Podcast Turf War is Inspiring Some Awesome A/V Editing Tools

Big streaming players and upstarts alike are driving the next phase of popularity in Podcasting. These players want to control that coveted position of the go-to Podcast app on people’s devices.

The ongoing demand is also inspiring some innovative tools popping up to help people create the supply of recorded media.

This roundup focuses on some notable recording and editing tools for A/V content creation. Not only that, these new tools are taking unique approaches to leverage transcribed text as a critical part of the overall editing user experience.

Descript

Descript “It’s how you make a podcast. Record. Transcribe. Edit. Mix. – As easy as typing. Take control of your podcast with Descript.”

Edit audio by editing text. Drag and drop to add music and sound effects. Descript is not just for audio either, you can also edit video by editing text.

Soundtrap

Soundtrap is a podcast audio editor – “With our interactive transcript feature, you can record and automatically transcribe your voice. Edit your recording as you would edit a text document.”

They are also pursuing the educational market.

Spext

Spext “Looks like a doc. Is actually an audio editor. Edit the audio by editing the auto generated transcript, add music & merge recordings together.”

Credit: Mic icon from Feather

Digitizing Your UX Sticky Notes

Sometimes the analog approach is a quicker and easier way to achieve a particular task.

A classic example is the appropriately stereotypical use of sticky notes by User Experience designers to facilitate various workshop exercises such as card sorting and other ideation models. The ability to quickly write-out and rearrange notes keeps the ideas flowing.

After your effort has wrapped up, there’s often a desire to capture the analog results in a digital format. Transforming analog work to a digital copy allows a team to move toward the next phase of sharing or synthesis.

Here are some useful apps that specifically address the challenge of digitizing your sticky-noted design thinking.

The Post-it® App

Post-it® App. Download on iPhone or Android™ devicesFrom the brand you know and love. “The Post-it® App brings the simplicity of the Post-it® Note to your Mac, iPhone and iPad. Whether you use Post-it® Notes for collaboration or for personal note taking, the Post-it® App helps you keep that momentum going.

Simply capture analog notes from a photo, or create new notes right on your device for those important reminders. Arrange, refine and organize notes and ideas on your board anyway you see fit. Then share your organized board with friends and co-workers, or export to your favorite applications and cloud services—including Trello, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, Dropbox, iCloud and plenty more.”

Brill

Brill is an app that promises to help you digitize faster and work smarter “take photos of multiple handwritten sticky notes and instantly convert them to digital text in 100+ languages. Up to 200x faster than typing.”

“Save time when capturing your handwritten notes. Share to email, Slack, Jira, Trello and more!” With auto-detection and bulk uploading, Brill can “Take photos of multiple handwritten sticky notes and instantly convert them to digital text in 100+ languages. Up to 200x faster than typing.”

Brill Sticky note digitization

Miro

Miro digitize your notesMiro is your team’s centralized platform for collaborating on user story and customer journey maps, workflows, and more.

One feature is a “Stickies Capture tool allows you to convert real stickies to fully editable Miro sticky notes. Share them and collaborate in real-time, turn them into Jira tasks or make a part of digital diagrams, templates, and more.”

Evernote

Evernote lets you “Take notes anywhere. Find information faster. Share ideas with anyone. Meeting notes, web pages, projects, to-do lists”

“The Evernote camera is specially designed to enhance and transform your Post-it® Notes into beautiful, digital replicas of all your notes.”

Capture Post-it® Notes into Evernote

Mobile Data-visualization has a Y Axis Problem

There is a ‘trendy’ design pattern, many years in use, of not displaying the Y axis on a chart in some financial mobile apps.

I first noticed this in the app Robinhood. But I’ve also seen it in apps such as SoFi. Sadly, despite advocating for a change, these apps are still persisting this flawed data visualization design.

Why is this bad?

Overall, due to the mobile format, it often makes sense to show something like a line or candlestick chart that’s closer to a square or even portrait proportion.

Robinhood and Sofi app charts

When a chart in this format presents either a narrow rang of time or a fairly stable historical trend, even minor up and down movements of only a few dollars can look like wild swings at a glance. This is why this pattern is flawed. If a user can’t quickly understand the high and low price range that is traditionally communicated by the data on the Y axis, the glance could trigger a perception of movement that’s proportionally incorrect.

Presenting data in this way will require the audience to think harder than they should have to, for no apparent functional reason. Products that use this kind of design appear to be prioritizing spontaneous conversion of their Buy/Sell buttons over helping their customers make more informed decisions.

So what’s a better way?

The first option is to simply include the y axis. It is possible to do this in a small space. A few examples include Apple’s iOS stocks app and TD Ameritrade. What’s notable is that both take the approach of right-aligning the display of the text labels to make it more readable and functional in a mobile setting.

The Coinbase app offers and example of the second way to approach this. You can omit the Y-axis, if you include the lowest and highest price overlaid on the chart within the relative time period. This is another useful way to give the viewer a quick way to understand the relative volatility of movement while maximizing the horizontal space that a Y-axis would otherwise inhabit.

Apple Stocks, TD Ameritrade and Coinbase app examples

In Summary

You can’t completely do away with the relevant data that a Y axis provides on charts just because the screen is small. Alternatively, if your motivation is to make a chart look cooler or simpler then you are fueling the “dribbblification” tropes about superficial designers who don’t understand business, usability and customer needs. Lastly, it would be even worse if you are doing this on purpose to somehow distort or add friction to an end user’s comprehension of the data – as that seems to fall into the category of dark patterns.

New Presentation Tools Breaking Boundaries

Updated 02/21/2020 to include additional services. See this twitter thread for details.

What is a “Presentation” in the post-PowerPoint era?

There’s a subtle shift in the Presentation tools landscape that’s been emerging lately. Products like Google Slides, Zoho Show, and Apple Keynote came on the scene to liberate us from the monopolistic shackles of the ubiquitous Microsoft “.PPT”. Now, these tools have also matured into front-runners vulnerable to disruption.

There appears to be a new wave of tools that are moving beyond competing with other “Slide Deck” software, and are instead looking to shift our perspectives on how we craft and present our stories.

The approach varies among these contenders. However, there appear to be some notable themes among them.

  • Collaboration – making it even more seamless to simultaneously work together on content
  • Assistance – clever ways that a tool can help you craft the right content or visuals (yes, we’re talking the #Ai buzzword here)
  • Design Magic – upping the game in offering out of the box modern charts, graphs and infographics ‘templates’ to help non-designers quickly create great data visualizations
  • In Your Browser – many are SaaS web apps delivered via your web browser, so no clunky downloads or files to save

Here’s a roundup of compelling products to try out or keep an eye on.

Beautiful.ai

Beautiful.ai “Add content and watch your slides adapt. No more tweaking text boxes or lining up arrows at 2am. Our Ai applies the rules of great design in real time, so it’s finally easy to tell your story”

Canva

Canva “Design a presentation that blows your audience away with our stunning collection of high-quality presentation templates. Free to personalize and completely online so you can easily edit and collaborate with your colleagues.”

Deckset

Deckset “Turn your Markdown notes into beautiful presentations. Write down your thoughts in your favourite text editor, and Deckset will turn them into beautiful presentations.”

Ludus

Ludus “We believe that static presentations are a thing of the past. Ludus is a powerful web application that lets you integrate all the power of the Internet into your slides. This means you can embed 3D models, videos, VR experiments, Dropbox files, designs from Figma, prototypes from Framer, InVision or Marvel. It’s as easy as copy and paste.”

Piktochart

Piktochart “Easy-to-Use presentation maker. No complex design software. No heavy designer fees. Just a simple, intuitive tool that helps you and your team tell stories with the visual impact they deserve.”

Pitch.com

Pitch.com “All hands on deck. Pitch helps teams build better presentations: collaboratively, effectively, and beautifully.”

PRESENTA

PRESENTA “enables the content-first principle. Instead of starting positioning elements on the canvas, it’s better writing great contents first. This seems obvious but the current status-quo of the presentation tools forces people the other way around.”

Slideas

Slideas “Slideas is the easiest way to create a beautiful Markdown Presentation, with all the features you need. Designed for people who want productivity.”

Slidebean

Slidebean “AI-powered presentation design. Design professional presentations in seconds using the world’s first slide design platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.”

Visme

Visme “The only design tool you’ll need to present stories and translate boring data into stunning presentations for infographics right in your browser.”

P.S. Here’s a bonus list via Larry Kim that’s just about “Infographics” tools