using your browser, and that’s it! Moreover, this path is likely to make the development process faster, especially if the mockup already contains HTML code as its foundation.
Designing a solid mockup is not that simple; however, today’s tools offer plenty of opportunities with different complexity. It does not actually matter if you are a professional web designer or a beginner, you will still have access to software for different mockup levels. Start with something less complex and try end-to-end tools. If the level of fidelity is not high enough, go to the next stage and opt for more dedicated and advanced platforms.
Specialized design software, like Photoshop, is a good option for more dedicated designers. Beginners will need some time to obtain necessary experience and acknowledgment, although some design instruments are rather easy to use.
Handling code is an option for true daredevils who are not afraid of complications and setbacks. This path can speed up the development process, and lets you decide which visual and graphic features you can apply, and which you cannot. On the other hand, dealing with website code often comes with some design limitations. It’s up to you to decide which path to choose. Whatever you do, ensure that you can meet the project expectations and ensure a smooth website is up and running, while also capturing user engagement.
Here at Fireart.Studio, we help you avoid the slightest difficulties when it comes to creating your website mockup. A team of experienced specialists handles each design stage and implements the latest web technologies to build a solid and engaging site that will stand out. Contact us to ensure a strong representation on the web!