Scrivener for iPad - Usage example

Here are the kinds of elements I see necessary in an iPad version. (But like any user, my thoughts may change if I see some screen mockups, or try to fit screen mockups into my writing process.)

1) The basic starting point is text entry by scene and no lost work

An iPad version should be able to both sync with Dropbox if online, and have continuous saves for local usage. Sync would ideally happen to Dropbox when back online, or via a sync with the desktop. I guess iCloud is now a factor here as well.

Also would like that star which lets me know with confidence when all changes have been saved.

An on demand project backup would also add confidence, and be important to me.

2) An available outline, with ability to add or rearrange order of scenes

The key here is to be able to check other parts of the outline quickly and get back to where I was when writing. Also, when moving scenes around, I want to be confident that they are going where intended, and not accidentally dropped somewhere else.

Character and location info are not much of a big deal for me, because I can keep that externally, or as part of the outline. Index cards also don’t mean much to me, because they are not helpful unless I can work with independent subplot sequences. That is probably tough on the iPad to implement, so I’d just as soon work in the outliner.

3) Quick access to document notes and metadata values, and the ability to update them

Note that this doesn’t mean it has to be a three pane setup. I would want outline and text entry on screen, but I can imagine another way to reveal metadata on demand from the outline. E.g. long press on a scene and get a new metadata panel. I’m sure you can figure out a better way. But that would give easy access, and also might allow for quick return to where you were.

Doesn’t need to be fancy like on the desktop, but I need to be able to see it because it guides my writing and revisions.

Again, the key here is that I can look up stuff quickly and get back to where I was. Otherwise, I’d rather keep it elsewhere and use iPad multitasking.

The worst case scenario in my mind is if Scrivener for iPad has lots of features, but it takes too long to navigate to something and then get back to what you were doing. That would become a usability obstacle that renders the features nearly useless for me.

4) Provide a TODO mechanism - so that elements/features not available on iPad version can be noted and done later

E.g. Suppose you cant move scene order on the iPad yet. If there is a nice todo mechanism, then at least I can write TODO text associated with the scene reminding me to move it when I review the project on the desktop.

A really powerful idea would be to indicate on the desktop where all iPad changes were made, and let one cycle through them one by one. But don’t know how that could be done. Or let them cycle through the todo items by placing them at the point of the todo, and then moving on to the next.

5) Some rudimentary compile abilities so I can provide a document for revision work

6) Search - I think it’s hard to imagine not having some search capabilities that include text and metadata.

7) OPML Import

This is probably not as important, because it’s sort of a one-time thing, so presumably people have either Windows or Mac Scrivener, so it can be done on the desktop.

BUT - if a design goal is to make the app self-sufficient for a wide range of usage scenarios, I think OPML import is needed, at least in v2.0 type releases.

Hope that’s helpful. I’m among those that would be absolutely delighted to see an iPad version. I would use it with an external keyboard 90% of the time, btw. And if it initially just provides a read-only view to the notes and metadata, I’d still be happy because it would give me what I need to write and revise on the iPad. (And would be much more useful to me than the text file sync that is available now for Mac users as a first nice step toward iPad support.)

And I’m not above some quick groveling…
If you are collecting names for beta users, I’d be thrilled to be on the list. I have an iPad, Scrivener for Windows, and also make use of dropbox.

I like this list a lot. It covers the bases pretty well.

Having said that, I think that the key element for an iPad edition of Scrivener is to focus on the writing aspects and less on the organizational aspects. What I love about Scrivener is the ability to have everything in one “operating system,” as it were. My workflow with the iPad right now is mostly writing in something like Elements or Simplenote or something to that effect. Just the ability to get at the workflow and edit in a full screen editor would be bliss.

Simple is good!

Todd Peperkorn