Concept Review

Concept Review

Free up some mental space with the canvases in Concept

The app marketplace is a crowded space when it comes to productivity downloads, and developers have taken it into their own hands to ensure that the functionality and interface of their own work allows them to stand out. The issue here is an overuse of bells and whistles on apps that are supposed to make your working day – or life in general – run more smoothly. It’s a nice change of pace then when an app comes along that lets you dictate how you use it, and how it looks most of the time. Concept does this immaculately, giving you a blank canvas, and some annotation options before leaving you to it.

The app’s usefulness lies in its flexibility, in that you literally start with a blank page, but within a few taps can turn it into an expansive flow chart or a mobile notice board for your busy weekend. It is probably a stretch to say that this app is all things to all men, but others would do well to take note of some of the minimal nature that has been applied here.

To start work on your canvas, tap the screen to open the pop-up menu, which lists all of the possible features you can drop into it – ranging from a sticky note to magnets, which are image based and designed to look similar to the sort of thing you might put on your fridge, this option almost perfectly shows off the scope of Concept; you can use it as a serious conceptualising board in the office, or as a digital, mobile version of the fridge door where you pin all the important family dates, arrangements and meetings, past and future. The divider lines to create sections, and indeed the arrows used to create charts, are all hand-drawn in their appearance which does give a casual impression, but at the same time are pleasing from a design sense so are more than acceptable for use in a more formal environment. It’s another example of Concept almost trying to cover every base, and to its credit it has done a very good job of that.

In total there are ten different type of posts that you can make onto your canvas, with a healthy diversity among them to ensure that most possible avenues are covered in terms of what you may need. What is equally impressive is the functionality that comes with each post and the rate of response from the app itself. There is no need to over-extenuate on-screen gestures in order to pick up different parts of the canvas; just touch and begin to drag and the app will respond instantly. Its an impressively sleek process to be a part of. This allows you to be as neat or indeed as messy as you like – it works with how you like to organise yourself. The gestures also allow you to rotate the direction of arrows you drop in. At first glance it looks as if they only point left, which would be an issue should you wish to build a chart, but execute the rotate gesture on an arrow and it will follow suit. It’s also worth noting that you can change the style of any arrows you add by tapping them and selecting the Change Style option from the pop-up menu.

The only real setback is perhaps the lack of real scope when it comes to sharing your board, if you should wish to do so. There are two export options available; either export the canvas as an image file to your Camera Roll or via email, or alternatively you can save it as a PDF file and export it to iBooks or another app that supports the file type. While these are useful options, it feels like there should be a cloud sharing option to send your boards between Concept users, expanding the idea of being able to share ideas. Exporting as an image or PDF file means that adjustments can’t be made to that copy once you’ve sent it, and this seems like a flaw in an app that has been so very precise in what it wants to offer you up to this point.

It’s a slight sticking point, but this is still a smart and well-made app that has plenty to offer the user in need of some extra creative or thinking space.

Rated 4 out of 5

Get complete control over how you manage your virtual work space through fluid gestures and posting options.

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