September 30, 2012

Designing my ideal Note-taking application


Note app

The need

I have recently discovered the need for a good note-taking application. I have tried Tomboy (and Gnote), RedNotebook, KeepNote, and a few others. None of these applications seemed to provide an experience I wanted: simple, easy to use, and did not get in my way.

Design guidelines

The main features of this application's design are:

  • Sparse, simple layout.
  • Sits in the background and makes itself available anytime I need to create a note, or refer to an existing note.
  • Classification is purely via #hashtags in the note. No cumbersome creation of folders, and hierarchical tree layout. Instead rely on tag and metadata information, coupled with advanced search to help the user find any note easily.
  • Powerful and very fast search with tag filtering, and logical operators (ala Gmail). Preferably real-time like Google instant search.
  • Easy in and out note taking - never tries to gain attention of the user until called for, and even then, let the user go as quickly as possible.
  • Markup based - no rich editing. Notetaking is much faster if you don't have to move between the mouse and  keyboard.
  • Quick note taking - for when you want to copy a URL, or a small snippet of code, or a quote you came across.

The Design

So I sat down and designed my ideal interface. See the complete 9-page design, created using the cool Evolus app. This borrows the utilitarian interface influence from web apps like Gmail and Google Reader, since notetaking is an activity that is a mix of the two.

So do you know of any (preferably free and open source) notetaking application that full-fills above criteria and design? If not, maybe it's time to make one!