When you take on a new design project or client, one of the important deadlines will be a day to share the mockups for the project with the client. This has always been a pain, involving countless emails, compatibility problems, miscommunications and more. MockVault realized this issue and decided to provide a solution. Mockvault allows designers to upload designs easily with a lot of control from the backend. These designs are sent to the client(s) via a permalink, and the clients have access to the front-end where they can discuss the designs.
This could potentially be a wonderful solution to the great email exchange. Read on to see it in action!
The Backend/Your View
Once you have signed up for a MockVault account, you are taken immediately to the dashboard. This is the space where all designs are displayed. You are also able to edit clients, users and designs from this page, as well as access the account settings.
Obviously you don’t start out with any designs, so that’s definitely something to add to your to-do list. The first step should be adding clients and team members, however. The clients tab at the top of the page takes you to an area where you can view a list of existing clients. You can also add more clients, with options to include their name, email and specific contact person. If you add them now, when you’re creating designs, all you have to do is add the client from a drop-down menu. This is especially helpful if you work with the same clients a lot of the time.
If you work with a team and have other members that will be working with mockups, then check out the team tab. You are able to add different users to the account. The team members are able to log on and either edit/add mockups or contribute to the comments on the client’s view of the mockup.
Finally, now that the prep work is done, it’s time for the most important part. That is, adding your first design. You can add the design either from the dashboard or from the designs page. You are able to select clients from a drop-down menu if you have already added them, as well as choose a project name. The next pages provide more options.
Once that initial step has been completed, you are taken immediately to add the first page of the design. You have several options to make the mockup customized. You are able to change the page name, image and alignment. You can also set a background image or color, depending on what you think is appropriate. These simple customizations make for a nice looking mockup presentation.
You are also able to add multiple pages to the mockup. Other than a constraint on total upload space, there are no constraints on how many pages can be a part of the mockup, to the best of my knowledge.
The Frontend/The Client’s View
One of the greatest parts of this is the client’s view. You are able to access the client’s view-point by clicking on the permalink button in the design panel for whichever design you wish to check out. Clients will receive information about the design and links for viewing via email. There are two major tools for clients to use in their viewing space. The first is the comments panel. Clients and designers can have conversations about the design all in one place, rather than comments being scattered across emails. It’s convenient for the client to check it out, requiring no registration on their end.
More important, however, is the “approve the design” button. Any designer out there will know the frustration of a client that can’t give a yes or no answer to save their life. Mockvault is working to eliminate that frustration by forcing a yes or no answer out of the client with this simple little button.
Settings and Pricing
The account that I chose was the simple free plan, allowing me to upload and test one design. The site also offers free 14 day trials of all paid plans. Because I used the free account, there wasn’t much that I could do in my account settings other than change my name and password. The account settings for paid accounts have more options available. For example, all paid accounts are able to use their own logo on the viewing page. These settings are available through the account page.
There are three levels of paid accounts. Lite is the cheapest, at 12 dollars per month. This account allows custom logos, but no custom domain. Users are limited to 20 designs per month. Heavy users get custom logos, custom domains and 60 designs per month for only 20 dollars a month. Unlimited users get unlimited designs and custom options for everything. These users pay 49 dollars per month.
I think that Mockvault is a great application. I would definitely pay at least 12 dollars a month to eliminate all of those email frustrations when sharing designs with clients. The site is fantastically designed and very user friendly. Other than two minor frustrations, I would recommend it in a heartbeat. The first complaint is that the site doesn’t allow video uploads. Often, I will have some sort of mockup video as well as print work to share with a client. It would be nice to be able to include videos in the mockup. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to make my mockup image smaller on the screen. I uploaded the high quality file from my computer, and Mockvault placed the file at full size on the mockup page, which prevents the client from seeing the whole design at once. A way to zoom in and out would be extremely helpful in the viewing portion.
Even with those two complaints, I am now a registered and paid user of Mockvault. If you are a freelance designer or have to share a lot of mockups for any reason, definitely try out Mockvault. You will appreciate the simplicity of design-sharing and the elimination of email.