Here at Icreon, we’re always looking out for the latest and greatest ways that apps are getting creative with UX and design to build high-quality apps. Over the past month, we’ve gotten up-close-and-personal with everything from creative iOS 8 keyboard apps, to ambitious new attempts to revolutionize the word processor. So here they are, the eight apps that have given us some great food for thought—and that we hope will inspire some ideas for you as well:
From the Texas-based studio Agile Tortoise comes Drafts 4, a text editor that uses one simple workflow: Open up the app and just start typing. Drafts revolves around the idea that when we’re stricken by inspiration to write something, it’s best to just press a button and be able to write it down. Every draft that’s written is saved, and every draft can be emailed, posted to social media, posted to Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive.
We love the way Drafts minimizes the space between the user and the text, and re-frames the entire workflow of digital word processing.
PhotoMath is one of those apps whose function is totally apparent after just one look. Take a picture of a math problem with your phone’s camera, and PhotoMath solves it for you. While PhotoMath might come off as a dream tool for cheating in high school, it actually serves well as an educational tool, as it also has the ability to guide students step-by-step through any solution it offers.
PhotoMath currently works best for solving simple algebraic expressions, but is constantly being improved. Maybe someday this thing will be able to take on calculus.
Platform: iOS, Windows, Android app available early 2015
It’s no secret that we at Icreon are fascinated by the potential applications of ephemeral apps. We’ve even argued that someday, enterprise technology may take influence from these kinds of applications! Skype Qik is a brand new addition to the ephemeral software lexicon, employing video message snippets through the Skype platform. Qik separates itself from its competitors by providing a new angle at ephemeral messaging—messages auto-expire after two weeks, but if you delete a message, it also deletes the message from everyone you’ve shared it with.
Platform: Windows Phone, iOS, Android
MonSense, from Two Fish Interactive, is a personal finance management app that employs clean design to streamline user budgets. We love its data visualization offerings – you can see your budgets in pie chart form, or even export it to a spreadsheet to keep all that information close at hand.
Since iOS 8’s release, we’ve been keeping an eye out for new and creative ways that people are using the new customizable keyboard opportunities that Apple has made available. At the moment, Translator Keyboard is displaying the most ambition in this area, as you might be able to tell from the name alone. Type a message into the Translator Keyboard, and it’ll translate your text into whatever language you select. It’s clean, it’s simple, and it’s constantly being upgraded—a great tool for connecting with any international friends you might otherwise have trouble communicating with.
Offtime is a new Android app that aims to let users “Unplug… in a hyperconnected world.” By limiting calls, messages and connectivity to your phone during certain scheduled times, it allows you to disconnect from the internet in ways that are constructive for your own personal well-being. The app also gives you analytics about phone and app usage, which is great for self-monitoring.
We’ve gone over the possibilities of “technological diets” on this blog before, and Offtime is a great potential arbiter for these kinds of disconnection efforts.
A Soft Murmur
Gabriel Martin, the designer and developer behind the new “A Soft Murmur” app, says on his site that he created the app for himself. It’s not a thing a developer would usually admit to, but it’s probably our favorite thing about this ambient noise-generator: It feels extremely intimate and personal. The UX is simple and icon-oriented. There’s a minimal space between user and the sounds that the app generates. Best of all, however, is the app’s customizability. Whether it’s a gentle breeze, a crackling campfire or a gentle coffee shop conversation, the sonic escapes that A Soft Murmur provides are completely customizable.
Have you spotted any inspiring apps that deserve a spot on next month’s “Apps That Inspire” list? Let us know!