an ios-app-prototyping curriculum intended for railsbridge-like workshops
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
WhenNextWeMeet add example prototype app Apr 12, 2015
LICENSE Initial commit Feb 12, 2015 adjust intro info, add sample images Apr 21, 2015 Fine tune auto layout language and add screen shots of creating const… Apr 25, 2015 tableview: basic steps, needs more words: Apr 24, 2015


An in-progress ios-app-prototyping-for-designers curriculum intended for MobileBridge workshops.

Submit a pull request or issue if you'd like to help.


  • Students get experience with iOS design patterns, building an app of their own very quickly
  • Show students that they already know stuff about iOS
  • Introduce some standard iOS building blocks
  • Practical hands-on experience with Interface Builder

Target Audience

  • Designers little or no programming experience
  • or expert programmers new to Xcode

Before this

TipCalculator: simple app to teach basic concepts.

  • Goal for students to get a feel and familiarity with XCode and to see the language (but not learn everything)
    • Experience with key concepts
      • a few controls (labels, text views, UIView)
      • Actions, Outlets
    • Property Panel
    • Code Editor: write a simple Function
    • Run App in Simulator

Open questions

  • ideally we'll have some expert TAs who can help students take their app where they want it to go if there's time
  • Suggest friday night session on app ideas
  • disable auto layout?

Teacher Background Knowledge

  • 3 most common types of navigation
    • tabs (tab bar with buttons at bottom of screen)
    • push (navigation controller)
    • modal (rise from below)
    • custom (e.g. hamburger menu)

Part 1 - Brainstorm

  • Show them UI patterns
  • Collect ideas for apps (go around the room and have students share an idea for an app)
    • for eachish idea, interject with an idea of a pattern that might apply (point to one in maybe)

Things that are special about phones

Tell students to think about the kinds of things that are special about phones. Ask them to tell you what these are, write on the whiteboard, add whatever they don't mention

  • geolocation
  • personal (contacts, always with you, your photos)
  • Accelerometer
  • camera / microphone (photos, video/audio recording)
  • flashlight
  • gestures
  • push notification

Part 2 - Design

  • hand out iPhone sized paper for drawing prototypes with instructions to actually write real sample text (not squiggles)
  • give students 15-20 minutes

Example: hand drawn iPhone app with three screens (a forms and two different lists) with tab bar along the bottom

Part 3 - Validate / Refine

  • have them "usability test" on other students
    • Suggest the kinds of questions to use as prompts in a usability test
      • what do you think when you've gone to this screen
      • you've just signed up with facebook what do you think this app does
      • you're trying to find a restaurant. What would you click on this screen
    • test subjects should speak aloud what they think
      • I think I should type my name here.
      • I think this arrow will show me the address of the restaurant
  • 10 minutes to revise screens based on feedback.

Part 4 - Prototype

  • take iPhone photos of prototype screens
  • in preview cut out the pieces and add them to xcassets (may require tools->adjust size since iphone photos have all the pixels)
  • use them as backgrounds for image views
  • create navigation controllers natively (an ideal app for this exercise uses standard navigation: 1. tabs 2. push reveal 3. modal)
  • you should have a working wireframed app with hardcoded example data from paper mockup.
  • Hurray!


three text entry fields three text entry fields three text entry fields

Questions/Actions that drive the class

  • What are some ways of getting from one screen to another in an iOS app (students should have some intuitions here. egg them along and write down what they say)
  • ... ?
  • Drag assets into xcassets
  • Who remembers how to disable auto layout? ()
  • drag an image view into the first view controller
  • Set a specific image in the UIImage View
    • How do I change properties of views? (get the students to remember this and tell you how to do it)
  • I'm going to wrap a navigation controller around this view controller (Editor > Embed In > Navigation Controller) Now I have this navigation bar
  • How do I know when to go to the next screen... right, let's add a button.
  • Now that button needs to trigger a transition to another screen. We need a new ViewController to control the new screen.
  • Now create the code to go with the ViewController in the storyboard. iOS panel -> Source > CocoaTouchClass
    • Name it correctly, case matters: UpdateStatusViewController.
    • It needs to be a subclass of UIViewController
  • drag in a view controller, you'll need to select the little yello bal to be able to find it in the list
  • Now go to the drivers license. The drivers licence tells you who you are. Here we write the name of the view controller so xcode can link up the viewcontroller in the nib with the code for what it does.
  • drag in a cancel button.
  • we're going to add behavior to the button. right click it and drag it and drop it in the viewcontroller's implementation.
  • select action (and not outlet)
  • in the code for the outlet, we want to make the view controller dismiss itself.
    • [self dismissViewControllerAnimated:YES completion:nil];

#Review Questions

  • What information is in a nib? why are nibs separate from the code that describes their behavior?
  • what is a view controller?
  • what are three ways of navigating from one screen to another?