Perfect mockups

-   Sep 08, 2011 -   iOS, iDevBlogADay -  

There is nothing like drawing up your app ideas so you can visualize things better.  Like most of you, I’ve used the trusty paper and pen method the most.  I came across Balsamiq in mid 2009 and have used it a nice amount. It does some things really well and the end product is great for sharing.  However when there isn’t a widget for everything you need, it breaks down.  I usually found myself starting with paper and moving to Balsamiq if I need to communicate a design to others.

Recently, I came across Noteshelf and it is my new mockup tool of choice.  Noteshelf is a slick notetaking app for the iPad that is currently at the top of the US iPad sales chart as I write this.

NS-MainViewNoteshelf is a handwriting app that just takes what you draw/write and saves it as an image (No keyboard input.)  As you would expect, there are lots of pen and color options along with the ability to import images.  You can create multiple notebooks to organize all your notes on the common bookshelf view.  Notebooks can be saved as images or PDFs. 

Where this gets interesting is there is an in app purchase for designer paper which gives you an iPhone template and an iPad template for drawing mockups.

Once you add these to NS-ZoomViewyour app, you can make notebook of mockup pages for your app.  There are some incredibly helpful features like the zoom feature which lets you make work a smaller section of the page to give you a finer control and wrist protection which when turned on keeps your hand from making marks when you are writing with a stylus.

Pro Tip: Splurge for a stylus if you plan to give this a real test. It makes a huge difference.

Once you’ve got your app mocked up over as many pages as you need, it is easily sharable. The export options are excellent.

NS-ExportI linked up my DropBox account and that to me is the perfect why to export these at least until iCloud is fully rolled out.

At the moment, the app is $0.99 and the designer paper pack is another $0.99.  $2 is a bargain for the perfect mockup tool assuming you have an iPad handy.

Note regarding the marvelous sample images: I wasn’t quite ready to share any of the real mockup images I’ve done in Noteshelf yet, so I made up this fine sample of Rabbot.  I have no idea what it is or how it plays, but if you find an interesting game in there, I look forward to trying it out.

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