Friday, March 30, 2012

Here's a great app: Notability

So here is the first app endorsement on this blog: Notability, in the ITunes App store. It is a note-taking app for the iPad. And it is a revelation. It actually works better than pen and paper.

I've bought other stylus apps before, like Penultimate and Bamboo paper. But somehow they just felt difficult to use. I couldn't really imagine using them in place of a notepad. When I'm talking notes in a meeting or conference, I need to be able to write very fast without being slowed up by a program.

Then I was sitting in the first session of a conference in DC on Monday morning, and found I'd let my paper pad in the hotel room. I was resigned to scrawling notes on the conference program.

But I did have my stylus pen (stylus pens for the iPad have a special tip to make them work better; I use one made by Kingston). So I thought I'd give Notability a try, which I'd downloaded a few weeks earlier in the search for a viable note-taking app.

It worked. It just worked. I took over thirty pages of notes without difficulty during the conference. Now I'm a convert.

You write at the bottom of the screen, so there are no difficulties with palm rests or marking the screen. But it is easy and intuitive to move the box to enter handwritten text anywhere you like. I found I could write just as fast as on paper, and the results came out neater because the app kept lines constant. It also keeps notes arranged much better than accumulating dozens of scrawled notepads on my desk.

So it's a whole extra dimension of usability for the iPad.

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