Tools for iPhone UI (user interface) design, mockups, wireframes or just a sketch

Shyamal Mehta

iphone-mockup.pngWe tried several tools and methods for user interface designing of iPhone applications. We now use a combination of these tools and our choice depends on what best suits the product as well as the customer. The key point is communicating the design clearly to both the customer and developers.

Before going into details, let me just list the iPhone design and mockup (wireframe) tools/methods in no particular order:

  1. Use Interface Builder (Mac only)
  2. Use Balsamiq mockup tool (Mac, windows, linux) – http://www.balsamiq.com (http://www.balsamiq.com/blog/2009/03/01/iphone-controls-new-icons-and-much-more/)
  3. Use Omnigraffle (Mac only) and import an iPhone stencil – (http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/download/ and http://www.graffletopia.com/search/iphone)
  4. Use paper and a stencil- http://www.designcommission.com/shop/iphone-stencil-kit/
  5. Use a pre-printed sketch paper – http://labs.boulevart.be/index.php/2008/06/05/sketch-paper-for-the-mobile-designer/
  6. Use photoshop and the iPhone PSD – http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/?p=1628
  7. Use Adobe Fireworks – http://blogs.adobe.com/fireworks/2008/08/iphone_gui_as_adobe_fireworks.html and http://www.building43.com/videos/2009/06/23/mockup-iphone-app-adobe-fireworks/
  8. Although not there yet, you can try http://iphonemockup.lkmc.ch/
  9. Use the stencil kit from Yahoo! which is available in a variety of formats – http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/wireframes/
  10. Use the sketchbook available at http://www.mobilesketchbook.com/

Some bonus stuff

Lazy as I am, I decided to write details about each iPhone UI design tool later, so till then please use the list above and explore them.

If I missed your favorite tool, please let me know in comments and I will gladly add it here.

about the author

Shyamal Mehta

Shyamal is an experienced technology professional having expertise on the web and mobile technologies. His strength lies in his ability to successfully and repeatedly deliver projects and products (large and small) for a variety of industries.

  1. Dotan Saguy

    October 29, 2009

    One more: Mockapp templates for Keynote and Powerpoint.
    Probably the largest iPhone UI library available and also the most accessible software: everyone knows Keynote or Powerpoint. Free download at http://mockapp.com/download

  2. Lee Probert

    February 12, 2010

    Hey, don’t forget the humble Moleskine sketchbook as a great tool for sketching ideas down quickly. And if you own an iPhone UI Stencil it fits really well within the gridded sketchbook. Check out my blog post on the subject : http://blog.lyraspace.com/2010/02/12/using-your-moleskine-for-iphone-ui-design/

  3. Sameer

    February 20, 2010

    [StencilsApp][1] is an iPhone app for creating mockups. You can even create transitions and triggers between screens using gestures and actions in a multi screen mockup. Its got all iPhone UI elements, a large icon library and great 2D drawing tools. Its free to download.

    [1]: http://www.stencilsapp.com

  4. Peter Severin

    April 19, 2010

    WireframeSketcher is a wireframe/mockup tool that comes with an iPhone stencil: http://mockupsgallery.com/iphone-stencil-17

  5. Sparky

    December 30, 2010

    “Blueprint” is an UI Design app for iPad. It is really awesome.

  6. Lenny

    March 21, 2011

    Another one to add to the list is http://www.lucidchart.com where I’ve done a couple quick mockups. Amazing how much easier it is now than a couple years ago!

  7. Peter

    September 3, 2011

    Blueprint – try it – it’s simply the best one out there.

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  11. Nishadha

    January 25, 2012

    We have recently launched our iPhone mockup toolkit. It has some really cool features including easy editing, fully customizable objects, self styling and much more. It has some very comprehensive tools to make it as realistic as possible. Check out our blog post about the iPhone Mockup Toolkit. If you like what you see please consider adding us to the list.

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