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Thread: What do clients what to see in a mockup?

  1. #1
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    What do clients want to see in a mockup?

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you guys could tell me what clients want to see in mockups or what you guys do?

    I recently designed 4 mockups for someone who didn't like any of them! sweet eh. He gave me the basic I like these 5 sites and I like these colors information. Okay so.. I just designed 4 homepages which included layout, colours, used their logo, stock photos relating to their company, general categories i.e. news, featured product, etc., general menu buttons i.e. home, about, contact, etc. and fake wording (text I used was from cnn about whatever).

    This is what I think of when I hear mockup. Like what you would see at a site selling templates (like monster templates).Am I going about this in the wrong way?

    I personally do not talk to any clients, but aren't you supposed to state that colors can be changed, pictures changed, and all content is fake??? Do clients not understand that these things can be easily changed and that "NEWS" doesn't have to have NEWS there???

    Am I supposed to leave off all fake content and inturn put "WORDS HERE" or "A PICTURE GOES HERE" or "BUTTON 1 BUTTON 2 BUTTON 3"??

    If anyone has any advice, comments, information it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and sorry for rambling.
    Last edited by Mystix; 08-22-2003 at 02:41 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    personally i do 2 sets of concepts. firstly after the meetings and contract, i design 3 different sites with differing nav systems, location of content...just to show the client his options. These are in no way the quality of a template. Like i was showing a client a hybrid site concept and for the flash at the top i just did a large red rectangle with "~flash~" in the middle of it to show him flash would go there. For text, get placeholder text from www.lipsum.com . Once i understand the basic layout and structure the client wants (static/flash/hybrid, same window/popup...) i develop another set of concepts that are more for the design. usually i use a few different elements in each of these too but since the basic structure is the same he can say something like "i want this site with that navigation" - mix and match.


    i dont see a point in going all out in the first set of concept designs. the more time i spend is the more i hafta quote my client. if you explain it to them they will understand that.
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  3. #3
    dIgital pHoto dude! TheEnigma's Avatar
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    lipsum.com - thats were I get mine!

    Hit the searh button and bang your question in - I am 99% sure this was discussed a few years back
    and If i remember right there were some good responces
    Been a while since I was here! Might just stay around this time! | Check out my Deviations - all comments welcomed!


  4. #4
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    Thank you very much MG315

    This is a much better solution.
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  5. #5
    default user juxtaflo's Avatar
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    What does this mean? "I personally do not talk to any clients"

    You have to sell the client on your designs. You have to talk them through it. Tell them why you used such and such colors etc.

    The only time we have ever had someone turn down all of our concepts is when we didnt present them in person ourselves. You have to learn to talk about your work and explain it.

  6. #6
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MG315
    ...i design 3 different sites with differing nav systems...
    So for each customer, you bang out 3 top end nav systems and let them pick and choose?



    To me, the GUI is everything - if it's no good, then the site's no good, I don't care how cool a page layout you have.

    Top quality, original GUI designs are at best hard to come by, at worst, almost impossible to develop, so when you say that you bust out 3 per customer, you're either a genius, or your menu systems are no better than just OK.

    I'll tell you this - I don't do mocks. I do demos. Why do demos and not some photoshop scrap up? Because when I find an idea for a GUI and implement it in a demo, it is, as far as I'm concerned, the best solution for the customers problem. If they don't like my demo, it's unlikely that we'll do a deal.

    Why?

    Because when I put something down in front of the customer, I expect them to get it through their brains that I have ultimate confidence in my work and I would not have invested the time in the demo to deliver half ass, incomplete strategies - hence, no choices. The best is first and they must trust me on this.
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  7. #7
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    personally i do 2 sets of concepts. firstly after the meetings and contract, i design 3 different sites with differing nav systems, location of content...just to show the client his options. These are in no way the quality of a template. Like i was showing a client a hybrid site concept and for the flash at the top i just did a large red rectangle with "~flash~" in the middle of it to show him flash would go there. For text, get placeholder text from www.lipsum.com . Once i understand the basic layout and structure the client wants (static/flash/hybrid, same window/popup...) i develop another set of concepts that are more for the design. usually i use a few different elements in each of these too but since the basic structure is the same he can say something like "i want this site with that navigation" - mix and match.

    i dont see a point in going all out in the first set of concept designs. the more time i spend is the more i hafta quote my client. if you explain it to them they will understand that.
    I once considered this type of workflow, but I feel that I'd end up spending more, not less, time in the long run. I find that most clients do not have a strong preference for design decisions such as left nav or top nav and so forth. They just want you to show them something that they'll like. I also find that if you do not show them something that looks exactly like their site, they'll ask questions like, "now, the large red rectangle is actually going to have an image in it and not the word 'flash', right?" (The prime example of this is clients who wonder why the mockup has text written in a foreign language.)

    I show my clients not 4 or even 2 concepts; I show them just one. And it's a fully-detailed Photoshop comp that looks exactly like I intend for their site to look. We ask our clients a lot of questions beforehand ("do you have a particular layout in mind?, "what are some sites you like?", etc). We try to get into the client's head as much as possible through a detailed question-and-answer process rather than showing them a lot of concepts on paper.

    The result? I've only had one client tell me that the mockup is not what they wanted. I made it too "corporate" for her. (That's because she didn't put "artsy" on the questionaire...)

    So I guess my approach is right in between the others; more detailed and less conceptual than MG315, but no functionality as in hurricaneone's demo.

  8. #8
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    my recomendation is to always spice up the demo/mock up with some flash.
    90% of my clients sign up as soon as they see some eye candy. If you can wow them, they will give you full control of the design ideas, which is always the best way to work.

    Also get as much info as possible out of them before you even start anything, find out there favourite sites, there business colours, look at there logo, read about there business, just soak up every bit of information they can supply. If you can understand there business, you will have an advantage over everyone else going for the project

  9. #9
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    So for each customer, you bang out 3 top end nav systems and let them pick and choose?
    no, i design 3 very different but simplistic menu systems, and explain while showing the client what i could do with it. Then if he likes that idea i design it furthur. For example, a current client of mine wanted a site that was "intense" (heh on the questionnaire i gave him one of the sites he listed as ones he liked was 2advanced). He specified that he wanted it to be done in gold and black and gave me a list of a few pages that would be in it (he just wants the first page developed and then we'll work on the other 5 after the site is live. in a year there should be about 15 pages on it). So firstly i developed 2 general layouts - one that was a long page like design (can accomodate a lot of content) and one was this:

    http://www.mg315.com/wp/concept1.jpg

    I also showed him a few things I could do with it. I showed him an old flash ad i did for a company and i could use ideas from that in the banner for this. after writing down a few of his ideas and him telling me how the site would need to accomodate 15+ pages (never told me this until i showed him the concepts), i went back and developed this furthur. I came up with this:

    http://www.mg315.com/wp/concept2.jpg

    and again, explained to him how thigns would work. when one of the main sections is selected in the menu, those fade away and the menu expands and displays the pages in that section and a <back button. I developed a quick flash example to show him how this would work. After liking this design I began (and still am) working on it.

    But you can see how one was just a basic structure, the next was more design based. I would do it the way mentioned above (one well designed concept) but usually the clients dont know what they want until you show them. You can't ask them "do you want it to be a flash hybrid, all flash or all static" or "should the nav bar be vertical or horizontal." Thats why i show them the basic shapes and explain it to them. The first concept acts as almost a 2nd questionnaire to visually understand what the client wants.
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted by juxtaflo
    What does this mean? "I personally do not talk to any clients"
    I do not talk to the clients, my boss does all the selling. This is the way he wants to do things. We obvioulsy need to sit down and come up with something that will work for us.

    This client's 5 favorite websites were the most horrible ugly sites I have ever seen! And the reason he choose these sites? ... These are the sites that I visit all the time. hrm.. What do you do if your client does this? Your client picked 2A as one of their favorite sites??? Must be nice

    I guess there will always be clients that have horrible taste and have never seen a well designed website before. I wish all clients would let you have full control instead of adding in their "make the font BRIGHT red and 48pt please!". Hehe.. we just had to do a little redesign/update of this ugly site. I had to redesign the navigation and do anything I could to try and make things look better without changing colors and the overall layout. ugh This company's homepage is probably about 20 scrolls long of TEXT!. And guess what the font looks like? BRIGHT RED and 48pt! well almost, I think it was 24 or something. And why didn't he listen to what my boss had to say? They hired a marketing company, yes that's right, who wrote the homepage for them, sent me the word doc and said this is EXACTLY how it should be displayed. So the client told us this is what it has to look like. Nice marketing company eh? I guess they must be trying to market 80+ year olds that can't read!

    Okay I think I am done complaining.

    Thanks for everyone's replies.

    I obviously have to come up with a client questionnaire form and make sure we are asking the right questions and finding out as much information as we can about the company before beginning a mockup or demo.

    Thanks again guys and sorry about my rant. heh
    i wish i had a sig

  11. #11
    Senior Member MG315's Avatar
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    just so you know, here are the three sites he put under sites he likes in the questionnaire:

    http://www.loewenstein.com/
    Like: good colorful presentation
    Dislike: Too much information

    http://www.tonyrobbins.com
    Inspirational, professional, people orientated. makes you want to get involved

    http://www.loreal.com
    professional graphics, people orientated


    But after we talked, he told me he wanted something powerful, intense and, well, 2advanced-like. I showed him 2advanced and the things in their portfolio and he said "that's exactly what i want". the secret is listen to them and figure out what they want. they dont know of the sites you do. when you are telling them something try to always have something visual that they can understand.

    oh and pm me your email address.
    Bill Erickson: resume | portfolio
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  12. #12
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MG315
    no, i design 3 very different but simplistic menu systems, and explain while showing the client what i could do with it.
    It would be nice if all my clients had this level of visual conception.

    If I can, I leave nothing to their imagination.

    Let's face it imagination is unquantifiable, and even though they may say 'I see what you mean', they probably don't see what you mean, they see what they mean.

    Spoon-feed your customers, and you will not disappoint them and certainly, avoid surprises - 50% of the time, customers don't like surprises.

    And as for customers using 2A as 'a site which I like', I hope that anyone planning to match that type of site design is matching that type of money, being realistic about what that costs.
    Stand by for emergency synapse rerouting

  13. #13
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    This is an issue that we all struggle with. The hardest thing to determine is how much time and effort to put into your mock ups when you are not guaranteed any type of return on this investment. At the same time if you produce some crappy mock ups then the chances of getting the project are slim to none. What I normally do is get as much information from the client in the initial meeting or call. See what sites they like and their budget for the project. I also try to find out how much they are shopping to see what the odds are in getting the project. Alot of times I get business by word of mouth and the client does not even shop around. Once I get all this info I create a couple different mock ups in Fireworks or Photoshop. I usually do one or two pages of the site to give them a good idea of the look and feel. I submit these to the client and explain the mock ups to them in detail. Hope this helps!

  14. #14
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gadawg
    The hardest thing to determine is how much time and effort to put into your mock ups when you are not guaranteed any type of return on this investment.
    for this reason alone it still amazes me that people do spec work in a hopeful attempt to "win" a contract.

  15. #15
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    my situation is a bit different, since we have an established range of clients + they pay us for design time (including mock-ups). They also have brand directors etc. who know exactly what they want to achieve with the brand online, it's then up to us to work out a solution that will fit inside their budget.

    I prefer to go into a meeting with absolutely nothing and let them explain to me about what they want to achieve. Sometimes they show sites they like - but even then it's important to hear them talk about it because they will undoubtably see very different aspects compared to what I pick up on. You need to get them to leave the technical details, don't care about where images will be etc., that's none of their business really - you need to get a feeling for what they are after, that's crucial.

    The next step: producing between 1 and 3 concepts. You can actually keep 2 of them rough, really work on the one you think will work best. About 1 days work in total. If there's time, do a decent section page to go with it to provide an idea of how content will be presented. If there isn't time, I always feel it's better to sketch something roughly during the meeting rather than produce a below-standard mockup.

    Then back to the meeting room, discuss the choices. 95% they will be very happy at this stage because you've earned their trust, shown that you can understand what they are saying and convert it into a design.

    So it's all about listening, understanding and getting away from the nitty-gritty like layout questions

    - n.

  16. #16
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    well said enemem

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by erova
    well said enemem
    thanks erova

    - n.

  18. #18
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Originally posted by enemem
    thanks erova

    - n.
    So are you guys going Motel 6 or classing it up at the Red Roof Inn.

    Stand by for emergency synapse rerouting

  19. #19
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    ...dag...

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    So are you guys going Motel 6 or classing it up at the Red Roof Inn.

    cheap and dirty for me - wanna join us?


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