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I'm prototyping a couple of fairly complex web screens. Each field in these screens has its own label, description, and a question mark (?) icon next to it —The question mark icon displays additional information and examples when clicked.

I'm trying to decide whether the description and the help text in the prototype should be the actual content I mean to have in the end result —as opposed to just some lorem ipsum.

On the upside, it would make the prototype a one-stop shop for the developer. But on the downside, it feels an awful lot like hardcoding. In SW development you always decouple the UI from the text using i18n files of some sort. Should the same apply to UX design?

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Use some representative samples for description and help text

I think it will be a lot of work to keep those pieces updated. Pick representative samples of text for description and help text and use them throughout your mockups. This way you can see if the layout works with the length of the text and you give the developer a hint what kind of text needs to be there.

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Always use real content if possible. If you don't your design might look weird when the actual content is added. 'Content is king'

Aside from that any testing you'll do will be more valuable as it is more realistic.

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