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I'm developing an iOS apps and I need to find an easy design tool, something that would allow me to drag widgets into my GUI, and visually build it.

I'm currently using Adobe Illustrator with this nice kit: http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/12/illustrator-ipad-sketch-elements.html

But Illustrator is not that straightforward to use. It is a bit too much work to drag the elements, encupsulate them into other elements, resize them, etc. I don't feel very comfortable with it.

Also, I've seen Blueprint for iPad ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blueprint ) which seems exactly what I want, but I don't like for 2 reasons:

  1. I can't export the interface in any format beside PDF, and therefore it is difficult to work with designers (pdf, or ai needed).

  2. I would prefer to have a mac app, I think I can be more productive dragging items with mouse and keyboard.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I can point you to Balsamiq Mockups which is a great tool for designing sketchy mockups and they have many iphone/ipad interface elements available.

It is only for a mockup though, you can use it as a base for a real design or UI but it's not lifelike. It is an Adobe Air application IIRC and wil work on multiple platforms including the Mac.

Export is available in PDF and PNG but not much else, so that could be a negative for you.

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Grazie Roberto. It looks cool. I will try to use it, if you know similar apps let me know. –  Patrick May 20 '11 at 13:53
    
By the way, can I import new mockups into the library ? I've found these works: mockupstogo.net, but it seems not possible to add them to the library (so I can visually select the good one), but only open them into a new project from filesystem –  Patrick May 20 '11 at 14:57

You might want to check out "MockingPad" on the iPad. That's what I stated using for wireframing. I love photoshop so I am using http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/ipad-gui-psd-version-2/ Also I should mention using LiveView Screencaster for previewing your work on the device itself.

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LiveView Screencaster is awesome, thanks –  jhocking May 21 '11 at 2:39

WireframeSketcher comes with dedicated stencils for iPad applications. You can use links for simple interactivity. You can even test your prototype on iPad by exporting it to HTML that you can put online via Dropbox.

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Just use Photoshop at 72dpi, and get the dimensions for your device. This is what all the designers use anyway, and you can make the designs as simple or as complex as you like.

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There's a nice (okay, quite brilliant) set of actions for Photoshop that will mock up an iPad in various views, before your very eyes. You can download them here on 36pix.com. While this may not be exactly what you're looking for, it will definitely help visualize your app on the iThing and show it off to potential clients/backers/venture-capitalists-looking-for-the-next-Angry-Birds.

To quote the 36pix.com site: "Simply put, these Photoshop Actions will allow any UX/UI designer or App developer to quickly create a gorgeous rendering of their app as it would appear on an Apple iPad. All that is required on your end is your final designs (and a copy of Photoshop, obviously)."

Seriously, these actions are a huge help in designing for the 'Pad.

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