For those of us who do qualitative market research, note taking is critical. We all have our habits, but I am continuously looking for ways to improve the quality and potentially save some time on the back-end doing analysis.
Every year or so, I like to embrace my “geekiness” and do my own tech research to find the latest and greatest note-taking tool. A few years ago I found Notes Plus that worked well for a time. I even bought a really nice stylus that I still use today. But, I quickly reverted back to paper and pen, since the app was a bit sketchy and cumbersome to work with.
Now, again, I felt it was time to revisit any new apps or updates to existing apps to see if there is anything new out there. For the past few weeks I have taken up the task of searching for the ultimate electronic note-taking tool. Here is my brief review of the pros and cons of one of the new app that I am playing around with, Notability (v7.2.2) by Ginger Labs.
So far, here are the pros and cons of Notability based on “my” perspective…
- Sync Audio to Handwriting: Yay! This is the biggest advantage for someone who needs to take handwritten notes during an interview. Point to a spot or word that you have handwritten in the app and the audio recording plays back what was recorded at that spot. (This saves so much time when I used to bring up a separate audio file in iTunes, then fast forward and rewind a hundred times to capture the quote).
- Easy to Write a Note: Intuitive menu items for text, pen writing, highlighter, eraser, cut/paste tool are obvious right at the top of your note. Hit one button in the settings to change the paper type and color.
- Simple to Organize Notes: Make dividers (like folders) by topic that you then can create subjects (or sub-folders) to keep your notes. Then in edit mode, just drag and drop your notes into the folders that you wish.
- Works well on iPad: I have an iPad that is about 5 years old and it works with no issues.
- No conversion from handwritten to text: Unlike some other apps, like NotesPlus, this app does not offer this capability.
- Must pay separately for app on both MAC and iOS devices: Buy the app once on an iOS device and you can install that app across iOS devices at no additional charge (for me, the app just showed up on all of my linked iOS devices). However, if you want to download the version for MAC desktop, then you will be charged again.
- No speech to text capability: It would be nice to have real-time conversion during an interview to have the audio automatically transcribed to text. It would make analysis much simpler.