Ideas is an iOS app for managing, organising and sorting your ideas and thoughts. It stands out from the crowd thanks to a refreshingly different interface that does the job very well. It usually costs two bucks, but right now it’s on sale for one dollar.
There are two kinds of text you can enter in Ideas: ideas themselves, or tags that describe them.
The app is designed to gather ideas over a period of time, and group them by tag. The primary view is of your tags, not your ideas. Tap on a tag to see a list of ideas associated with it.
The tags list looks very cool, but it takes a while to become useful. That’s because it only really comes into its own after you’ve had a lot of ideas and got them all tagged. As a result, it might take you a while to truly get to grips with the app, because it doesn’t start to show its true worth until you’ve added many ideas and used many tags.
In use, it’s very simple. Tap the plus button in the top right corner to add a new idea. As you type words, Ideas might recognise some of them and automatically add appropriate tags. This is pretty cool, but again, requires you to have some tags set up, and the coolness is something you might not appreciate at first.
While adding an idea, you can tap on pre-existing tags to add them, or type new ones. Be careful here, because it’s very easy to type a new idea and hit “Done” before you’ve added tags. I keep doing this all the time. You need to tap on the (possibly empty) tags field, just below the idea text box, to add tags before you finish.
Another automatic feature is tag grouping. Tags that frequently appear together are assigned the same color on the home screen, giving you a nice overview of the areas of thought your ideas tend to stray into. Yet again, this is something you won’t appreciate immediately; it only starts to make sense after you’ve been using the app for a while.
Individual ideas can be edited, of course, and you can export them to Things or Omnifocus, if you have those apps installed on your device.
I like Ideas. It’s a genuinely different approach to an old problem. It won’t suit everyone, though. It’s best suited to very creative people who are coming up with ideas all day, every day, and need something to keep track of them all. If you fit into that category, Ideas will suit you very well. But even so, be patient: I’d say you need to spend several days, perhaps a couple of weeks, using this app to fully appreciate all it has to offer. If, during that time, you have dozens or hundreds of ideas, you’ll see what I mean.
Pro: Unique approach; rapid data entry; automatic helpfulness
Con: Despite simplicity, sometimes confusing. Won’t suit everyone