Collected Notes is a notes taking app that you can use for more than just notes. Its focused on simplicity and that is clear from the moment you download the app and you open it. There is no distraction, you can start writing of the bat.
You can download the app today from the iOS App Store or you can use it through a web browser (Android users will have to wait for a native app for the moment, but it’s coming soon).
The initial version was launched on July 2nd 2020, so to the time writing this post, it’s a fresh app. But don’t be mistaken, while being new it has been developed by Alejandro Crosa, a well known Argentine developer living in California since several years.
Alejandro has worked in well known companies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Globant and currently working for Slack, more than enough to validate him as an ace senior developer who knows his turf.
About Collected Notes
The app encourages you to start using it immediately, there is almost no learning curve, and this is very important. You know what they say:
“A user experience is like a joke. If you have to explain it, its not that good.”
And this is what Collected Notes had in its core since the beginning, to be simple enough that it can be used for multiple things.
When you click on “Start writing for Free” you are taking to the registration page which seamlessly integrated the possibility to register with your Apple or Google account or with your email. Then you are prompted to enter a title, a site description and a path.
Then you can simply click on “Add Note+” on the upper right side of the screen and you can start writing:
Adding images unfortunately requires you to pay a small USD 5 a month subscription, but the cost will probably be quite friendly for most people. Still, you can add images from external sources (not hosted by Collected Notes).
I like the idea on how the service has been developed, with no ads in mind so you and the people reading your space can focus on your content and not on distraction ads that you can’t control.
Your own friendly URL
One of the things that I love the most out from Collected Notes is the possibility for you to have your own space, with your own brand in very few steps and at the same time with friendly URLs (web addresses) that will attract your viewers of your content.
For instance once I click on “Save” on the above demo note, I got the following URL: https://collectednotes.com/theonlinecorner/this-is-the-title-of-your-note if I defined the right permissions people would be able to read my content by clicking on it. Try it for yourself 😉
If you decide to pay for your subscription, in the near future you will be able to use your own domain name for your site, sweet! 🙂
You can decide who has access to see your notes, and this is controlled individually for each note you make:
— Private: Only you can access your content, you will need to log into your account for this.
— Public: Anyone accessing your site (For example: www.collectednotes.com/theonlinecorner) would be able to see your note.
— Unlisted (Private): Anyone with the link can see your note, but it will not be displayed if someone opens your site.
What could improve
While the app is great, I think it could be improved in some aspects. I love the flexibility of visualizations it offers and I already reached to Alejandro with some ideas on how this could be improved, who knows, maybe he likes them and implements them 🙂
I also think that key for a better adoption of the platform is to get rid of the markdown syntax enabled today to add formatting to texts. Non developers would appreciate having the typical WYSIWYG editor they find in Word, Google Docs and such applications as they are more friendly to use for most people. Alejandro commented me this might come soon, yeah! 🙂
On my personal account I have the possibility to add images, this is also being done through “Code” instead of just seeing the image displayed there. Basically I think that if the editor screen and the “what will my viewers see” screen is the same, everything would be simplified, somehow what Google Docs offers.
Other things that I think would be great additions are:
— Possibility to see statistics of how many views each note had, and a bit of general information like from where they are looking at it and so. Alejandro commented me some stats will be coming soon, and he doesn’t want to do a Google Analytics integration to keep the focus on respecting privacy.
— Possibility to show images as thumbnails in different styles in the home page being able to also re-arrange their order.
— Adding categories of different topics to organize the information we publish or to keep our notes with our own order. Having the possibility of defining specific folders to be public or not at all, will give us more flexibility. Alejandro commented that today you can sort notes manually, place one on the top of the list for instance, but he is working on something with machine learning to help people get their notes organized. Curious to see what he is working on, but I would still want to have some control over it 🙂
— For the ones looking to migrate all their blogs, it would be cool if you can buy a package of premium for multiple sites at a special price.
Static Website use case
Alejandro also shared he is working on a feature that will allow users with their own static website with the convenience of updating the posts through collected notes items!
Get USD 20 off on your first year!
I approached Alejandro with some questions for this review and also helped him with some feedback since its launched. He was so kind to share with me a discount code for all TheOnlineCorner.com readers!
For the first 100 persons who use this link to buy their premium subscription, will get USD 20 off on their first year or USD 2 on their monthly plan for their first year! Thank you, Alejandro!
I like Collected Notes, its concept and the possibilities it offers. Will it replace complete classic blogs based in WordPress for instance? For some people who just need a publication system and simplicity definitely yes. But for others looking for a bit more flexibility might not be so attractive, just yet.
In the end when you analyze how much time and effort it takes to maintain a WordPress site between plugins, updates, potential security topics, hosting issues and the costs involved around it, then Collected Notes starts to become more and more appealing.
Anyhow, having the option of a new concept is great. And the fact that Alejandro is open to suggestions and is implementing them quite fast, it’s a definitive smart way of launching an innovative online service like Collected Notes.
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very good article, thanks a lot!
I think this easy concept has also a great future. If Alejandro adds features like menu structure and design templates, it comes pretty close to simple blog WordPress pages. Before that, I would see it as a nice easy note capturing environment with sharing possibilities.