Cross-platform Note-taking Prototype

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL DESIGN PRACTICE 

I took a journey to design for my choice of practice: it was note-taking.

Note-taking is among the most common practices of human beings for as long as the invention of paper. However, comes with the digital revolution is the appearances of electronic note-taking tools and apps. Does that essentially change the habit of how people take notes? If so, in what way? Which way is better? 

 After extensive research and interviews with various users, I gained essential design  insights to follow, which led me to design an iPad note-taking app prototype. 

 
 

Design Methods

 
 

Insights

  • For a meeting where no set agenda is in place, taking notes on papers allows for a more free mind-flowing experience but its lacks of structure will inhibit future understanding of the notes if not followed by a transcription. 

  • Note-taking is a personal practice with acronyms and self-drawn connections, more so on paper than in digital space.

    • People tend to have their own ways of analyzing note-taking situations and adopting techniques that they deem fit. The girl who works as a student note-taker said it took her roughly about 30 percent more time to take notes for other people than for herself. Different marking/bullet point systems are also used among individuals. 

  • The gap between digital and paper-based note-taking is not always well- defined

    • or those who has well thought of the purpose of note-taking beforehand, it is easier for them to take more efficient notes, whereas for those that don’t have a clear purpose in mind during note-taking tend to perform less efficiently, especially when switching between platforms.

  • Note-taking on paper helps with focusing

  • Different platforms called for different actions

 

Design Guidelines

  • Allow personalization of interface, including tools, background, etc.

  • Flexibility to incorporate paper notes to digital contents

  • Recall and search function should be included

  • Interface should help identify or bring awareness of noting purposes

  • Reminder of the action triggered by notes

  • Allow for flexible categorization system using keywords to help identify notes

 

The results

Taking the insights I have gained, I designed an iPad app prototype. 

Simple UI with color-coded type of notebooks

Simple UI with color-coded type of notebooks

Use camera to capture paper notes

Use camera to capture paper notes

Flexible editing screens to digitize paper notes with snippets of digital input

Flexible editing screens to digitize paper notes with snippets of digital input

Clusters of notes can be stored for future organization, getting rid of physical spaces. 

Clusters of notes can be stored for future organization, getting rid of physical spaces. 

 
 
 
Users choose to save it to existing notebook or start a new one

Users choose to save it to existing notebook or start a new one

 
Users can save it to any self-defined notebooks    

Users can save it to any self-defined notebooks

 

 

 
Automatically prompted "Next Step" allow users to immediately input actions (put events in calendars, etc.) to avoid loss of notes

Automatically prompted "Next Step" allow users to immediately input actions (put events in calendars, etc.) to avoid loss of notes