An iPhone can be a powerful memory aid — jot down a note or a phone number without hunting for paper and a pen, or take a quick picture of anything you’d like to remember, from bus schedules to business cards. Sometimes, however, we lose track of the context of the many pictures on our phones, I still can’t remember the address of the apartment building I took a photo of last month.
Notica allows you to easily add context and style to your iPhone photos, including date, location, notes and filter effects. Let’s take a look at how Notica promises to make your memories more informative and stylish.
Interface and Design
Notica features a richly textured, appealing interface, with beautiful details and a consistent “notecard” analogy. The purple color scheme may be a bit feminine for some users, but it looks great with the wood background.
Interacting with Notica is overall a pleasant experience, and most of the app behaved as you would expect, save for some awkward interactions with the “new image/video” interface.
To add a new image to Notica, you can either take a picture from within the app or add one from the camera roll. I found this to be the most confusing and unintuitive part of Notica, because it wasn’t at all obvious how to add images from the camera roll. The button to add a new image has a camera icon on it, so you’d think that would take you straight to the camera interface, but instead it takes you to the “new notecard” interface. The option to use existing camera roll photos is within the camera interface itself, and even then it’s not a very obvious option.
To add an image from your iPhone’s camera roll, click the camera button to bring up the “new notecard” screen, then select “photo/movie”, and hit the icon with the two rectangles in the lower left-hand corner.
Another gripe with the camera view is the “back” button is labeled “off,” and if I had an iPhone 4, I’d assume that was referring to the flash.
After taking or importing a picture, you can choose from a number of effects for your photo, which are mostly your basic color effects that you’d find included in an app like Camera+. Since it takes a while to load all the previews, I would have appreciated being able to skip this step.
Once you’ve got your image processed, you’re given the option to add a note about the image and assign a location. You can use the geolocator to input your location automatically, or manually enter it yourself.
Viewing and Organizing
Scrolling through notecards was my favourite part of Notica, flick through them just like you would in the camera roll, the notecards are attractive and have easy options for editing, deleting and moving them.
Notecards are organized in groups, you can add your own by hitting “edit” on the main screen, where you can specify a name and cover picture for your group. You can also search the text in your notes by dragging down on the screen.
You can share notecards via Twitter, Tumblr, Email or Facebook with the “down” arrow at the bottom of each notecard. I tried sharing a notecard on Twitter, it automatically uploaded to twitpic and tweeted the link from my account. The notecards somehow don’t look quite as elegant as they do in the app, but I appreciated how easy the sharing feature was, and the Tumblr integration is a nice touch.
If you’ve used the geolocator to add a location to one of your notecards, you can click on the address when viewing it and it plots it in a map view, you can also choose to view the address in the native Map application.
I like the idea of Notica, and it has a really beautiful interface that I enjoy using. However, I’m not sure I’d be able to use this app regularly because it’s just too slow. The biggest issue is adding effects to images — both the previews and the processing take quite a while on my 3G. Though I imagine Notica runs much more smoothly on an iPhone 4, I’d appreciate the option to skip the image effects.
I’m sure some of you are wondering what the point is of an app like Notica, which doesn’t seem to have any functionality not found in existing apps. For taking picture notes with text, people sometimes suggest Evernote, but Evernote is neither as fun or visually appealing as Notica. If I had a faster phone, I could see myself using Notica to record things like gift ideas, favourite meals, quick recipes, or even design ideas.
That being said, Notica has a couple of usability flaws I wasn’t too keen on, mostly relating to unintuitive labelling of buttons and interactions. If you’re willing to be a bit patient when you first start using Notica, I can see it being a really useful, beautiful way to store memories, both as reminders and as keepsakes.