Using the Blueprint App to Mock Up Your Own App
App development can be a tricky process, and one of the first things you will want to do is map out your future app’s interface so you can get a wireframe of how the screens and menus will interact with each other. There are lots of ways of doing this – some developers like to simply draw it on paper or pin index cards of different screens on a board and connect them up, whereas other people use packages like Visio or Powerpoint. However, if you want something really professional that is easy to demonstrate to investors or give to your dev team to work from, it is better to use a proper wireframe design product. If you like the idea of designing your app in an app, so you can use your wireframe on your iPad just like the final app you are going to make, an app called Blueprint may be a big help to you.
What Can Blueprint Do?
Blueprint was made for people who have an app they would like to develop and want to map out the screens in an interactive wireframe. It is not, therefore, a tool to develop apps with, but simply to make representations of how your app will work while you are in the design phase.
It allows you to develop wireframes based on the screen of either the iPad or iPhone, and you can choose the orientation you prefer. So, for example, if you envisage your users always holding their iPad in the landscape orientation when using your product, you can design your wireframes for a sideways iPad.
It will let you create buttons on your wireframe screens which you can specify actions for, so you can for example have a button that takes the user to another screen in your app, and your Blueprint representation of that button can be made to take someone playing with the wireframe to the representation of the target screen. You can also make buttons bring up representations of menus and pop up boxes, making it easy to show what the elements on a given screen of your app will do.
You can import in pictures, so if you already have artwork or even concept art you want to include in your wireframe you can. This means you can create a very slick looking, highly interactive dummy version of the finished app if you want to put the time in (which you may well do if you have to present it to investors), or you can make something very crude simply to use for yourself as a developer to mark out which things in your app do what and how many screens you need.
Is It Any Good?
Blueprint is a good product and doesn’t seem to be impeded by any major bugs. The menus can take a while to get used to and while once you know what you are doing you can produce app wireframes very quickly, it does take some time to figure out how to do certain actions. It does produce really good interactive wireframes that you wouldn’t be ashamed to present to people or share, and it is certainly easier than trying to do the same thing in something you already own like PowerPoint.
There is a Lite version of Blueprint which is free, and will allow you to design an app with up to eight screens. If you therefore want something simple you can knock up quick and dirty app maps with then this is great, and it can also give you a chance to play with Blueprint and decide if you like it before investing in the full professional version.