Recently I got to chat with Evernote's Damian Mehers, who had his hand in everything from the Evernote Windows Phone client to Evernote Food for Android and more importantly Evernote for the Galaxy Gear and Pebble. I got to pick his brain a bit to find out just what goes down from start to finish with an app like this. Evernote is known for their cross-platform note taking on computers, phone and tablets, but there was certainly more to it.
I was curious to find out more on just what goes into creating an app like for a wearable device, and Damian was kind enough to lend some insight for us.
What was the motivation to move Evernote to the wearable space?
Part of what makes Evernote so useful is that you can access your stuff pretty much no matter where you are and on whatever device you want to use, be it the Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone etc. So it was a natural extension of this to bring Evernote to the wearable space too.
The tricky thing is how to render your information useful to you given a small screen and limited input. Here context is key.
On devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear we also let you capture information and save it to your Evernote account, such as taking photo or voice notes from your watch.
What were the biggest design considerations when making Evernote on Pebble?
We wanted to make it as easy to use as possible. Key to this is surfacing your most important information when you need it, based on your context, since searching is out of the question.
So if you are visiting a place you have already visited, and taken notes at, such as a restaurant, or a company, we make it really easy to find nearby notes, or if you are at the supermarket and have your shopping list in Evernote, you can quickly and easily find your checklists and check items off.
Obviously not all information in Evernote is appropriate for the wrist, but small text notes, checklists and photos can make sense in that space.
How did you decide what features to include in the app?
We tried to provide easy access to your notes based on context - easy access to your most important notes (shortcuts and reminders), easy access to notes you created nearby, easy access to checklists.
Above and beyond that, recognizing that the Pebble does appeal to early adopters, we did also give you ways to access notes through more traditional means, such as through tags, notebooks and saved searches, which are a little more fiddly to use.
What is your favorite feature of the app?
I really like the checkbox feature - when making the choice between pulling out my phone or using my watch, some things are clear winners - being able to check items off without having my phone out is much easier when shopping.
Are there any features that we may see added to the Pebble app in the future?
The initial feedback has been very positive, with the app very highly rated in the Pebble store. We did everything we thought made sense in the initial release, but I'm sure we missed something. Let us know!