Grids in Mockup Design: The Blueprint for User-Friendly Layouts

Designing mockups that offer an effortless user experience and captivating visual appeal requires more than just creativity. The strategic placement of elements on the page is key to enhancing user flow and navigation. While newcomers to the design world might find it challenging to determine where each element should reside on a mockup, the good news is that we have a powerful tool at our disposal – grids. In this article, we will dive into the world of grids and how they aid in crafting well-structured mockups.

Basic Grids: The Foundation of Design Consistency Basic grids are a fundamental tool in design. These grids consist of evenly spaced intersecting lines that partition the page into small squares, providing a structured framework for placing design elements. They offer several advantages, such as ensuring consistency and facilitating precise spacing. If you’ve ever created wireframes on grid paper, basic grids will feel familiar. Here’s a glimpse of what a basic grid looks like in Figma:

Layout Grids: Organizing Elements with Precision While basic grids serve their purpose, UX designers often turn to layout grids for more sophisticated designs. A layout grid comprises columns (usually represented by colored blocks) and alleys (the spaces between the columns). In a layout grid, columns and alleys are evenly sized, maintaining design consistency. The number of columns in a layout grid varies based on the target device. For larger screens, like laptops or desktops, it may contain 12 columns, whereas smaller screens like tablets or smartwatches might have fewer columns. However, the choice of columns depends on how content needs to be organized.

Basic Grid or Layout Grid: The Designer’s Choice The decision of whether to use a basic grid, a layout grid, both, or none at all ultimately rests with the designer. Some designers find value in employing both types of grids, while others prefer one over the other. A few designers even opt not to use grids. As a budding UX designer, using grids can be advantageous for various reasons:

  1. Clarity and Consistency: Grids bring clarity and maintain consistency in design, guiding users’ eyes through the layout. This enhances the ease of scanning elements on the screen.
  2. Speedy Design Process: Grids expedite the design process by providing a predefined structure for element placement, making it quicker to create mockups.
  3. Collaborative Benefits: Collaborating with fellow designers becomes more accessible with the aid of grids. Grids offer a shared framework, making it easier for designers to understand where elements belong.

Grasping the significance of grids in mockup design is a milestone in your journey as a UX designer. Grids are more than just a tool; they are the blueprint that paves the way for seamless, user-friendly layouts. Whether you choose basic grids, layout grids, or both, embracing grids as a part of your design process will elevate your creations, ensuring that your mockups not only look exceptional but also provide a user experience that leaves a lasting impression. Grids are the cornerstone of effective design, offering structure, precision, and visual harmony.