Posted on Jan 11, 2014 | 3 comments

Photo Credit - Owen W Brown

Photo Credit – Owen W Brown

I have discussed many features and criteria by which you should be judging a journal app when you are in the market for a new one. These have included export to PDF, security and backup features and cross-platform compatibility.

But when it is all said and done, after all of the numbers are crunched and you have limited your selection down to only a handful (which, by the way, does for free) there is one criteria that you should use to rank and chose your app.

What is it you ask?

Well, just ask yourself a simple question- “How much do I like to use this app?”

If the answer is not very much, you should move on, even if it matches up with everything else you rank as important. If you don’t like it you simply won’t use it.

And if you don’t use it, what’s the point?

The hard part about this ranking system is that it is intangible. It is a qualitative method of measurement in a quantitative process. The way that you overcome this is simply by using the top three apps that you have ranked. After using all three- all else being equal- you will know which one you like to use best.

This is a lesson I learned recently. While I loved Everyday Timeline on paper, Diaro just speaks to me. I just enjoy the process so much better. And while I am ultimately using both of them for my daily journaling (Everyday Timeline automatically creates entries out of social media posts) I stick to Diaro because of the interface and overall feel. It is something that I can’t measure, something I can’t explain.

So, when all else is said and done, like your app for heaven’s sake!

  • arnie

    Thank you for your interesting website. I went on some long trips after university nearly 50 years ago. They were interesting trips (and times). I went through SE Asia and central Asia (eg Afghanistan) then hitched through Europe for about 18 months. I have many slides which I can scan. Also documents which i can scan as pdfs. So my request is slightly different . I want to create a journal for the years 1967 to 1969. Into it i will transfer the contents of the diary I kept at the time plus the letters I wrote to my parents. I will, of course, enter the data on the relevant dates, and cut and paste the photos and pdfs into the correct dates. I have an Apple iMac (with Mavericks ios). When finished i would like to print it , or turn it into a pdf. Later on I might add later trips (I have spent about ten years of my life travelling about) . Do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.

    • Sam Lytle

      Hi Arnie,

      My suggestion would actually be to just do it completely custom in Pages for Mac. This will allow you to lay it out the way you want to, print copies and adjust it in the future. I don’t think a specific journaling app will give you this sort of flexibility, especially for something from the past.

      • arnie

        Hello Sam,

        Thanks for your thoughts; I have just got a new iMac and have had all the usual hassles getting it set up etc and so have just now had a chance to look at Pages (I also have MS Office 2011 installed so i dont know which would be better).

        Anyway I feel that Pages (or Office) may be too “free form” (i see is defined as “not conforming to a regular or formal structure or shape” which is sort of what I mean). I think that I need a formal structure to assist me. I want to be able to go back up to 40 years and put in diary entries for those days but then i might want to do “diary” entries in 1986 or 2001, etc. I would see me putting pasting in a few photos or pdfs every now and then. But it would not go on the web. I would want to be able to print out (or save as a pdf) sections of the journal (eg for some one i travelled with in 1968 for a few weeks). But if I (as is my intention) scanned 300 photos from my 2004 trip to italy, then i would not put all of them (only a few) in the journal and i could store all the 300 photos in ,say, dropbox.

        Macjournal might be expensice compared to the others but it is peanuts if it does the job.