iDesk – Diagrams, Graphs, Schemes & Ideas
Intuitive brainstorming on the iPad
Today there are a lot of apps that cater for artists, as well as for those seeking an outlet for their productivity. iDesk is a unique example of catering to both needs, having taken the idea of a blank canvas and sketching with your finger, and combining it with shape recognition to enable you to quickly create flowcharts and spider diagrams.
In terms of sheer intuitiveness and use of gestures, iDesk is one of the most responsive things you will find in the App Store. There is a clever fusion of user freedom and software correction that means you have complete control over what you create on the page, but at the same time the app is there as a safety net to keep things tidy.
The best and clearest example of this is through the line-recognition feature. This is automatically turned on when you open the app, which is worth bearing in mind should you wish to sketch freehand, but it can be turned off by tapping the dual circle-based icon in the menu bar. In essence this feature takes any line or shape you draw within the app and straightens it out. Draw a rough and incomplete circle, and iDesk will make it perfectly round.
Likewise you can quickly draw a connecting line between two boxes and the app will turn this into an arrow without prompting. There is some technique to this as for an arrow to appear you must start in the centre of one box and finish in the centre of another, but think of this as just another screen gesture.
With this kind of intuition on offer, iDesk lends itself to quick, frantic usage, without the end-result looking as such. Therefore the commuter running late for a presentation might see real value in this app, particularly since a recent update allows for TV output.
While the line recognition may be the most eye-catching feature of iDesk, there is plenty of other depth to be impressed by.
The pop-up menu from the bottom of your screen enables you to tweak anything you put on the page. You can slide between the main sections of this menu – Stroke, Fill, Connection, etc – and modify the colour of your boxes, the lines you’ve drawn them with, as well as insert shadows and opacity if you wish. The latter of these options comes in handy should you want to create a Venn diagram.
This level of depth means you can not only get your ideas laid out, but also give them polish should you wish to present them; it is this level of detail across the board that makes iDesk so desirable. All the tools are there, and crucially, every one of them is straightforward to work with.
Functionality is another big plus point of this app, with a lot of emphasis placed on the user to create exactly what they want, but with plenty of aids within quick reach. From the main viewpoint of the app you have all your editing tools available along the bottom of the screen, as well as Undo and Redo tools either side of the canvas. In addition to this there is a ‘hand’ icon, which, when touched, switches the app to Navigation mode, making it easier to move around and zoom in and out of a canvas.
iDesk then should be taken under serious consideration by anyone who is looking for a digital creative outlet for their ideas, because it gives you the freedom to spill them onto a page, while keeping everything organised without ever being overbearing.
Takes two different concepts and fuses them together almost perfectly.
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