Interested in creating your own website? A webpage mockup can help bring your vision to life and allow you to settle on design ideas before developers get to work.
The web design process starts with a sketch that transitions into a wireframe. Using the wireframe, a website mockup is created. Designers then turn this mockup into an interactive prototype and hand it off to developers for project completion.
Here, we'll go through everything you need to know about a web page mockup - what it is, why it matters, which tools to use and how to transform it from a static image to an interactive model and it hand over to developers to make a functional website out of it.
A website mockup is a full-size model of a design that demonstrates what the website would look like.
It can be a mid-fidelity image, consisting of all necessary interface elements but with placeholder images and texts, or it can be a high-fidelity image with a complete visual layout. A mockup can be turned into a prototype to provide dynamic functionalities that can be tested.
Designers and stakeholders often use sketches, wireframes, mockups and prototypes interchangeably as synonyms. But there are slight differences between each of them, so let's start with definitions.
Website mockups are an important part of every web design process. They 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.
Webpage mockups can be a useful 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:
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.
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.
For this, you can use some of the popular design tools like InVision, Figma, Sketch and similar ones. To help you decide which tool to use, we are going to present the pros and cons of each of them.
But before that, a few things to keep in mind while designing a website mockup:
The best practice is to use a digital tool to create hi-fi mockups that will truly represent your design vision. Using such tools enables you to download your mockup as PSD file or a vector image (SVG file) to show it to clients and hand it off to developers.
There are many online design toolkits, applications, platforms and other software solutions for creating design wireframes, mockups and prototypes.
Each of these tools can help you:
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the top five web design mockup tools.
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, there’s a one-time price of $99 for the first year and a price of $79 for every year that follows. For teams, the price is $9 per user per month.
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 month. For businesses, Adobe XD costs $22.99 per month and the price for a CC package is $79.99 per month.
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).
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 dashboard, templates 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.
Overview: Whimsical is a visual workspace with an infinite canvas that designers and project managers can use for creating 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.
You can use all of the beforementioned tools to create interactive prototypes out of a website mockup. This 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.
Design (or a redesign) of your website is going to depend on the purpose of the website, industry, niche and desired functionalities.
If you 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:
You can also find inspiration in our list of best web designs of 2020 to unleash your creativity and start designing a professional website for your business.
To wrap it up, creating a useful and highly functional mockup includes these steps:
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.