The three products I discovered and tested were App Sketchbook (US$16.99), iPhone Application Sketch Book (US$14.99), and The Developer Sketchbook for iPhone Apps (US$19.99). All of them are designed for the same reason, to let iPhone devs or business analysts describe how they want an application's user interface to look. Follow along as I take a look at these three sketchbooks, as well as a metal stencil template for drawing UI elements.
The first sketchbook I purchased was App Sketchbook. Of the three products, this looks the most like an artist's sketchbook. It has a Wire-O binding so that the pages lay flat, and has double-sided pages with three iPhone templates on each side. Since there are 100 pages in the sketchbook, you can draw up to 600 iPhone screen diagrams.
The next sketchbook was a freebie at 360iDev Denver. The iPhone Application Sketch Book (below) has 100 double-sided pages featuring one iPhone template per page and a vast expanse of light blue-ruled graph paper surrounding each template on which you can write notes. While this sketchbook has predefined areas for the status bar (it shows the signal strength bars and battery icon) and home button row, the latter did not appear to be the correct number of pixels in height.
The final choice, The Developer Sketchbook, is a more typical book designed by Dave Woodridge of Electric Butterfly. I've been a happy user of Electric Butterfly's HelpLogic application, which is used to create help files for Mac and Windows programs. When I saw that Electric Butterfly was involved, I immediately made sure I could get a copy to look at.
When I say that this is a more typical book, what I'm saying is that it does not have a Wire-O binding -- instead, it's like a thick paperback book (see below). This, of course, makes it difficult to lay it out flat and use tools to assist in sketching. On the other hand, The Developer Sketchbook is the most useful of the three sketchbooks. Of the 500 pages, 100 are enlarged 320 x 480 grids for designing user interfaces in a portrait configuration, 100 pages are 480 x 320 grids for landscape design, there are 200 pages (the back sides of the grids, see below right) that are flowcharts for outlining the navigation of an app, and 100 pages of enlarged square grids for designing app icons.
The last item I'm going to write about isn't a sketchbook, but it is very useful when doing mockups of iPhone app UIs. It's the iPhone UI Stencil from Design Commission (US$16.95, see photo below), and not only do you get a very high quality metal stencil, but also a mechanical pencil (with eraser), a couple of Design Commission stickers, and downloadable iPhone templates in both letter and A4 sizes.
Whatever tools you happen to use to draw your dream iPhone apps, even if you just use a pen and a napkin, it's dreamers like you who are making the iPhone platform so incredibly useful.
- Key specs
- Type Smartphone
- Operating system iOS
- Screen size 4.7 inches
- Internal memory 16 GB
- Carriers (US) AT&T
- Dimensions 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in
- Weight 5.04 oz
- Released 2015-09-25
Apple iPod touch 6th-gen