Good planning is essential to the success of any project, and web design is no different. With good planning, your site will have better architecture, more organized pages, and more rewarding user experience. Planning includes creating a mockup of your design. Here’s how it makes a big difference in how your design turns out.
What Is A Mockup?
A mockup for web design is a draft of your final site that demonstrates its features, organization, etc. It’s essentially a rough draft. With a good mockup, you’ll be able to identify key areas of improvement in your site, demonstrate to users how your site navigates, and learn what works for your design.
An effective mockup usually starts with a good wireframe, which will allow you to create a basic, colorless draft of what the site should look like. Here you’ll organize pages and navigation, and set up the basic foundation for the rest of the site.
There are hundreds of wireframe tools out there, but the best wireframe tools offer additional services such as cloud sharing and collaboration and drag and drop design. This makes coding minimal to none when designing your site’s structure.
What You Should Include In A Wireframe
Wireframes ideally have no color or special fonts, but simply a basic layout of the site’s architecture and page organization. You should be able to demonstrate where the navigation bar is and other key site elements via your wireframe.
Avoid any graphics or nice fonts at this point in time. The wireframe isn’t supposed to distract or bedazzle, but in fact, should only display the functionality of the site. All of the aesthetics will be added later.
Wireframe To Mockup
Once your wireframe is complete and you understand the basics of your site you can create a mockup of the final product. This will have more detail and color but isn’t quite usable yet. You want a prototype, so to speak, for your site. Something users can use and give feedback on.
The mockup will display the website’s color scheme, test different fonts, and provide a general overview of what the site’s pages will look like. You can experiment with all kinds of combinations here, and while there are no right or wrong combinations with color schemes, it’s important to know which colors blend well together so your site doesn’t look amateur.
With web design, you must plan ahead. Testing colors, fonts, and other elements of your design on the fly after a project have been completed is a good way to turn away users and frustrate yourself, your team, and your clients.
Utilizing wireframes, mockups, and prototypes give you a chance to fix costly errors before they become a part of the final product. This can save countless hours of edits and hundreds of dollars in labor costs.
Keeping your client updated and adjusting to their changes is also much simpler when you use a wireframe or mockup. The client will get a clear representation of exactly what the finished site will look like, and you can adjust your design as you go per the client’s requests.
Good Products Generate Loyal Customers
When a user visits your site, you want to turn them into a paying customer. This is called conversion, and you want to keep it high while maintaining the expectations of your current customer base.
Within ten seconds your site should display a call to action and draw the user in. This is where aesthetic design comes into play. Your website’s design should capture the users’ attention and draw them in for a closer look at your brand.
Planning Helps You Pick The Right Target Audience
The brand or product you’re designing a site for will likely have a loyal customer base, your target audience. These are the people the product is designed for, the ones who had a problem your product or service offered to remedy.
Without identifying your target audience, you’ll have a hard time directing your marketing efforts and your product may not be successful. Do a little planning before you design your site. Find out what the target audience wants out of sites like the one you’re designing.
Find out which demographic you’re marketing to. Research what users are looking for from a site like yours. Check on your competitor’s design and see what the customers enjoyed about that brand. Compare and contrast, but most of all, ask the customers.
No one knows better than the customers themselves. You can reach your target audience by doing surveys or even simply sending out feedback emails. Pay attention to what your audience wants.
Your Website Represents Your Business
Perhaps the greatest reason for planning in web design is that your site represents the digital presence of your company. The markets have expanded to the internet, making customer service and purchasing a two-front battle. Make sure your website reflects your business
in a positive way. After all, one bad impression has the power to turn away potential customers.
Goo planning should be at the forefront of your thoughts when designing a website. It will affect the first impressions of new users and make future updates simpler to implement. Start with a sketch, then work your way through wireframing, mockups, and prototyping, and remember to listen to your client’s needs. They’re likely to change their mind on one or more items, and you’ll want to edit in real time to avoid costly mistakes later on.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.