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Resurrect Pen and Paper Design with Sneakpeekit Sketchsheets

By Craig Buckler

I do relatively little web design but the process has become increasingly complex in recent years. The days of static Photoshop mock-ups are probably over when you consider…

  1. Responsive Web Design. If you’re using RWD (and you really should unless you’re creating a separate mobile app or website), you’re adapting the layout for the device dimensions. A single mock-up cannot illustrate all eventualities.
  2. CSS3. Transitions and animations are cheap and easy to implement, but demonstrating them on a static screenshot is not possible.
  3. Client expectations. Showing a lovingly-crafted mock-up to clients leads to confusion when the final site looks totally different in IE7.

Many designers have switched to browser-based mock-ups. It’s provides a far better representation of the final site and the code can be re-used accordingly. If you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you’ve just spent a lot of time and effort developing a prototype which the client hates.

Have you considered a more low-tech approach for the initial design stages? Pen and paper served us well for a millennium or two so why not draw the initial mock-ups? Admittedly, few of us are great artists and panic when faced with a blank piece of paper. But it need not be blank.

sneakpeekit provide a range of attractive, purpose-built sketch sheets for different uses including:

The packs contain various templates in PDF and JPG format. There are also Photoshop PSD grid templates should you want to scan your sketch and convert it to a graphical mock-up.

Did I mention that the sketchsheets are free to download and print? All ask is attribution and a little promotion.

I like the sneakpeekit sketchsheets. They’re attractive, useful and provide a great starting point for design work. Carry a few around — they’ll give the impression you’re a web professional. I wish I had them years ago!…

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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