Android Central

Jot is a simple, lightweight note-taking widget for Android that recently had a user interface overhaul. It is an absolutely pared-down set of widgets that very simply provide fast, clear access to a notepad from the home screen. You aren’t going to find a ton of fancy features here, but you will get fast, easy access to plain text.

Style

Android Central

Jot takes minimalism to an extreme. There are three home screen widgets total. Two of them (one 4 x 2, one 4 x 1) show your latest Jot, and the other is a single icon that brings up the Jot pad. Tapping any of them brings up a text box and the keyboard so you can start jotting away. There’s also a button to clear what’s there, but beyond that it’s extremely bare bones.

Though the font used for notes is nice enough, it would be nice to have something just a little bit more stylish - maybe the one the app uses in its buttons to stay consistent, but stand apart from other home screen widgets and apps. The widget border is sharp and clean with rounded corners, but there’s a greyed out button in the menu for Theme, which suggests we might see some new styles soon. The widgets could probably stand to be just a bit bigger, if only to eke out a few more lines in a single view. As is, the big widget handles 10 lines of text, and the small one has four, but neither has a scroll bar without tapping on the widget first.

Function

Android Central

Beyond taking plain text notes, Jot’s only real feature of note is the ability to share out to whatever apps you have tied into the system-wide menu. Unfortunately, that’s not a two way-street. If there’s a section from an e-mail that you’d like to Jot, the app won’t pop up in the share menu. Instead, you’ll have to laboriously copy and and paste it into the widget. First-world problems, I know.

That said, there are still quite a few features that could be fed in while still keeping Jot nicely sparse. For example, being able to save multiple Jots at any given time would be helpful. Maybe a subtle tab system along one side of the widget would help there.

My only minor quibble about usability is that tapping on the widget doesn’t immediately bring up the keyboard, requiring a second tap on the box that’s summoned before you can start editing or adding text. For an app that should be priding itself on being fast and simple, that one extra tap counts for a lot.

Pros

  • Distraction-free layout

Cons

  • Feature-weak

Bottom line

There’s something to be said for an app that tries really hard to keep it simple. Most developers would try to cram in rich text formatting, automatic backing up to Evernote, and all sorts of other stuff, but a lot of folks are fans of keeping it simple. Serious scribblers are more likely to pick up something like ColorNote, but if you put higher value on classy minimalism, Jot is a good way to go.

 
There are 11 comments

Sounds like the perfect note app for my Thrive! Will check the price on this lil dude . . .

Cubfan says:

How can you recommend something this fugly? One word per line? Not even word wrap of any kind. What a waste of screen real estate.

baykes says:

"pick up milk" is clearly 3 words and they are all on one line.
Im pretty sure the rest of the lines were one word on purpose just to to quickly show off the number of lines of text that fit into the widget.

And how could you possibly conclude there's no word wrapping if you're already convinced it only does one word per line?

n0obpr0 says:

Is more than one word per line guy...

Simon Sage says:

Yeah, I was only putting in one word per line to see how many lines I could fill up and how scrollbars were handled. 

Cubfan says:

Ahh, OK. I feel better now. :)

kennonk says:

I used springpad and evernote for a long time but the permissions creep and massive bloated-ness of these apps eventually made me look for an alternative. I highly recommend aknotes https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.akproduction.notepad Similar to Jot, it is very minimalistic, the permissions are very reasonable, and it is cloud based so you can sync notes between many devices. Additionally, catch.com where the notes are stored is an EU Safe Harbor which provides a little extra trust.

vancouverp says:

No offense to the Jot developers, but I'll stick to using Colornote. I love its simplicity and the ability to have multiple, different note widgets at once.

hellos3b says:

Offense taken!

hellos3b says:

Wow, cool! Dev here, thanks for the review, I appreciate all the feedback and I'm taking everything into account.

- Yes, we do plan on releasing plenty of themes as soon as we can (GDesigner is working on it right now)

- The text widgets are a pain, because Android does not allow scrollability on the home screen, so I'm working on making two buttons do the scrolling. I released this update before I was done with it because we were getting a lot of questions about the UI and requests for the text widget, so I thought I'd give it to them.

- The keyboard not popping out was actually a style decision of mine, it slides out when the Jot is empty. (It's assuming empty means "I'm going to Jot something down" and non-empty means "I just need to read it"). I thought it was a neat feature, but if it was something you actually felt to mention I guess I can make it put it back :P

- I'm also looking into how to make the widget resizeable for everyone with Jelly Bean. It's tough though because I'm still using my Galaxy S with Android 2.3 so I can't see all these new features people are pointing out to me D:

- Also got an email request and will be updating with text-size settings (in case it's too small for you) and widget transparency settings in case ours doesn't match other widgets on your screen!

Sorry for the long reply, just thought I could get it out there! If you have any questions feel free to ask :)

The Android OS, at least ICS and JB, allows scrollable widgets on the homescreen.

Also, do not release an update before YOU are ready. Releasing updates just because people are questioning your timeframes will guarantee a flawed release that you, and in the end your potential users, will not like.