So what I’m wondering is, when you are trying to get a job with somone, do you do a mockup of the site before they decide whether or not they go with you? Or do they have to base their decision on your previous work. What if you don’t have a big portfolio? Should you still do work that you might not get paid for, or may not even use in the final product?
Is it possible to do an accurate mockup without knowing what the client is looking for as far as content or features goes?
I don’t do mock-ups before a job. I might write a detailed proposal for a potential large job, but still no designs. You have to remember that when running a business, even a small one, time is money. A design must also be tailored to the detailed needs of the client and that level of collaboration will (should) only happen once you have the job.
Almost always when somebody comes to me for a website, I got the job. What I do is make a quick design and let them give feedback on it. What do they like, what do they not like. Based on that feedback I’m gonna make the real design.
At the moment It’m still a student, but i’ve done some small jobs for people i know, however i didn’t use photoshop mock-ups. Instead i sat down and spoke with the client, found out his/her ideas and explained what i could do for them, if their happy with what i have to offer and can provide what their looking for i then send them away to gather the content for their site (if they don’t already have), then built the site using the content but with no-styling, i then meet with the client again, showed him/her the progress so far, we then discuss styling and layout. Using the clients requirements i went and styled the site.
After i finished that i then meet the client again , i get his/her thoughts on the prototype of the site, then make any changes which they require.
So after everything is finished i just send everything to the client along with some documentation (Asset register , etc)
and wait to receive feedback for the client.
Sometimes a client may have sketches or doodles in order to express their layout ideas a bit better.
Thats my process and i’ve found it successful, however if you client live in another city/country
then email / video calling , etc would replace the face to face meeting.
Some clients have had bad experiences with past designers, and simply want to see something that will renew their faith. I have done several jobs that required mockups prior to landing the job…and I bill a flat day rate for mockups. I do however explain that it is a waste of time and money. Never, never, never do mockups for free unless it is part of the contract on a job you have already secured a downpayment for :!: