Website Mockup Guide (2023)

Web Design
Website Mockup Guide (2023)
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: November 10, 2023

If you plan to create a website, a mockup may bring your vision to life and allow you to finalize design concepts before developers begin work. The web design process starts with a sketch that transitions into a wireframe, a foundation for a website mockup creation.

This article reviews everything you need to know about a web page mockup — what it is, why it matters, what tools to use, and how to change it from a static image to an interactive model that developers can use to create a functional website.

What Is a Website Mockup? 

A website mockup is a full-size design model that demonstrates the website’s appearance. It can be a mid-fidelity image with interface elements, placeholder images, and texts. It can also be a high-fidelity image with a complete visual layout. Developers can turn a mockup into a prototype to provide dynamic functionalities.

Designers and stakeholders often use the terms “sketch,” “wireframe,” “mockup,” and “prototype” interchangeably as synonyms. But there are slight differences between them:

  • A sketch is freehand drawing of the design concept. It can be drawn using pen and paper or a digital tool and it’s part of the initial phase of design visualization. 
  • A wireframe is a low-fidelity design deliverable that depicts only basic elements of a user interface (UI) and it serves as a skeleton of the design concept.
  • mockup is a mid-fidelity to a high-fidelity representation of a web design project. It's a static image depicting the visual look of the website.
  • A prototype is high-fidelity, interactive model of a website. Its purpose is to simulate the interaction between a user and an interface, as well as to evaluate user flow and test website usability and functionality. 

Website mockups add form and style to navigation menus, links, buttons, forms, sliders, and other elements, and they provide core visual aspects of design accessibility and usability. That’s why they are an important part of every web design process. If you need help creating website mockups, contact some of the best web design agencies.

Why Is Creating a Web Design Mockup Important? 

Webpage mockups can be a helpful visualization tool for both new designs and redesign projects, as they provide clear insight into the look and feel of the website. Since mockups are created in the middle of the design process, these models are open to UI design experimentation and various element combinations.

Website mockups can be used to: 

  • Decide on color schemes and evaluate color contrast 
  • Choose typography elements like fonts and font sizes  
  • Implement images, videos and other visuals  
  • Evaluate relations between copy and images 
  • Comply with web accessibility recommendations 
  • Ensure that everpage is consistent with the overall design 
  • Experiment with styles to create several different mockups 

Mockups are an excellent way to showcase website design and get client feedback. That’s why mockups are typically a deliverable that designers show to their clients and/or stakeholders.

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Four Steps on How To Create a Website Mockup

If you have a website wireframe as a structural model of the website, you can upgrade it by adding color, typography, content, and other features to complete a mockup. Follow these steps to create a website mockup:

  1. Step #1: Create a Wireframe
  2. Step #2: Design the Mockup
  3. Step #3: Test and Redesign
  4. Step #4: Turn Mockup Into a Prototype

Step #1: Create a Wireframe

Before designing your website, create a rough plan called a low-fidelity wireframe. You will understand what elements to include (like pictures and buttons) and where they should go on the page.

Wireframes don't need to be detailed; you can make rough sketches on paper or using wireframe tools. You can also make a separate wireframe for mobile devices so that your website works well on phones, ensuring that it looks good on all devices when you launch it.

Step #2: Design the Mockup

Using your wireframe as a foundation, design mockups to add visuals and refine the layouts you created in your wireframe. Incorporate your brand's colors, typography, content, imagery, and navigation menus. Ensure consistency throughout your website. Add design features individually until you’re completely satisfied with the mockup’s look and feel.

Step #3: Test and Redesign

Conduct user testing by providing your design to other team members, user testing participants, and eventually clients. Get feedback on general feelings about the interface and usability for specific tasks. Apply suggestions and test again. Remember that mockups are conceived as drafts; you can easily change them to produce a perfect final version.

Step #4: Turn Mockup Into a Prototype

When all testing participants (including you) are happy with the website mockup, turn it into a prototype, an interactive model of the website that simulates the experience of using a website as close to reality as possible. Use a prototyping program to do the most of your usability testing, discovering new areas for improvement and redesigning until you're confident enough to hand your designs off to developers.

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Top Five Webpage Mockup Tools for Your Design Projects 

Website mockup tools streamline the design process by transforming your design concepts into finished products. Here are our top five picks, with their pros and cons:

  1. Tool #1: Sketch 
  2. Tool #2: Adobe XD 
  3. Tool #3: Figma 
  4. Tool #4: InVision Studio 
  5. Tool #5: Whimsical 

Tool #1: Sketch 

  • Overview: Sketch is a design platform for macOS users that enables designers to create mockups and work on design solutions with team members, clients and stakeholders.
  • Pros: It’s fast and reliable. Beyond integrated options, Sketch offers more possibilities through implementing third-party plugins.  
  • Cons: The biggest downside of Sketch is that it’s available only for macOS users and it requires macOS Mojave or a newer version. 
  • Price: For individuals, theres a one-time price of $99 for the first year and a price of $79 for every year that followsFor teams, the price is $9 per user per month. 
A home page screenshot of a website mockup tool Sketch
[Source: Sketch] 

Tool #2: Adobe XD 

  • Overview: Adobe Experience Design CC, also known as Adobe XD, was Adobe’s response to the popularity of Sketch. With the same target audience – UX/UI designers – Adobe XD has quickly gained momentum and became one of the most used tools. 
  • Pros: Adobe XD is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) so it comes together with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, programs which designers often use to create mockups as well. For anyone familiar with Photoshop’s and Illustrator’s interface, there’s a much shorter learning curve for Adobe XD.   
  • Cons: Even though users can get access to the whole Adobe CC package, it can be a bit of an expensive solution.    
  • Price: For individuals, there is a free option for personal use, an option to purchase only Adobe XD for $9.99 per month and an option to buy the whole CC package for $52.99 per monthFor businessesAdobe XD costs $22.99 per month and the price for a CC package is $79.99 per month. 
A home page screenshot of a web design mockup tool Adobe XD
[Source: Adobe XD] 

Tool #3: Figma 

  • Overview: Figma is a design tool for creating vector graphics, vector editing and prototyping. It’s one of the most popular and best-rated tools on the market. 
  • Pros: It’s an online tool, but it provides offline features for macOS and Windows. Besides that, its accompanying mobile app, Figma Mirror, is available on both iOS and Android devices. Plus, it offers real-time collaboration and commenting.   
  • Cons: There is a version control function within the tool, but it can sometimes change the whole version even if you want to tweak a single element. This can lead to version mishaps. 
  • Price: There is a Free plan for up to two editors and three projects, while the Professional plan costs $12 per editor per month and the Organization plan costs $45 per editor per month (billed annually). 
A home page screenshot of a website mockup tool Figma
[Source: Figma] 

Tool #4: InVision Studio 

  • Overview: InVision Studio is a screen design platform that helps designers, developers and businesses of all sizes create and manage web wireframes, mockups and prototypes.
  • Pros: Its clean, easy-to-use dashboardtemplates and infinite canvas enable users to create quickly, while real-time collaboration and testing features save time in the overall design workflow. Additionally, InVision provides a cloud-based Freehand tool as a digital whiteboard for collaboration. 
  • Cons: There is no support for reusable styles and no possibility of building a library of reusable components. 
  • Price: For individual and small teams there is a fully-featured Free plan, while the Pro plan costs $9.95 per user per month and the Enterprise plan comes with a price on demand.
A home page screenshot of a webpage mockup tool InVision Studio
[Source: InVision Studio] 

Tool #5: Whimsical 

  • OverviewWhimsical is a visual workspace with an infinite canvas that designers and project managers can use focreating wireframes, mocking up a page layout and debugging user flows.
  • Pros: It includes a rich library of configurable UI elements, unlimited team members to collaborate in real-time and thousands of categorized, searchable icons that can be used for free in wireframes and mockups.   
  • Cons: The possibility to share a link to a mockup exists only if the document is public and there are limited capabilities for more detailed wireframes and mockups  
  • Price: The Starter plan is free for up to four boards. For an unlimited number of boards, the price is $12 per user per month, billed monthly or $10 per user per month, billed annually.
 A home page screenshot of a website mockup tool Whimsical
[Source: Whimsical] 

How To Transition From a Static Mockup to aInteractive Prototype 

You can use all of the beforementioned tools to create interactive prototypes out of a website mockupThis is beneficial because mockups are static images and prototypes are interactive, working models of your website.

If you need to test the usability of a website or evaluate user flow to find and fix issues before launching a new website, prototypes are the perfect solution to that. Plus, using a library of reusable components can be an important part of a modular web design process.    

Tools like Figma, InVision, Adobe XD and Sketch have built-in solutions for prototyping which can save a lot of time in the web development process. These platforms are also the most popular tools for real-time collaboration and quick design iteration.

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Find Your Inspiration and Start Designing 

Design (or redesign) of your website is going to depend on the purpose of the website, industry, niche and desired functionalities.  

Iyou don’t know where to start or if you need a boost of inspiration, you can browse through online collections of visuals, mockups and prototypes from designers around the world.  

Some of the best platforms for inspiration are 

  • Dribbble and Behance – two of the most popular platforms for showcasing work from designers, web developers, illustrators, photographers and other creatives  
  • Awwwards – a platform where every website gets evaluated for design, usability and content quality and the best are awarded on a daily, monthly and anual basis; it's a great place to find the best website solutions from designers and agencies around the globe
  • Muzli by InVision – a Chrome extension that helps you discover inspiring design while browsing the internet
  • One Page Love – a collection of inspiring one-page websites spanning across 30 categories 
  • pttrns – a collection of interface patterns and design resources categorized by OS platform, interface category, year of creation and UI elements
  • Typewolf – a valuable resource for typography enthusiasts and everyonwho wants to find font inspiration for upcoming design projects
  • Hoverstat – a collection of alternative web design, code and content solutions that experiment with interactivity, typography, copy and other elements 

You can also find inspiration in our list of best web designs of 2023 to unleash your creativity and start designing a professional website for your business.

Key Takeaways on Website Mockup

To wrap it up, creating a useful and highly functional mockup includes these steps:

  • You can start with a freehand sketch to capture the design idea on paper 
  • Choose the right mockup tool based on the needs of your design project 
  • Transform the sketch into a wireframe to add structure to web pages 
  • Add colors, typography, content, visuals and other UI elements to make a mockup 
  • Transition from a static mockup to dynamic state by creating an interactive prototype 
  • Collaborate with your teammates, clients and stakeholders to get valuable feedback 
  • Test your website design prototype for usability, functionality and user flow 
  • Iterate patterns as you go to complete the design before handing it over to developers 

While creating a mockup for every page, keep in mind a bigger picture of the overall website design to create pages that are consistent in look and feel and aligned with the brand style. 

Website Mockup FAQs

1. Where can I find website mockups?

You can find website mockups on the following websites:

  • House of Mockups
  • Mockup Maison
  • The Templates
  • Mockup Tree
  • The Mockup Club
  • Artboard Studio
  • Mockuper
  • Mckups
  • Smartmockups
  • Mockuuups

2. Should I use mockups on my website?

Using mockups is optional, but they can facilitate and automate your design process. As a result, the website you’re creating will look more professional and polished, while clients will get a picture of the finished project in the early design stage.

3. What is the best free mockup website?

Numerous websites provide free website mockups and the best one depends on your personal preferences and needs. Still, we recommend Mckups, Mockupmark, and Smartmockups as top three options.


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