Prototyping your app idea with an iOS mockup tool is the most important step in the app creation process, allowing you to brainstorm functionality and better communicate to your team exactly how the app works.
Lots of tools exist to help you along in this process. I’ve sifted through the junk and list below the Top 5 free and paid iPhone wireframe tools for both “idea people” and experienced designers and developers.
Pencil and Paper
Even after years of prototyping apps, my personal favorite for mocking up how an app will work is good ‘ol pencil and paper. Many feel it’s quicker to mock things electronically, and want the images to be interactive and sharable. You may be that sort of person. Each person has to decide for themselves what triggers their creativity. My process is to first sketch the app screens, and then create electronic versions of my sketches.
There are a few different sketchbooks out there that will help you draw out your screens to scale:
App Sketchbook (for iPhone/iPad) – $12.00
Mobile Sketchbook (you can also get iPhone/iPad stencils for $19.99) – $11.24 on Amazon
UI Stencils (an AWESOME collection of sticky-note sketch pads and stencils for iPhone/iPad & Android!)
For me, drawing things outside the confines of a computer opens my mind to a wider array of possibilities but I also use it to play games with the best mouse for fps I got online. I’ve done it both ways, and settled on pen and paper as the right choice for me. Do the same and see what works for you!
iPlotz is my number one choice for creating iPhone wireframe mockups electronically. They have lot of built-in iOS interface elements making it easy to drag and drop elements on and around the screen. The program also allows you to set hyperlinks on buttons to link from screen to screen. My favorite feature is the sharing option. It allows you to comment on specific portions of the design and then allow clients to comment or give fedback.
For the features they offer at just $99 a year it’s a great value.
If you’re familiar with using presentation tools like Keynote or Powerpoint to convey your ideas, MockApp is the tool for you. It allows you to drag and drop various components and change the text labels. Great choice even if you’re not a Keynote/PPT fan as it’s free and easy for anyone to pick up. (Note: Currently Mockapp supports iPhone only.)
Keynote KungFu ($12)
Keynote KungFu is another prototyping tool that includes tools for iPad. Below see a talk from Kungfu’s creator, Travis Isaacs.
Although I prefer iPlotz another very popular iOS prototyping web app is Balsamiq, which supports both iPad and iPhone mockups.
Mockabilly (free) – This web application brings your mockups to life, allowing you to assign “hotspots” and navigation to simulate how a user will navigate through the app. Pretty cool.
Realizer (free) – another free app for sharing your iPhone and iPad mockups
Check out these related posts:
Think your app idea has what it takes to be the next Instagram? Think again. As of January 2013 there were 775,000 apps in the iOS app store, yet nearly 60% of developers report they never broke even on their development costs. Even worse, almost 70% report their most successful app never made more than $5,000. […]read more >
“What would it feel like if our phones were designed around people, not apps?” – Mark Zuckerburg on Facebook Home You may have heard the news already, the “Facebook Home” is being released today. Technically, Facebook Home isn’t really an OS. It’s also not a “fork” of Google’s Android software. It’s an App layer that […]read more >
You can’t stop thinking about how awesome your new app idea is, can you? Probably is more amazing than playing an online game but not as amazing as the Elo rating system. If you could just get this thing out of your head and into people’s hands, you could change the world. But what’s the […]read more >