Best productivity apps for 2016

2016/01/05 by Lassi A. Liikkanen

Comparison of multi platform tools for bookmarking and research

I investigated the best available service with social bookmarking and internet research features. While there are numerous solutions available, I ended up with just three potential services: Diigo, Evernote and Pocket. After evaluating their user experiences across platforms with few simple scenarios, I found Pocket

I wanted to wanted to rid of endless uncategorized and unsorted bookmarks and notes gathered on multiple devices, email accounts.

I had prior experience with each, but now I wanted to specifically examine the across platform user experience. I did this by creating accounts, installing Android apps (Android 5.1.1), installing browser plug-ins and visiting websites (using Windows desktop device) for each service. I then used each service to do research for several writing projects on both platforms, mobile and desktop. All evaluation was done using the free versions of the products over a period of one week.

My recommendation in this goes to Pocket. Evernote was pretty close and I might still go back to it in the future. Diigo has all imaginable features, but also the most inconsistent cross platform user experience and suffers from confusing feature set that seems to originate from a mix of new premium features and old general ones.

The review methods

I assessed the services for four uses cases that are currently important to me:

  1. Collect bookmarks by Sharing on mobile
  2. Collect bookmarks in a desktop browser using a plug-in
  3. Review collection in the app
  4. Review collection in the web service in a desktop browser

I also inspected the social features, but did not seriously evaluate them.

Why these use cases? Easy collection is of utmost importance.

Mobile use is important and has this far left everything badly cluttered. For me, on Android, the only way is to hook into the default Sharing mechanisms. With this feature, I can save stuff from any browser, Twitter, Feedly, and so forth. This means you need an app for that.

On mobile, I only look to save and label (tag) the bookmark. The requirements increase on desktop. From earlier Diigo experience, I would like to save whole clips of webpages for future use. I also know that I will end up collecting and synthesizing the research data I collect from web on a desktop, in Word (!?!) so the organization of the collection in the web browser is important. Reviewing collection in the app is clearly secondary.

The mobile apps were installed on a Samsung S5 (4.3Ē FullHd screen, running Android 5.1.1 of CyanogenMod OS) and on Windows 64-bit latest Firefox/Chrome plug-ins.

Review results

My scoring goes on a five point ranking scale. It is not absolute, but a ranking scale as Iíve not given the single score multiple times.

Diigo

Evernote

Pocket

Diigo Logo

Logo

3.2.1

7.5

6.1.3

App version

★★

★★★

★★★★

Overall Verdict

$40

20Ä

$45

Annual subscription

★★★

Clear, the options are visible although slightly confusing

★★

Complicate feel, even though the selections are few. Feels slow

★★★★

Extremely clear and quick.

Mobile bookmarking

★★

Too many options. Integration starts to feel cluttered and complicated even thou most functions go unused

★★★

New Webclipper brings Evernote on par with Diigo features. Implementation is better. Lack of tagging bothers.

★★★★

As with the mobile view, this is just as clear as it can get. Doesnít support saving clips, which is not show stopper

Desktop bookmarking

★★

The plain view is always sorted by time. Tags canít be used for sorting.

★★★★

The overview is good with featured images. Tags can be used to sort it out

★★★★★

Fastest and the most clear option

Mobile viewing

★★★

Almost as good as Pocket. The direct access to Tags is best feature here.

★★★★★

Despite the heavy load of features, Evernote web interface has certain charm.

★★★★

Clean and efficient

Desktop viewing

Diigo presents a feature-rich bookmarking, annotation and collaboration tool. Unfortunately it feels as a bad mix, especially the app feels outdated. The interface has gotten too crowded and it makes it challenging for a new user to figure whether one should use tags, lists or outliners to organize the collection. In brief, seems to have all necessary features, but offers a confusing overall UX.

Evernote has been around for some time and has by the most features. Although it really shows a lot of effort in coordinating different user interfaces, it canít completely hide this complexity and takes a performance hit from this load. The shortcomings are relatively few in comparison to the noted issues and this is a good candidate for many types of use.

Pocket is a new comer as far as bookmarking apps go. This shows positively in the sleek UI design and a minimalistic, but just adequate feature set. It lacks several features of Evernote and Diigo, but I didnít find them critical. Therefore, Iím going to give Pocket a go for a long run.

Related content:
Review of Asus S5642 portable computer, 2005/06/12

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Keywords: [tests] , [ux] Document's status: Ok (Document dates explained)

This document created: 2016/01/02
Modified: 2016/01/05
Published: 2016/01/02


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