Noteshelf

A UX Case Study


OVERVIEW
Noteshelf was originally released in 2010 as an independent project for digital note-taking. We built a steadily growing user-base who relies on the iPad app for their business and student notes. In 2017, we released an all new modern version and expanded it for the iPhone and Apple Watch.


PROBLEM
Can a full-featured handwriting and PDF markup app with all the bells and whistles be packaged simply, whilst retaining all the customization possibilities existing users love? A tall order to say the least. As more and more features like audio recording and theming options like cover and paper templates were added, it was time for Noteshelf to overhaul the user experience.




Discovery



WHAT USERS LIKED & DIDN'T LIKE
Luckily, we had thousands of active users to tap into. From note-taking hobbyists to full-on power users with hundreds of notebooks on their shelves, we first identified what needed to be carried over and what needed to be ruthlessly cut.



🏆 TOP USER GOALS 🏆

1. Quickly create notebooks for rapid note-taking
2. Add handwritten, typed and voice notes beautifully with little to no effort
3. Import, annotate and share PDFs easily






Mapping

Do more in less taps. In the existing Noteshelf app, it became more and more tedious to do the tasks that in principle should be quick and easy to do. Advanced features were presented together with the basic ones. We mapped the most accessed tasks and simplified accordingly.




CREATING NOTEBOOKS IN CURRENT APP



IMPORTING DOCUMENTS IN CURRENT APP



NAVIGATION
We needed to simplify the structure that was coming from the classic Noteshelf app. The same features started to appear in multiple places, some buried deep menu hierarchies. Card sorting was done to map the universal settings that were scattered in various places.



SORT. FEEDBACK. REPEAT.
Finally, we had a navigational structure to guide our ideation.









IDEATE

It was then time to start with quick and dirty sketches to test high-level ideas, concepts and user flows.







Design, Test, Iterate

Rinse and repeat. Design is never-ending. Noteshelf has since added Apple Watch support, handwriting conversion and recognition, club downloads and more. Likewise, since launch, we have since refactored the user experience of various aspects of the app--writing tools, text mode, onboarding, among others. As more feedback from actual users have come in, we have continued to iterate and improve.
We have no plans of stopping, too. 🖊️