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OmniGraffle and iPad - A dream come true Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I figured I'd open another thread so that we could share our love stories for iPad. It's the weekend and I intentionally turn away from work related things, so what do I do? Come here and talk about the tools I use for work. Sigh.

In my current role I'm a user interface designer for student management systems at large universities here in the UK. As such I deal with systems which have typically grown out of character based terminal software. That is changing, to be sure, and I'm right there in the middle of it converting thousands of antiquated screens to more modern equivalents.

This isn't always as easy as it might seem as my users are typically VERY used to their beloved antiques!

At any rate, I do wireframes, flow diagrams, scenario writing, spec writing, documentation, ethnographic studies, usability testing, and anything else you can imagine someone in such a role doing. I'm on the road (train tracks, actually) a lot so my iPad is on almost all day long. I use the following tools/toys:

Boxwave Stylus - I have three of these for redundancy's sake. I wouldn't be able to work without it. I've not found a better stylus on the market and I've tried many.

Good Reader - I manage dozens of PDFs from academic papers (ACM, et. al.), to PDF versions of reports I write, to documentation. Good Reader is my PDF file manager of choice.

Drop Box - Chalk another user up for much desired DB support in OG.

Noteshelf - I love taking notes in Noteshelf. Ironically this is another piece of software with a bloated and nearly useless file manager. Still, there is no better piece of software for taking notes with the stylus. I've tried many and nearly all of them cannot keep up with the stylus. Penultimate is okay but I need to work with magnified view.

Kindle - When I'm relaxing and reading for pleasure this is my ebook reader of choice. It really comes down to personal preference for ebook readers though.

Read It Later - I keep a healthy stack of articles in here that I just don't have time to get to. I usually clear these out when I'm in a hotel.

Quickoffice - I like Pages but Quickoffice works so well that I usually just go to that for my documentation needs. I love Quickoffice's file management. It's a work of art.

Textastic - For coding there is no better text editor on the iPad. Period.

iMockups - When I need to quickly (and I mean QUICKLY) generate a functional wireframe to show something off then iMockups comes through. It's far more robust than Sketchy and Mocking Pad.

Symphony Pro and iMS-20 - When I'm feeling like I can actually make music (it's a real hoot).

ArtRage - A new toy for painting. Very slick. Feels like real oil painting and is a real joy to play with.

Intaglio Sketchpad - I almost love this as much as I love OmniGraffle. This tool has slightly more robust bezier editing and alignment options but lacks OG's focus. Still, when I feel I need a more Illustrator-like tool I'll use this.

OmniFocus - Resisted buying this for a long time. Finally broke down a few weeks ago and I really DO see what all the fuss is about. Makes managing projects and todos a breeze. Lacks some calendar features, but for that I use...

Calengoo - Google calendars on the iPad. Simple nuff.

iThoughts HD - My mind mapping tool of choice. Mindnode is also really well done.

Carbonfin Outliner - I use OmniOutliner on my mac but to be honest, Omni is going to have to do pretty much EVERYTHING right to replace Carbonfin on my iPad. Could synched with a web editor, can't ask for much more.

Keynote - I do a lot of presenting and there is no other choice for the iPad really. I think it's stupid of Apple to not support bluetooth keyboards for slide navigation in presenter mode but then Apple does a lot of stupid things these days (I got my first Mac in 1985 and have had nothing but Macs at home since then so do NOT get on my case for Apple bashing).

OmniGraffle - No single tool has changed the way I work as much as this one. It could be said that I adopted the iPad because OmniGraffle is on it. I love the Mac version so it was a no brainer.

Other tools are used such as Wikipanion, AudioMemos, Filterstorm but those are basically utilities.

My son and I have recently discovered the joys of making our own animations in Toontastic. It's a bit limited but very intuitive and an absolute joy to watch the final animations that he and I create.

I'd be interested in hearing of what tools (and toys!) you all use in addition to OmniGraffle.
(N.B. I don't actually have an iPad, but hope to get one once version 2 has been released.)

Out of interest do you find OmniGraffle or iMockups to be better for wire-framing website designs, as this would be one of the principle reasons for me getting the iPad?

Also, fwiw, if it is academic papers you are managing, did you try Papers from They have a Mac desktop and universal iPhone/iPad app. I've not used the iOS versions at all but have played a little with the desktop app a long time ago (when I was still in a lab). It is built specifically for managing academic articles, so I imagine it might be better than Good Reader for that purpose but would be interested to hear first hand experience if you or anyone else has it.

iMockups for simple wireframes that are quick to build and easy to understand for the wireframe layman client.

OmniGraffle for more flexibility but with a tradeoff in how much time it takes to build one.

Sketchpad for hi-def wireframes but only if I feel the urge when on the train. Usually I'm at my desk with Illustrator by this point.

I do use papers, it is excellent actually. I usually leave it out of reviews given that it only applies to those in the academic community but yes, it does the job very well as long as it's papers one is reading. For larger PDFs GoodReader excels.

Sorry for terseness, I'm a wee bit busy but glad to see a reply.


Last edited by HappyCatMachine; 2011-01-25 at 10:57 AM..
Originally Posted by HappyCatMachine View Post
Sorry for terseness, I'm a wee bit busy but glad to see a reply.
No problem at all and thanks very much for the feedback (especially on Papers).

If you (or someone else) has the time, can you tell me if there is any way for OmniGraffle to open iMockup files and/or vice versa?

I assume there isn't at this time, but if iMockups is good for doing quick and dirty wireframes, but OmniGraffle is better for refining them and working on them in more detail, it sounds to me that it would be excellent if you could adopt a workflow of iMockups -> OmniGraffle and vice versa (edit: on the iPad, that is).
For academic paper (PDF) and reference management: Sente. Absolutely amazing software!
Remind me to never start an optimistic thread again.
I've replaced Calengoo with Saisuke. Its UI is much nicer to look at and it offers a couple of features (that I don't use). Its look and feel is so much better than the raw Calengoo that it makes all the difference for me.
Well, as English is likely your second language, that is no surprise. Is there anything in particular you'd like cleared up?
HappyCatMachine, I removed the post you were referring to. The content of the message made sense in context, but since the title was "Roller Skates" I strongly suspect it was bot-generated spam.
Excellent post HappyCat. I am a journalist writing about OmniGraffle on iPad for theregister web site Would you mind if I quote you? Do you have time to answer a few other questions about whether you are using it for particular work?

Last edited by LondonKen; 2011-02-17 at 03:41 AM..

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