Information Architects' Writer, Or Building the Perfect iPad Writing App

Illustration for article titled Information Architects Writer, Or Building the Perfect iPad Writing App

Most apps appear in the App Store with little fanfare. Information Architects' Writer arrived with a manifesto. In it, the group outlines the many decisions they made in their quest to design the perfect writing environment for the iPad.


The key to good writing, they say, is focus, and the guiding principle of Writer was to minimize distractions. That means no autocorrection, no scroll bars, and no cut and paste. Just you and the text. A Focus Mode even blurs out everything but the three lines you're currently working on, keeping your focus locked on the sentence you're writing.

Illustration for article titled Information Architects Writer, Or Building the Perfect iPad Writing App

Information Architects also took pains to make sure that the typography was just right. After consulting with various typographic wizards, they settled on a special version of the monospaced font Nitti Light optimized for the iPad. As far as input goes, a new row of keys on top of the standard iPad keyboard adds arrow keys, as well as quick access to frequently used punctuation. The app supports Dropbox, too (as any iOS text editor worth its salt should) to keep all your files safe in a nice fluffy cloud.

It's great to see apps that are built with care and consideration, and Writer is definitely one of those. You can grab it in the App Store right now for $5. [iTunes via Information Architects]

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This does look like a well-thought-out app, for what it is. And I can appreciate the concept, and the niche its trying to fill (create?). But in simplifying itself, it imposes its own work habits on its user, rather than the other way around. That annoys me.

Yes, when I'm composing something, it's helpful to have as few distractions as possible. But actually pounding away on the keyboard is only part of the writing process: a large part, to be sure, but the steps that follow are just as important.

Focus is certainly a key to good writing, but just as important are merciless editing, careful revision, and tireless rewriting. And for that, I need copy/paste, the ability to rearrange blocks of text, and (at least) the ability to grey out, italicize, or otherwise highlight text (the ability to notate text would be ideal, but Pages doesn't even offer that).

I'm sure this will be useful for some, but for me, this would be $5 for an app with half the necessary functionality of apps I already have.