The design phase of a website is a fairly standard process for me. I design mock-ups in Photoshop, export them into gif/jpg/png, and send them to the client for approval. Once approved, I slice and dice it and HTMLarize and CSSasize it into an actual webpage. There’s nothing out of the ordinary with this process, and I think it’s what most designers do as well.
I have, however, encountered a few problems with presenting mock-ups to clients. As web-savvy individuals, it’s quite easy to grasp and understand the concept that mock-ups are simply static images that depict what a site would look like. What I’ve found though is that, for everyone else, the idea is incredibly difficult to wrap their mind around.
I always make it as clear as I can that what they are looking at is a static and flat image of their potential site design. Still, I always get questions and comments around:
- How do I edit the text on this?
- How come I can’t highlight text?
- The website is too small (occurs because the browser has shrunken the image by default)!
- I don’t like the white space that surrounds the site.
- Can we center the site?
To some extent, I can understand the confusion. They’re looking at something that looks like a website that is inside a browser. But oddly enough… it doesn’t act like a website. What’s going on?!
Today’s appeal to the wisdom of the crowds:
How do you present mock-ups to your clients?
The following thoughts on how to improve my situation have already occurred to me:
- Place the image on a webpage? People can probably better identify an image when it appears as they normally see them.
- Use some kind of web-based application to showcase mock-ups? It reinforces the idea that it’s something on ‘display’ and is not a live example.
- Export mock-ups in PDF? That way they’re not viewing it in a browser, so there’s less expectations for it to function like a website.
- Skip photoshop and design in HTML? I actually used to do this before I became more comfortable with Photoshop. There are a few debates on this one, and I think it comes down to whatever process best enables your creativity.
Your wisdom on what to do with my troublesome client proved to be so impressive that I wanted to throw this one to you as well. So, how do you manage mock-ups?
Even if you’re not a designer, I’d love to hear about how you present drafts to your clients. Go!