Startup #73 – Mockupr

airplanefood.jpgOK, before I describe this idea I want to share a funny little travel anecdote with you.   I was flying down to Denver from Seattle and we hit a little patch of turbulence.  It wasn’t too bad, but I noticed this woman that was sitting in front of me started acting all nervous.  Things calmed down a bit and then we ran into another bumpy patch.  This lady got all worked up and started grabbing hold of her armrest really tightly and started rocking back and forth a bit, but before you knew it, we were back in a smooth section of air.  About a minute later, we hit yet another bit of turbulence, but thing time it was actually kind of bad.  Well, the lady in front of me started literally freaking out.  She stood up, grabbed hold of this handle that was above her seat, and started screaming “OH LORDY, LORDY!!  MY SWEET BABY JESUS!!!  HELP ME, JESUS, I’M NOT READY TO DIE!!  LOOOOOORRRRRRDDDDDDDYYYYYYY!!”  And just as she shouted her last “lordy”, the plane settled down and everything was completely calm for the rest of the trip.

That actually never happened, but I’m at this conference where everyone is constantly making small talk so I made up that story to tell if I ever get caught in an awkward conversation.

Anyway, the reason for all the filler is because today’s idea is really simple – a site that allows you to easily create mockups for your own website ideas.  The site would allow you to drag and drop common elements like buttons, text, drop downs, etc..  There wouldn’t be any concept of columns or anything technically complex, you could place the components anywhere where you’d want them to appear on the page.

Users could start from scratch, or have the option to build off an existing template.  Once the mockup is finished, the designer could send an Email to the developer, who could view the mockup and download the underlying XHTML/CSS code to wire up to a specific database or web service.

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2 responses to “Startup #73 – Mockupr

  1. Interesting idea. Most of the online WYSIWYG builders are bound to templates, so I usually use Yahoo! Sitebuilder to mock things. That said, you have to download the software, which is a pain.

    I like your idea in the sense that it could be super useful for non-designers to be able to show visually what they want a UI to “feel like”. I would think the key would be making it REALLY simple. I also think a useful/attractive feature to have early on would be to have modifiable templates based on some popular sites (eBay, MySpace, Yahoo!, digg, whatever) so that non-techie/non-designer types can use what’s familiar to them as a jump off point.

  2. I’m with you on that one – simple. I’d be willing to give up the ability to output as code if it meant enabling a better UX. There are definitely some good WYSIWYG web editors that are out there, the focus here would be less on the “web” more on the “design”.

    I dig the idea of having templates based on popular sites. I actually “borrowed” the top nav bar UI from Digg and the color scheme of Twitter for my last little project http://www.tweetweet.com/

    Now that might be an interesting feature – the ability to create a starting template based on core elements of other sites (i.e. fonts from Digg, basic site layout from Facebook, colors from Tipit.to, etc..)

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