Effective Ways of Building a Website Prototype

Ashutosh Chandra | 22nd July 2020

A website prototype takes it to a whole new level by adding interactions and animation and giving a user a look and feel of what an end product will look like. But before we dive into details of how to create a prototype for a website, let’s take a moment to clear out any confusion around the UX design terminology: What is the difference between a wireframe, a mockup, and a prototype? A website wireframe is a static black and white image showing how the elements will be arranged on the page. We can view a mockup as a wireframe on steroids. It introduces typography, colors, fonts, logos, etc. while staying static. A website prototype can be any mock-up or demo of what a website will look like when it goes live.

 


Also, read | Choosing The Ideal Prototype For Your Digital Business

 

Prototyping Use Cases

We use a website prototype to:

 

  • Visualize your idea to get a better understanding of the details;
  • Share your website design concept with the business partners, peers, and friends;
  • Provide a clear reference to your requirements when hiring designers and software development team;
  • Perform user testing and get actionable feedback.


Way to build a website prototype:

 

Research

Website design prototyping begins with gathering the information. Look at the other sites in your industry, or even outside of it but similar or related to your business in other respects. Most likely, we’ve visited them a gazillion of times before but as soon as we begin planning our own site we will see them through a different lens.

 

Use this research as a source of inspiration as well as for “what-not-to-do” warning signs to create a website prototype that will be the best fit for your business.

 

Sketch

Now start bringing your ideas to life. It doesn’t require any special art skills or tools for this. Just scribble the main elements of your future website pages on a sheet of paper.

 

Here are the main things to keep in mind when sketching:

 

  • Sketch out all ideas that come to your head — even those that seem ridiculous might inspire a good idea after seeing it on paper.
  • Make it a fast exercise — thinking more about it will get us caught up in the details.
  • Annotate — a lot and everything that comes to your mind about the future page interactions of functionality. The chances are, not writing it down, we will forget it at a later stage.
  • Use the placeholder copy — we’ll figure out the semantics later. For now, while we create a website prototype, simply use clear labels for all pages and the biggest sections and Lorem Ipsum for everything else.
  • Focus on a bigger picture — where should the menu live? What will a product page template look like? Don’t dive too deep into the details while creating a prototype.

 

Define scope

Think of what exactly your requirements are for the prototype to demonstrate and make a list of all pages in need of it.

 

Maybe we just want to focus on a path to purchase? Then we most likely need the following pages: a homepage, search results and/or a category page, a product page, a cart page, a checkout page, and a purchase confirmation page. If we want to build a prototype for a whole website go ahead and list all pages it will feature.

 

Now, the prep job is done. We are ready to begin web page prototyping. It’s easy and a lot of fun.

 

You might also be interested in – Significance Of Wireframes And Prototypes In A UX Design Strategy

 

Ways to choose the best website prototyper

This is not an easy decision given the number of solutions available on the market. In this case analysis paralysis is no longer a figure of speech. It is an accurate description of a user’s mind struggling to make a choice. Don’t lose your head and see through the marketing clutter.

 

Unless there’s something extremely complicated to build, all we really need is a simple, reliable, and, preferably, free prototyping tool.


Conclusion

To conclude, a fully interactive website prototype is a tool we can’t afford to neglect on your road to building a website. It saves a lot of time trying to explain what exactly we had in mind. It makes communication with the software developers and designers so much easier and eventually saves money. Contact our Prototype design services for more assistance.

About Author

Ashutosh Chandra

Ashutosh is a blogger and technical writer at Oodles, who covers topics ranging from Branding, UI/UX design, Graphic design to other design and technology-related matters.

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