About a week before the iPad announcement, I decided to take my best guess at what the Apple tablet would look and feel like. I created a prototype out of cardboard and a printed mockup (read about the process and my predictions here). This is what I ended up with:

As it turns out, I was closer to the truth with this prototype than I expected to be. My screen dimensions were a little off (I assumed a 16:9 screen) and my button was in the wrong place, but otherwise, I did fairly well.

Since the iPad announcement I’m seeing a lot of fake iPads as designers, anxious to start mocking up screens, are turning to good old cardboard and paper to simulate the device. Just today I discovered that the OmniGroup is using cardboard prototypes to mock up an iPad version of OmniGraphSketcher. They’ve created their own prototypes, but you can also print photo-realistic prototypes of the iPad thanks to Jess Silverstone.

Omnigroup iPad Prototype

An iPad prototype from Omnigroup


The iPaperPad is a photo-realistic paper prototype.

It’s great to see so many people making hardware prototypes to inform their software design. To quote Keith Lang paraphrasing Alan Kay, “People who are really serious about software mockups should make their own hardware mockups.”