Mockups vs Prototypes: Always Choose Prototypes Over Mockups

Before I tell you about the terrible solution, let me paint a picture of a very cool problem.

Designers typically create site designs using Photoshop or Illustrator—using multiple layers and files to show different pages, hover states, and screen sizes. Then, after repeated discussions among stakeholders (and awaiting approval), the designs are either implemented by the designer, or passed on to an unrelated developer.

A back-and-forth is needed when they ask for clarification on your design details, when they ultimately point out technical limitations, and when they deviate from the design prescribed. Depending on the extent of the changes, the client may have to recompile, which sometimes leads to annoying three-way pushups.

It is disabled. Back-and-forth repetition can easily multiply the development time. The solution, as you might have guessed, is to replace the mockup with a fully working prototype – in this case, a real interactive website. This is very powerful because working prototypes are:

  • Closer to the final product, so it’s faster to go from the approved design to the final site.
  • in the same medium as the final product. So everything you create in your prototype can be achieved with HTML and CSS, unlike Photoshop.
  • visual and interactive. Customers and people in general find it difficult to visualize the final product based only on still images.
  • Better to implement accountability. You can open prototypes on a variety of devices and blindly assume that your design breakpoints are reasonable in a real-world environment.
  • More interesting and exciting for the customer. You can add interesting animations and the UI (user interface) flourishes to make the design come alive. Given Webflow’s powerful interaction features, it’s a really fun, unassuming add-on at times.

Let’s dive into these benefits and explain why they are so valuable to you, your customer, and your general conscience as a designer. The more you can appreciate live prototypes, the more you’ll get used to using them efficiently, and the happier your customers will be.

Prototypes are closer to the final product

When a prototype is approved by the client, it’s incredibly quick to wrap the site up and have a final deliverable because the prototype was almost startable. This is much faster than having to implement your designs in code or contracting a developer to do it yourself. Avoid creating the site twice, once in Photoshop and once in code.

Consider how, when using Photoshop, you can create design elements that aren’t really possible using HTML and CSS – potentially requiring you to redesign them when you start building the actual site. force to. Depending on how big the change is, this may require re-approval from the customer – which can not only increase development time, but also cause them to lose trust in you. Using HTML and CSS to create a prototype ensures that everything you design is possible in the final product.

There will be no surprises for the client when the final product and prototype look almost identical, which is not ideal when translating static mockups to websites. Fonts especially in Photoshop and the web are notorious for rendering differently, which at times leads to last-minute font changes that may not seem “right” to the client.

Prototypes are easier to visualize

Visualizing the final product can be extremely difficult. Sure, designers can easily visualize the final product from a mockup. However, the average person has trouble seeing beyond a simple representation to appreciate the potential for beauty and functionality.

This is where working prototypes really shine. Instead of handing your customers a series of PSDs, images, or drawings—where everything is static and lifeless—give them a living example they can play with.

It’s important to let your customers click on buttons and links so they can see how they change and where they link—rather than handing them a folder of PSDs they need to navigate through to get the full story. . The easier it is for clients to appreciate your design work, the happier they will be, and the more generally they will agree to do the work.

CEO Piyush Gupta

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