How to Build a Professional Website: Part 2 – Mockups

November 22, 2017
by Daniel Klein

When building a website, it’s essential to understand all of the tools available to you so you can use them to create a compelling user experience. Website mockups allow you to see what your site will look like before it goes live. Not only does this ease communication between you and your developer, but it can also help eliminate time-consuming mistakes during the build process.

What are Website Mockups?

Simply put, website mockups are quick drawings of user interfaces (UIs). These typically take the form of browser screens but can refer to any element of your website that users interact with. Mockups show your webpage and the various buttons and options presented to users. They show you where these buttons and options are placed on the page, what text fields or buttons exist, and any other features of your website.

Having solid website mockups will help your web developer get a clear sense of what you want. This lets them  build pages faster with fewer defects, meaning less rework. They also help by giving you a sneak peek into what the web developer is building so you can offer specific feedback about different aspects of the mockup. These conversations between you and your developer ease the process at all stages.

Throughout the entire build process, you should be having meaningful conversations and touch points with your web developer so that they deliver exactly what you want,and don’t stray too far away from your vision without your approval.

Website mockups are very easy to build. Most web designers will have software tools like Balsamiq available to demo mockups to you. In a typical mockup meeting, the web developer or engagement manager will show you the website mockups they’ve built for different pages on your site. They should be familiar enough with your vision and the mockup software to be able to ask for and incorporate your edits into the design on-the-fly. This is a great way for you to actively see your website being built!

website mockup example

Bringing it All Together

Often, you and your web developer may be in different locations. Virtual mockup meetings can bridge that gap in geography and let you see the changes on your own screen.

Website mockups are not just useful for avoiding miscommunications. Another key benefit of mockups is the ability to visualize your website. Even if you think you know what you want, it can be difficult to fully conceptualize your needs without seeing the actual site. Often, when it’s laid out in front of you, you realize that your original idea isn’t necessarily what you actually need or even want.

This is a normal part of the development process. Rather than struggling through rounds and rounds or reworks, using tools like mockups let you absorb changes on the go without incurring cost or schedule overruns in your web developer’s contract.

Reworking the same aspect of your site multiple times because you struggle to communicate your vision to your developer is costly. As a business owner, the time and money saved, especially toward the end of your development experience, can have a real impact on your ability to succeed.

Other Considerations

While website mockups are useful for clarifying and bringing your vision to life, it’s important to know what you need to create. In a previous post, we covered three critical things that every real estate website needs to be successful. No matter what kind of UI you’re creating, whether it’s a real estate website like the example in our previous blog or any other type of site, the same rules apply. Considering goals like site flow with your web developer (before having any discussions about details like graphics or content) is an absolute necessity.

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