The process of building a custom website can be a lengthy one, depending on the complexity of the site functions. However, there is one step of the process that always seems to delay the progress: reviewing and approving mock-ups. This is not to say that mock-ups don’t deserve serious consideration, but often items that are simply examples in the mock-ups become sticking points. It can be difficult to look past pieces like headlines or imagery when they aren’t in line with your vision for the site, it’s important to remember that these things aren’t final.
When reviewing your site mock-ups, having a full understanding of the items that are final once the sign off is received and the pieces that may be changed at any time will expedite the process and ensure that you stay on track with your projected launch date. Below we’ve outlined the items in the mockups that you are agreeing to upon signing off and the items that are flexible, even after the site goes live.
Elements of the Mock-Ups that WILL NOT Change After Signoff
Certain elements of the mock-ups are final once the signoff is received. The mock-ups are created so that you are given a chance to review and discuss before the development of the site begins. Often, especially with custom design, several rounds of mock-ups are created in order to perfect these elements prior to signoff.
- Navigation: Though titles of the main navigation pages may change and dropdown menus may be added (if discussed with your design and development team) the way the navigation is laid out and the number of items available in the navigation will not change after the signoff is received.
- Colors: The main colors used in the final mock-ups will be those employed on the live site, though it’s important to remember that they may render slightly different on the web and varying browsers.
- Layout: The overall layout of the site is the main piece you are signing off on with the final mock-ups. This means the placement of headlines, content boxes, social icons, call outs and widgets, and featured images on the live site will mirror that of the mock ups.
- Basic Function: Though you will receive more information about the features and usability of the site with the function document, the basic functions will be agreed upon with the mock-ups. For example, the user may receive additional information about an image when they hover over that image, and this design should be laid out and agreed upon.
Elements of the Mock-Ups that Can Be Changed
In order to give you a true sense of how the site will look with copy and imagery, placeholder items are included in the mock-ups. While these may also be included in the site, they are by no means final and shouldn’t delay the process of approving the mock-ups if the above items check out.
- Photography: Photos can be swapped out at any time, even after the site goes live. Prior to launch, your design team will create a lightbox of stock photos or you can provide photos and you will work together to determine where each image will be used on the site. Additionally, you’ll receive training after your site is launched so you can learn how to swap out images when necessary.
- Headlines: In your mock ups, you will notice headlines and calls to action. These are included to demonstrate the look and purpose of these areas, but are completely customizable.
- Copy: Generally, Latin text is used in mock-ups to give you an idea of how copy will look on the page. This will obviously be swapped out for final text. In some cases, we’ll use copy from an existing site in the mock-ups. Please note that in this situation, the copy can also be changed or substituted as needed.
As you review your site’s mock-ups, keep these items in mind. Should you envision elements the layout differently, discuss them with your design team and develop a new set of mock-ups. If pieces like images or headlines are troubling you, be sure to make a note of them, but don’t allow them to slow down the design and development process. The last thing you want to do is delay your site launch over simple fixes that can be made once the site is in development.