iA Writer 5: Forging the Hammer

Last week we explained how we believe that technology evolves from raw to complex to simple and how this relates to iA Writer. In order to simplify it even more, we asked how you see iA Writer in future—and what and how you’d expect to pay for it. To a handful of questions we received a warm wave of response from you. You all agreed on on thing: Let’s keep it simple. Here are some highlights:

iA Writer on both iOS and Mac is already pretty close to perfect. It’s seductively beautiful, and it’s powerful without being fiddly. Please keep it that way.

First of all: I love your app, and I love to hear that you try to keep it as simple as possible.

Please keep it as simple as possible [This was the whole email]

I just want simple tools that I can use anywhere. I don’t want more complex tools. I imagine I’m a minority. So good to hear that’s where you want to stay.

There were dozens of requests for feature x or y, and yet, wonderfully, these came with caveats like:

“…but please don’t add this unless you can do so in an elegant way. I trust you can.”

This reinforced our own will to further simplify. To continue forging a tool with one purpose. Every step forward should be taken in an effort to make it easier to start writing, to keep writing, to edit and to finish your text.

Tough questions, clear answers, and more curiosity

Here are your votes on the main questions we asked, together with our follow-up questions, if you don’t mind:

A Windows version: The answer was polarized. There is a lot of interest in an iA Writer for Windows from the Android crowd. But close to zero interest from the Apple community. Some say: “I’d like to use it at work where I have to use Windows.” In general, it seems that in our user base there are fewer Android-Mac and Windows-iPhone users than we expected. We’d like to do it, but we don’t want to make any promises at this point. What we couldn’t figure out is if you were serious about the price. It seemed a bit high. You mentioned you’d pay more for the Mac version too, so we adjusted it back to the original $20.

Can you confirm, again, how much you’d pay for a Windows version? (Don’t be too nice.)

A Web version: A clear, overwhelming yes. We got enthusiastic answers like “Yes, please, and if it allows me to quit GoogleDocs I’ll walk to the moon and back for you.” There is a great chance this happens sooner than later. If you paid attention to what we communicate and what not, you know what that means. It means we are working on it already. So if you have more input on what you’d expect from iA Writer for Web, we’d love to hear it!

What—aside from a clean slate that allows you to easily share texts from your apps and back—do you need for the Web app?

Discounts for businesses and organizations: A lot of people said they would champion iA Writer as software for their company. There seemed to be some hesitation about how they’d explain why iA Writer works. “I don’t know why, it just helps me to write, but I can’t explain it.” or “When I tell people about it they don’t know what I am talking about, when I show it to them they don’t get it. Only those who use it understand.“ Looks like we need to stop talking about features and better explain what makes iA Writer so efficient. We have a hunch, but we don’t want to spoil the burning questions we have for you:

Can you tell us, why you like it? What makes it so efficient for you? Have you found out why you write better with it? This will help us a lot.

Feature lists: We did get a lot of requests for features but, compared to Twitter or the App Store requests, these were a lot less pressing. One example was “ePub? Nah, I have a pro app for that. I use ….” Some stood out, but there were no big surprises there so far. The list of top requested features didn’t change much. If you haven’t added your voice and you have a wish, please feel free to write us as well.

Is there anything we missed?

Tell us more

Among the responses received, some went beyond the original questions we asked. They let us know why they use iA Writer:

“First, I just wanted to say, thanks for making iA Writer! It’s a fantastic product and I use it every day for novel writing” —Jon

“I use Writer mostly to write blog posts and to organise my thoughts on things I’ve been thinking about for a while.” —Nuno

Others went even further and showed us how iA Writer is a part of their life. We truly appreciated all such responses and these were our favorites:

“My two oldest daughters are now writing their school papers in iA Writer and exporting using the MLA template, and it brings such a peace of mind to know that decades from now they will still have access to their earliest writings safely stored in plain text.” —David

“I bought iA Writer on day one, and followed you through iA Writer Pro and back—I could not be a more satisfied customer. I’ve finished my studies and wrote my master’s thesis in Writer, and I use it for work, as a journalist, everyday. It’s corny to say an app ‘changed my life’ but it really did. It’s my favorite tool on my laptop, tablet, and phone.” —Alessandro

“I really love using iA Writer, I’ve been using it for years for all different kinds of writing. First school documents, now work documents. I write blogposts, create lists, write stories and use it to capture client feedback. So far not a single update has disappointed me and the fact that I can switch so effortlessly between my iPhone, iPad and MacBook is a dream come true.” —Niels

We are listening

We’d like to continue this conversation with you. If you don’t have much to add to the follow up questions above, we’d love to hear more from more of you about how you use iA Writer. How did you discover us? Do you use it for work or for your hobby? Do you use other apps with it? What can we do so you can better embed it in your workflow? Is there something we can do to liberate the process of writing even further?

Please let us know at [email protected] and we’ll keep on keeping it simple in the meantime.