Jun 16 2011
Working as a designer has its hazards. One such hazard is the indecisiveness of clients. They’ll say they want one thing but then when you deliver it they’ll change their mind. This has left many designers in the difficult situation of renegotiating contracts or taking a loss and making the requested changes.
There are many ways to mitigate this known issue with the design business. One of the best is including iterations of explorative designs into the original contract. Here you outline ahead of time that you’ll provide two or three different designs which will help the client visualize what they want. It’s a win-win for everyone since the designers get paid for their work and the client gets the product they want.
This still presents the issue that clients want to pay as little as possible. In order to keep the budget low designers need to find the quickest and easiest way to create mockups. One such tool for this is the newly released Mockup Builder. It’s a fully functional online design tool specifically set up for creating mockups to share with clients.
Mockup Builder is built with Microsoft Silverlight, which is freely available for anyone to download. Once you arrive on the design page you’ll find a familiar desktop-like interface. It comes with a menu navigation including File, Edit, View, and Help. And then there are sub menus to access common objects you can add to the page. These include alert boxes, drop downs, scroll bars, text, and every other conceivable item that might find its way into a design. Mockup Builder is intended for all types of software applications including websites, desktop software, or mobile apps.
The power of Mockup Builder isn’t just in their tool alone. Since it’s online you can readily share the mockups with clients. This allows you to quickly close the feedback loop so you can begin the design refinement process. The designs can be shared online, exported to PNG format, or exported to PDF.
Mockup Builder has another helpful feature which is somewhat subtle. On one hand it’s an extremely well thought out tool that can do just about anything you’d like, on the other hand its design presentation comes with an unfinished look. The lines that comprise your designs aren’t all perfectly straight. They have a hand drawn look and feel to them. The font, (which can be altered), bears an uncanny resemblance to Comic Sans. All this makes your designs look like a mockup, not like final designs. This is actually very helpful in dealing with clients. Clients tend to not understand the concept of a mockup design and can sometimes overreact if things aren’t exactly as they want. The unfinished presentation of Mockup Builder’s designs makes it clear that this is not a final design and that all aspects of it can be modified.
Handling UI design projects takes much more effort than simply learning Photoshop or other design software. It requires an iterative process of working with internal or external clients until the final design is agreed upon. Mockup Builder is a powerful tool that can help you quickly produce mockup designs. With it designers can spend less time creating mockups which will result in better final designs.