Road to 1.0: Safeguarding your notes and UX improvements

Addressing the main pain points from the alpha user test

It’s roughly two or three weeks since the first batch of testers got their hands on a super early version of Noto. The group is still small enough that I could have a quick chat with all of them, taking notes of the main concerns, pain points and usability problems.

Noto is still very far from being ready for “real users” but many of them started to see value in it and could project into the future with some excitement.

The main blockers for using Noto beyond testing are clear:

  1. Lack of trust in the long-term safety of the notes

  2. Usability problems, especially around the Topics feature

Sign in to personalize and secure your Noto

Users trust their note taking apps with valuable data that they want to keep safe for weeks, months or years. It’s very understandable that they don’t trust an app that is under active development by a solo dev in his free time.

The first mitigation in this area are strong accounts: You can still use Noto anonymously for as long as you want, but now you can also sign in with Apple, Google or Microsoft to secure your data. In the future, Noto will use these connections to pull your calendar events into the agenda view and the scheduling assistant.

Improving the usability of Topics

Topics is one of the key features in Noto: It allows you organize your notes automatically, removing the need to think of labels, categories or folders every time you add a new note.

At the moment it takes too much explaining and it still breaks the expectations of most testers. Very few of them have managed to use them as designed.

I am still thinking of ways to improve Topics, but I have some ideas in mind:

  • Highlight the keywords of Topics in the notes, so you can better understand how the automatic categorization works. It will also create a second access point for topics: Clicking on the keywords directly.

  • Create “soft topics” with a hash symbol. Similar to what you can see in Twitter or Instagram, you will be able to write #recipes to categorize the note in a “recipes” Topic. These topics will not be visible in the Topics bar until you decide to promote them.

  • Users want more ways to assign notes to Topics after the note is created. I will add a new flow to support this in a better way.

With this in mind, I am planning to take the next 2-3 weeks to work on these items, fix bugs, and polish things a bit more. After that, I will feel confident for a second round testing :)

Thank you for reading! ♥