For many of us savvy computer users, Evernote is among the top 10 essential apps for our computer and mobile devices. Even as a free app, Evernote provides a lot of online storage and app space to stuff notes, web clippings, screenshots, small PDFs, etc.
Though Evernote is just a file cabinet for collecting all sorts of stuff, its attractive design and simple user interface make it stand out above the rest.
And it is also its design appeal that makes Evernote’s two recently released iPhone and iPod touch apps, Hello and Food, worthy of a download.
On a few occasions I’ve taken out my iPhone and recorded the contact information of people I’ve met. It’s no big deal, for it’s part of what you do with a smartphone. I’ve also handed my phone to others and asked them to type in their contact information for me. Again, no big deal, but that’s exactly what Evernote Hello app does. It’s a simple way to collect someone’s contact information, except the user interface looks more like a greeting card than the techie text fields of an address book.
Let’s say you’re at network business meeting, event, or party and you meet someone who you want to keep in touch with it. You launch Hello on your iPhone, tap the + button, and then hand that person your phone. Your recipient enters his or her contact information and then snaps a photo of him or herself using the iOS self-facing camera.
The user interface for Hello consists of your photo and a personal small greeting that I would imagine — for I haven’t tried it on anyone yet — would make the recipient feel more comfortable about entering information into your phone.
If the recipient includes an email address, your contact information along with your snapped photo gets automatically emailed to your recipient. This email feature alleviates the problem of your contact not having an iPhone with the app installed on it to exchange information. (Remember the old Bump app that required you to “bump” another person’s iPhone to exchange information? Yeah, right…how many people did you ever get around to bumping with?)
Now of course if you meet someone who would give you a dazed look when handing them your iPhone, you could simply enter the information yourself and snap their photo, making sure you switch the lens direction of the camera.
Personally I can’t wait to use this app, for I can’t count how many times I’ve lost someone’s business card or didn’t have pen and paper to write down their contact information. I use my iPhone as my wallet now, so an app like this is perfect for storing contact information. The contact information you receive is also synced to your Evernote account for instant backup, but unfortunately it doesn’t get copied to your Address Book.
Of course with the first version of an app like this, there are many things you wish it could or would not do. First off, the camera snaps four photos, all of which are retained in the app. (Thankfully they are not copied to your device’s Camera Roll.) However, the camera starts snapping photos when the person raises the iPhone to his face. This may feel a little awkward for some users, which will probably mean retaking the photo several times to get it “right.”
It would be better if the recipient could just select one photo from the four that are snapped, though that would take away from the mini slideshow effect for each of your contacts on the homepage.
It’s also great that your contact information is sent to the recipient, but it would be even better if you could somehow select from a few previously setup profiles, say one for business and one for social contacts.
And many users will wonder why they can’t add their Facebook info, like they can their Twitter address.
Evernote Food is another simple information gathering app that is quite frankly similar to how you probably already use Evernote or another note application that can also capture images.
Evernote Food has a clean easy-to-use interface, in which you simply launch the app, tap the + button, and snap a photo of a memorable meal that you have eaten at home or at a restaurant.
I have already started such an image collection in the aNote app I use on my iPhone. But honestly, I will now start using Food because the layout is more attractive.
Food will also record, using GPS integration, the location in which you take a photo, as well as allowing you to tag your images and write your own captions and additional notes.
You can share your captured content via e-mail, Twitter or your Facebook account.
The photos you take in Food are also copied to your Camera Roll, and the content can be saved to a notebook in your Evernote account.
Food might be very useful for recording recipes, restaurant meals and menus, wines and special types of coffee that you want to remember. But this Evernote app doesn’t have a folder structure, nor can you search content by tags, which are used in your Evernote account and related apps.
Let us know what you think about Evernote Hello and Food. As free apps, requiring iOS 5.0 or later, they are so well designed that you will want to check them out for their sheer simplicity.