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QuickAdvice: Remember Things Better with Visual Notes

August 8, 2010

QuickAdvice: Visual Notes

Visual Notes by Richard Lucas icon

Visual Notes ($0.99) by Richard Lucas is a simple yet elegant note taking app that emphasizes on visuals and geolocation.

The premise of this app is fairly simple - open it, add a new note with either text only, a photo from the Photos app, or take a new photo with the camera. A text note is just that - text. Nothing fancy, just plain text. When adding a photo, however, there is plenty of emphasis on the visual portion of the note, with optional text. I mean, a photo is worth a thousand words (or more), right?

Once a photo is added, you'll be taken back to the main screen where all the notes are listed. If you think the visual note you just made needs a bit of text to help you keep track of something or another, you'll have to view the note and tap the little speech bubble icon at the top. This will turn the photo around and be give you a typing screen. Once done with that, hit 'Done' and you can view the note - toggle between the visual and the text by tapping the icon in the top.

Photos that were taken within the app will have attached geolocation data in them. This is important to note because these photos will create notes that will be represented with a pin on the in-app map. Optional is the ability to view the address or location in the default Maps app, though I found not much use for this since it wouldn't have the note, and the location is already viewable in the app. But that's just me, of course - your mileage may vary with that little feature.

Visual Notes by Richard Lucas screenshot

I was a bit disappointed that not all the notes you create in the app will have geolocation data on them. It seems that notes will only get location data when it contains a photo that is taken using the camera from within Visual Notes. I think it would be a better idea to have all notes geotagged with location based on where they were created, even text notes.

I really do appreciate the simple yet beautiful user interface though. Everything scrolls smoothly, responds quickly and naturally, and feels very polished for a 1.0 app. On the iPhone 4's Retina display, every little bit of detail with the interface is not wasted, all the way down to the grain texture of the corkboard-like background of the main screen. It's just gorgeous to look at.

Visual Notes by Richard Lucas screenshot

The only thing that is missing from this otherwise great app is the ability to sync or backup your notes. I was unable to find any kind of online cloud syncing feature, or even a way to sync with your computer. I would guess that the data is backed up via the backup system of iTunes, but we all know how dependable those are (as in almost never) because many times we need to restore without a backup or just decide to start fresh.

This app is beautiful though, and it's worth a shot to try out and see if it's something for you, but without some type of backup or syncing method, I can't say it's a must-get app, unless you do absolutely EVERYTHING directly on your device.

This app has great potential. Hopefully the developer will consider some type of backup/syncing solution in future updates. This is definitely one to keep an eye on, though.

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