When the first iPad was launched, the phrase most often repeated by analysts was: “it is designed to consume content, not to create it”. And although they were partly right, it is also true that many applications have since been concerned with making the iPad a professional tool for creating content. Omnioutliner for the iPad is committed to this and it’s succeeding too. And, of course, it translates into the price.
The Omni Group has always been known for providing its productivity programs with as many options as possible , with a versatility that sometimes came to be overwhelming (I know many people who have not been able to overcome the learning curve of Omnifocus, for example). Omnioutliner for Mac was intended to help us create, group and manage our information, make outlines, create well-structured documents, plan projects, and organize ideas.
In short, Omnioutliner, both in its desktop version and in the one that has recently debuted for the iPad helps us to structure everything we have in our heads or what we collect for our projects. But setting up an application where copy, paste, move, sort and I create columns is so important in an environment like the iPad, which doesn’t seem nice for those tasks, was a complicated task. Omnioutliner for iPad passes it with a note.
Omnioutliner for iPad: the user is what matters
For such a complete application, Omnioutliner in its iPad version stands out for the simplicity with which it proposes solutions . Everything in the interface is so configurable that the user can never say: “I need something more comfortable”. Create hierarchies of documents with several columns, manage different styles to sort the information, write lists with checkboxes… Everything is very simple and intuitive, without detours.
And what’s better: everything is easily modifiable. From simple things like undoing aspects of our document to complete style changes, grouping of elements or the most complicated tasks you can imagine on the iPad. The user can configure what he or she needs and the documents that can be produced are extremely varied: lists of bookmarks, timing of complicated business projects, academic research…
The Omni Group preferred to focus on other applications before adapting Omnioutliner for the iPad, but clearly never stopped thinking about how to get it right. Omnioutliner is far superior to similar programs because it’s completely remade for its iOS version. It’s not a simple adaptation, but the touch is the key . You touch and sort documents, and the feeling is great, of complete control over what you want to do.
The interface is spectacular and its handling, simple but powerful and I think that those should not be two of the main rules that guide a design for a professional application.
Synchronization and other necessary improvements
Omnioutliner for iPad
Although Omnioutliner for iPad allows you to export the documents you create to iDisk, WebDAV or email , better synchronization is missing. Again, iCloud will change many of the ways developers think and act, but it makes sense in an app like this that what we do on the iPad can be seen, back home, on our Mac Omnioutliner without having to export it from one place and import it to another.
Instead of that absolute synchronization, we now have two applications that go their own way and only come together after forcing the user to take extra steps. The Omni Group can learn from the way they’ve managed to synchronise everything on their different Omnifocuses: whichever one you open, you always know you’re handling all the up-to-date information. And since to organize the mind and the information many times we take advantage of the most unsuspected moments or those in which we have to wait just because (the waiting times, the trips from home to work and vice versa, etc…), it wouldn’t be too much to ask, for example, q ue Omnioutliner achieves the same efficiency in synchronization as Evernote (program with which sometimes it coincides in objectives).
A high price… and in keeping with what it gives
It is obvious that Omnioutliner is not for everyone . The price it carries is already a statement of intent: if you need an application intensively to order projects and ideas, if you use it professionally, you won’t regret paying the 15.99 euros it’s worth. If, on the other hand, you are only going to use it occasionally, there are other much cheaper and even free apps that will help you to get the hang of it and to meet the needs you have at the time (and which, if you want, we can talk about another day).
Perhaps the custom in the App Store is that almost everything is cheap, but not all developers have to follow it. Omnioutliner delivers much more than it promises and in iOS it is a tool that, right now, outperforms its desktop version, which is not too common. And yet, it’s cheaper than this one. As always, let everyone judge whether it compensates or not: at least it won’t leave anyone unsatisfied who decides to take advantage of it.
In App Store