Creating an interface is a complex, time-consuming task that consists of many steps. At each step, the designer can use tools to speed up the layout development process. Customers get a graphic representation of their products faster, and designers have more time for creativity.
What Are Mockups?
Mockups are ready-made graphic templates of various objects that are used to demonstrate the appearance of a future product. For example, a designer can upload a free mockup of badges to apply a visual style to the company. The client will see what the employee’s badge will look like, and the designer doesn’t have to render it from scratch.
Newbies often confuse sketches, wireframes, mockups and prototypes. To settle the controversy, let’s briefly discuss each tool. A “sketch” refers to a hand-drawn sketch, which is very far from the real product. A wireframe is a scheme of the project reflecting only a visual “skeleton” without illustrations and decorative elements. A prototype is a working model that already resembles the final product. Finally, a mockup is a graphic “shell” that resembles the project only in appearance.
A mockup doesn’t show a product in action; it only shows the visual component. The Tesla mockup, for example, will show the outside beauty, but it will not tell us anything about the car’s interior. It is possible to make a template interactive if you want, but such tasks are very rare.
The main component missing from the list of design tools is the prototype. The prototype is the most precise outline of the future project. If the wireframe reflects the visuals, the prototype focuses on the dynamics. Users can check how menus or other components work. A paper model becomes a physical object with unique properties.
Features of Mockups
A good mockup is a highly accurate prototype of the product to come. It creates a consistent visual image and reveals all aspects of the interface. Members of the customer’s team can not only see a sketch on paper or a black and white wireframe without details, but can truly immerse themselves in the development.
Mockups are not compulsory; they are suitable for certain tasks, which will be talked about in the next section of this article. Because of their visual fidelity, ready-made templates are ideal for presenting digital products. Their main purpose is to gather feedback and protect the designer from endless revisions.
Mockups are great for workflows, so don’t avoid them. Ready-made templates are as flexible as plasticine. You can use a ready-made template, edit it to suit your needs, and save time for creativity.
What Tasks Can Be Solved by Using Mockups
You have already found out that mockups are suitable for presenting a product and for getting the most out of it. Designers and customers often have disagreements during the mockup process, and ready-made templates will be most useful in such situations. Clients can get a better idea of what the final product will look like, while designers will get rid of the editing cycle.
It is important to understand that the mockup is not perfect either. You will have to spend time to find a ready-made template for your tasks that can reveal the characteristics of a digital project. There are a lot of sites with mockup libraries on the internet, but you will definitely have to go through several ready-made options to find a suitable solution.
The mockups will help to detect flaws that are not visible when designing an interface without taking into account the peculiarities of the system for which it will be adapted. Mobile operating systems have their own nuances, while desktop interfaces have more room for creativity.
Eliminating bugs at the design stage will save money, nerves and the company’s reputation. It often happens that after an application is released to the public, corrective updates have to be released urgently. This can be avoided by using mockups as a tool for prototyping with pinpoint accuracy.