I know that I’m on this meme of using the iPad more for productivity and creation-based tasks, but there’s really something to it. I think that the iPad (and similar sized tablets) can not only excel here, but also should reinvent how we go about thinking and producing works.
This was the tweet which encapsulates what exactly I’ve been chewing on:
I do a lot of writing. And with current work for MMM, Brighthand, and in-between, I need to manage media in several forms. Lately, I’ve been more wanting to get out of the shadow of the traditional PC mindset, and move more about using the iPad for the compiling and final writing, and my mobiles as initial photo and creation stations.
Some of the best applications that I’ve seen towards this direction are Evernote and Google Docs. Evernote does the part of being a great (little) notebook. I can usually take snaps on my mobile, and send them with some accessory notes to my Evernote account. This I can then edit to whatever form on my iPad.
And on the other side of that Google Docs allows me to do more structured documents (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) and then send these to others as a link so that we can better collaborate over those documents and get something cleaned up for a final view.
Both applications are solid in what they do, but they don’t connect enough for me just yet. Also, I have the need to be able to edit the whiteboard (or napkin) drawings that I do on my marker-led white board. Those images and thoughts are great, but once I get the image into Evernote, or retype the content for Google Docs, I’m really left with an image asset that’s not very well connected to my worklfow.
The Ideal and Probable Future:
So let’s go back to the tweet:
[Thinking] an app for my iPad that can turn an image into a #Visio-like scribble for Evernote like collections/GDocs-like collaborations
My workflow has some consistent points:
- I always sketch something (whiteboard or outline)
- There’s usually some mode of asset management (picture or an entire gallery of media)
- There’s some aspect of sharing or collaboration involved (blog, shared document, etc.)
So, basically I need to be able to sketch some ideas, use arrows/circles, and some OCR to make an outline into it, being writing a document (another sheet appended to that original document); link images from local and connected sources; tweak presentation via CSS; and then post or share it (URL to self-hosted or subscription-based hosted space) to those that would benefit from it.
What I am doing with Evernote and Google Docs is close, but not quite there. I still have to handle media on my devices outside of the application – and the iPad Photos app gets a huge thumbs down from me for not being able to import other galleries you use such as Flickr via RSS.
With applications like Evernote, you have to do the digging to make sure that you can graft on the functionality of inking – but that does nothing to let you know about what you can do with an image that you import into the app (need to investigate Evernote Trunk more I know). Google Docs rocks for collaboration, especially when folks aren’t in the mood to deal with attachments either, but the fact that you need to have a connection (until all browsers support HTML5’s local databases) is a problem for creation.
Conclusions: The Future to Be Composed of Different Workflows
I think, at least after sitting on that tweet and this workflow (and several documents) over the past weeks that this is where tablets become creation stations, and where we change how we compose and think about documents/media in an age where the Internet is literally being leveraged as both the creation space and container for our thoughts.
What think you (because some are already seeing this change without any provocation)?