Role – Product Designer/ Developer

The Background

Most millennials have stopped using the physical notebook and pencil/pen approach and prefer using more digital alternatives for taking notes. One major such reason remains is that it’s quite easy to take notes on a digital device such as a phone as compared to a physical notebook. However, the options/apps available to quickly note down ideas on a digital device have been a bit complicated to use.

Research process

To validate the problem and gain more insights, I spoke with a few people (total 4) who all were in their early to mid-20s.

The Problem –

  • It’s hard to find a platform where notes and ideas can be taken instantly with no additional effort.
  • Taking notes while on call: People while speaking with someone on call may find it a bit hard to jot down notes as they are using the phone. Noting on apps like notepad on laptop is possible but organizing it is not comfortable or convenient,
  • Cloud Based apps – These solve the purpose in the aforementioned point but most of them run in a browser and take time to load. Additionally, login is mandatory for using such services.
  • Privacy remains an important aspect as well as some information may be confidential and most wish the data not to be accessed by anyone else.

Competition Analysis

A quick analysis online revealed a few tools that somehow were solving the problem

Even though these solved the problem they had several drawbacks such as –

  • Didn’t necessarily have the autosaving feature hence the same problems as working on Notepad. Users may lose data if they forgot to save
  • Cluttered interface due to too much on screen
  • Some required login to use


Ideation/ Prototypes

Keeping in mind the major issues identified, the following idea was conceived –

The features of the tool included –

  • A large blank screen which provided an open canvas for the user to write notes without any distraction
  • A large font size making readability easy
  • An auto saving notification on the top showing the latest auto save version
  • The text was saved on to the users browsers cache memory instead of the cloud ensure privacy protection
  • The tool was not cluttered with features, hence loaded within milliseconds.

Learnings & Ongoing changes

The first version was made public, eventually getting featured on Product Hunt which received favorable reviews. This was published and covered by several blogs in more than 10 languages.

After some time, the platform went ahead with implementing some advanced features which included –

  • Downloading the ideas in txt/notepad file enabling the users to save the text in their computers
  • Emailing the text directly to other users to encourage ease in sharing ideas
  • A chrome plugin to ensure even easier access as the user just needs to open a new tab and Thoughtpad will auto load.

Thoughtpad eventually added a functionality which enabled users to save it on their iPads/smartphones as a web app. This insight came after a disabled author reached out explaining the issues she faced while typing and how it will help with ThoughtPad being available on devices such as tablets and phones.

One major constraint however which is still being faced is about the download option which at the moment isn’t available on the iPad. This change happened after the iPad OS was launched hence making the desktop browser indistinguishable from the tablet version.