HomeGadgetsMedia GadgetsInformation Architects' 'Writer for iPad' App

    Information Architects’ ‘Writer for iPad’ App

    A new iPad app from Information Architects called Writer for iPad is designed to remove many of the distractions that can send inspiration packing and give writers a better chance of maintaining focus.

    Even though word processing programs like Word and Pages are a godsend for editing text, many writers actually still prefer a typewriter or even the handwritten word to get ideas down – at least for a first draft. Others opt for basic text editors such as NotePad or TextEdit because they offer a relatively distraction-free interface. The folks at Information Architects have taken this to the next level with a simplified interface that removes all of the unnecessary distractions of standard word processors, such as auotcorrection, scroll bars and cut/copy/paste.

    To assist a writer in maintaining focus on what they’re writing, Writer for iPad has a feature called “Focus Mode” that combines the best of both the analog and digital world. Focus mode creates a noise-free writing space that blurs out everything except the current three lines of text that are being worked on. The developers say this approach takes advantage of the limitations of writing text by hand, where there a limited number of words in your field of view and editing is messy. In comparison, text on the screen quickly becomes confusing and can lead to a chaotic loop of crisscross editing that destroys the organic structure of the original thought. The developers don’t suggest writing in Focus Mode at all times, rather, “the idea is to use it when you get stuck, blinding out everything else.”

    Recognizing that good typography is also an essential part of the writing process on a screen, the developers consulted a number of type, screen and graphic designers and settled upon a monospaced font called Nitti Light that was created and optimized for the iPad. The developers say this font forces the reader to read slowly and precisely without being tedious to look at. Writer also sets the text size, column width, leading and contrast for the best reading experience in both portrait and landscape modes so you can focus on what really matters – writing.

    Instead of relying on page numbers, which are fine for physical pages but can be near on meaningless for digital text, Writer for iPad uses reading time for the measure to assess the quantity of text. Placing the cursor at a point within the text will provide an approximation of how many minutes and seconds it will take to read to that point.  The app also features Dropbox integration for synching documents to the cloud without having to go through iTunes. Apple’s recent announcement that AirPrint wireless printing will be coming to the iPad (and iPhone and iPod touch) in iOS 4.2 is sure to come in handy for users of the app as well.

    Version 1.0 of Writer for iPad is available in the App Store now for US$4.99. The development team at Information Architects is now working on updates to add word count and sort out a few minor bugs in the current version. The team is also working on a desktop version with an advanced Focus Mode and “cool editing features.” If they put half as much thought into it as they have with Writer for iPad, it will no doubt be worth considering as well.

    David Novak
    David Novak
    For the last 20 years, David Novak has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV around the world, reviewing the latest in consumer technology. His byline has appeared in Popular Science, PC Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Electronic House Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Forbes Technology, Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Glamour Magazine, T3 Technology Magazine, Stuff Magazine, Maxim Magazine, Wired Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Business Journal, Better Homes and Garden, CNET, Engadget, InfoWorld, Information Week, Yahoo Technology and Mobile Magazine. He has also made radio appearances on the The Mark Levin Radio Show, The Laura Ingraham Talk Show, Bob & Tom Show, and the Paul Harvey RadioShow. He’s also made TV appearances on The Today Show and The CBS Morning Show. His nationally syndicated newspaper column called the GadgetGUY, appears in over 100 newspapers around the world each week, where Novak enjoys over 3 million in readership. David is also a contributing writer fro Men’s Journal, GQ, Popular Mechanics, T3 Magazine and Electronic House here in the U.S.

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