Avoid Mockupitis!

12 May 2010 - 4:26pm
5 years ago
4 replies
2115 reads
Jay Rogers


Pronunciation: \ˈmäk-ˌəp-ˈī-təs\

Function: noun

Date: ?

1 : The tendency of a UI mockup to make assumptions about design constraints based on poorly-chosen sample data used in the static wireframe, photoshop comp, or interactive prototype. Short labels that fit neatly into the space provided for them, evenly-dispersed text, small numbers of columns, orderly and strangely regular tabular data, convenient numbers of items in lists that happen to fit just precisely into the page, the list goes on. This tends to reduce the design to a limited visual exercise instead of exercising its ability to handle more realistic formations of user data.


12 May 2010 - 7:28pm
Alan James Salmoni
Hahahaha! Like it. It's fun when someone presents a beautiful looking design / trick wireframes and you point out the flaws by discussing what it will look like 5 years down the road and stressed to the point of breaking. I call it stress-testing and TBH, few of even my designs make it at this point. It's a very good method of early-stage evaluation.
13 May 2010 - 12:57am

As I have said to multiple "Creative Directors" who have handed me a gorgeous mock-up to implement or test:

"This comp will not survive contact with reality."

Especially fun on sites with user-generated content where the user texts is all spaced out Lorem Ipsum of full paragraphs and sentences flowing. Yeah, ever been on a real web board? If I do not see a comp with a one-word comment, I know you do not know what you are making.

13 May 2010 - 4:53am

When doing a design you need to use real-life data to represent this to your customers, this is the same when developing an inputbox, if you allow the user to input 200 chars and your back-end crashes because it's only intended to receive a 50 chars string.

one word of advice, always test with real-life data

21 May 2010 - 9:20am

I often find myself stuck in some limbo world, using fake "real-life" data that's real enough to stress-test, but fake enough to let clients ignore the content.

If I don't greek all my content (w/ lorem ipsum) my clients get stuck in endless hours worth of debating the detailed merits of my exact data.  E.g., "that product should only cost $10 and you have it listed as $11" and I end up making lots of extra work for myself of update worthless data that doesn't help solve the design challenge.

So I guess I'd vote for "don't test with real-life data, but look at real-life data and model your fake test data off of it." Smile

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