As another week of 2021 flies by us, it is time for Appy Week with AK! A special series where I, Arshmeet Kaur, aka AK, test an app and share my views and reviews with you weekly.
And this time around, I have reviewed Notion, an all-in-one workspace to manage your notes, tasks, wikis, databases, and even your team. Now, isn’t this a lot to ask from a single app?
Won’t it be too much to juggle at one place? Or is it like the jack of all trades, master of none? Well, just read on to find out the answers.
Notion iOS app review: Testing the all-in-one workspace
To be honest, my workflow is pretty sorted (at least in my view). And between Apple’s Notes app, Google Drive, Safari’s reading list, WordPress, and my company’s ReadyCloud and Basecamp subscription, I don’t need an additional app.
But a colleague insisted that I try Notion for Appy Week. While reviewing Clubhouse, I observed their team using it to share updates, FAQs, and more. And I didn’t need another strike to intrigue me.
What exactly is Notion: A note-taking app or resource-sharing platform?
Well, Notion wears a lot of hats! Whether you are a team or one-man/woman army, it works as a comprehensive project management tool. From the conception of an idea to its completion, the software supports you every step of the way.
You can write, plan, organize, collect resources, collaborate, and more, all in one place. Plus, it boasts an app for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows, a web interface, and a web clipper extension for Chrome and Firefox, so all your work is synced in real-time.
For Appy Week, I have only explored the opportunities Notion offers to a single user, from note-taking to resource collecting; let’s see how it fairs?
How well does Notion keep things in motion?
For software that has so many features onboard, Notion is surprisingly bare-boned and minimal. Much like its logo, the interface is black and white, with a glimpse of color here and there.
What I like, in fact, love is its similar UI across platforms, whether the webpage, Mac app, or iOS app. It is pretty seamless to move from the app to the web and back.
A side panel on the left has almost everything you may need, and the rest of the screen is at your service. Apart from a few tabs on the top, there is nothing to distract you. Moreover, you can even close the side menu to better concentrate on the task at hand.
Notion as a note-taking app
Whether it’s taking notes, making tasks, or to-do lists, the Notes app has been my go-to note-taking app for ages. I often experimented with other alternatives but always returned to Apple’s native app due to its ease-of-use and convenience.
Notion certainly surprised me with its simplicity and inclusiveness. It works on a block kind of a format, quite like WordPress’s block editor. These basic blocks support over 20 types of content.
From subheadings, tables, checkboxes, listings, images, videos, codes, databases, mentions, callouts, reminders to embedding Twitter or Google Maps!
In fact, I can write a whole article with images, hyperlinks, tables, and more. And while we have a B/W interface, you can amp up your notes with as many colors as you want.
You can even add cover, icon, comments, tags, URL, and other properties like last edited, created by, etc. No wonder the Clubhouse guys are using Notion!
Notion as a project management app
Again I tested the app as a single user and not for a team (though I might push them to test it soon). So, I placed myself in the shoes of a freelancer, shifted my weekly schedule and tasks on Notion, and observed how it works.
I would say a 7/10, maybe. Notion has plenty of great tricks up its sleeve, such as:
Kanban boards: Sort of a must-have as a task/team management tool. You can view your tasks in Kanban-style and update their status in real-time, thanks to the provision for database linking.
Ready-made templates: Whether design, product management, or sales, Notion incorporates some default templates to start you off. The good thing is that you can customize it to suit your working style and move tasks between accordingly.
To understand this feature’s full extent, check out this video titled ‘My Creative Workflow with Notion,’ by Ali Abdaal.
Web clipper: A separate Chrome & Firefox extension helps you save links, text, quotes, or an entire webpage/article offline for referencing later. See the example below; it clips the whole article san images.
And that’s not all; you can move up/down the blocks, edit the text, color, or add comments!
Clip from the iOS device: Oh yes! That can happen as well. Select the text you want to keep safe and tap Share or the Share icon if you want the whole website. From the Share Sheet, select Notion, decide location, and voila!!
Indenting: Here’s a screenshot of Notes folders and the folders under those folders. Clearly, I have a thing for micro-organizing.
And while Notion does not offer a folder/subfolder system, it offers limitless indentation in pages to keep people like me super-happy and well organized.
You can also add some frequently visited pages to favorites for easier access.
Did Notion make AK appy or unappy?
Quite Appy! Notion offers quite a lot of tools to help you ease workflow, manage tasks, and increase productivity. However, it is this exhaustiveness that makes it a bit typical to use.
You might feel confused or lost during the first few usages. Once set up, it’s super easy to use, but the setting isn’t a cakewalk; thankfully its help and support page is exceptionally well built. As I see it, Notion does not offer cooked food (so to say); it simply lends you all the raw materials you might need to build and manage your workflow and team.
This can be great because you can customize it endlessly as per your taste. But also a con for some because not everyone enjoys such an approach. Overall I enjoyed the app and will continue to explore it further.
AK Meter (out of 5)
What is Appy Week with AK?
Born out of immense love for apps and how they can ease our day-to-day jobs, Appy Week with AK is an attempt to discover, test, review, and share new apps every week.
I pick an app and test all its features for a week, what it promises vs. what it delivers. At the end of seven days, I jot down all my observations and feelings so that you can decide whether the app is worth your time, money, or energy.
And all I need is your support, suggestions, and critiques to make this series even more special and worth your while! So, attack the comment section and share your take with me.
Previous Appy Week with AK reviews: