Categories: Design, Featured, iPhoneization, Resources, Tools
So you have a killer idea for an iPhone app, but when you describe it to people they just don’t get it. Maybe you have a client that is a visual thinker and needs you to draw it out for him. That’s when wireframes, mockups and stencils can be your saving grace.
There are many different types of tools available to developers, from low-tech stencil kits to high-tech collaborative software. So I’ve rounded up a few of the more popular ones people are using specifically for iPhone development. It’s far from being the definitive list, but it’s definitely a good place to start.
Low Tech Solutions
iPhone UI Stencil Kit
iPhone Sketch Pad
MetaSpark’s Fireworks Vectors
320480 Stencil PSD file
Graffletopia Stencil Kit for Omnigraffle
Graffletopia’s stencil kit for Omnigraffle. It is for quick sketching of iPhone ideas. Use the outline for printouts so you can hand sketch as well. The symbols are meant as a check list for included features in your app development.
Pencil is a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping. Pencil runs on the Mozilla Gecko engine, turning the Firefox browser into a sketching tool with just a 400-kilobyte installation package.
Liveview is an iPhone app that consists of two parts: the ScreenCaster and the Application itself. ScreenCaster launches a simple iPhone skin on your Mac. From the same network, launch the LiveView app in your iPhone. Whatever the ScreenCaster is highlighting is now seen in the LiveView App. It also interprets touches as mouse clicks, turning it into a two way interactive prototype.
Web Based Tools
Mockingbird is a web based mockup/wireframe tool built using the Cappucino framework, so there’s no flash to wrestle with. While you can’t actually design your mockups from an iPhone (who’d want to?), the tool does have some very handy features. You can drag elements onto the screen, create multiple pages, link to other pages and share directly from the web.
iPhone mockup is a web based tool that is currently in Alpha release only. You can design your mockup as a hand sketch or illustration, and mockups can contain user-uploaded images and user-entered text. Your mockups will be accessible via url so they are unsecured.
The developer makes this perfectly clear and warns that he could discontinue hosting mockups at anytime, thereby deleting any work. That makes this a handy tool for quick and dirty mockups you want to print or share with someone on the fly, but not for much more.
Protoshare is a collaborative, web-based prototyping tool that helps teams visualize requirements for interactive projects and work together in real-time. It has an iPhone component that can be seen here.
With iPlotz you can create clickable, navigable wireframes to create the experience of a real website or software application. You can also invite others to comment on the designs, and once ready, you can then manage the tasks for developers and designers to build the project.
CogTool is a general purpose UI prototyping tool simply using a storyboard of your design idea with sketches, images or on a canvas. Demonstrate tasks on that storyboard, then press a button to produce a valid cognitive model predicting how long it will take a skilled user to complete those tasks.
OmniGraffle is award winning diagraming mockup or graphic design software. Combined with Graffletopia’s iPhone stencil kit, this software is a great addition to any app developers toolbox.
iRise for iPhones gives developers a way to quickly prototype the look, feel and behavior of Apple iPhone applications through pre-defined visualization widgets and templates that can be quickly assembled into a high definition mobile applications.