UX Write, a next generation iOS word processor from UX Productivity includes some key document content and structure editing features that speak to a brighter future for iOS word processors. For only $14.99 (USD), it has the potential to become one of the word processors for the Post PC generation.
Creating documents with UX WriteWhen you open UX Write, a nicely designed screen appears that lets you access documents locally on your iPad, in your Dropbox account, or on a WebDAV server. It's well laid out and inviting for users. Figure A shows the UX Write opening screen: Figure A
UX Write is a next generation iOS word processor.The technical writer in me remains a bit cynical about document authoring from scratch on the iPad after using many of the major iOS word processing apps. However, writing with UX Write using a Bluetooth keyboard is a smooth experience. The autocorrect caught my spelling mistakes as I typed. Reformatting text was also a simple proposition of highlighting the text. This experience could certainly inspire me to write longer pieces on my iPad. The app was responsive and behaved like a full-fledged word processor, not just an app scaled down for a tablet. Figure B shows the main UX Write screen: Figure B
Writing with UX Write feels like writing with a full-fledged word processor.The Insert menu includes the options you'd expect to find in a word processor, such as Figure, Table, Reference, Web link, Table of Contents, List of Figures, and List of Tables (see Figure C). The Table of Contents feature is basic, and it might take some trial and error to get it in the right position in the document, but it pulls from the document's headings just like a PC or Mac word processor. Figure C
The UX Write Insert menu.Inserting graphics and tables using UX Write works smoothly. The automatics captions for figures and tables (Figure D) is definitely a nice touch. Figure D
Insert figures and tables into UX Write documents.UX Write also includes an Outline feature (Figure E). Even if you hated creating outlines in English class, I suggest trying them again on a tablet. Outlining in UX Write works off the heading levels, so the outline feature becomes a handy document navigation tool if you venture into long document authoring on your iPad. Figure E
An outline in UX Write.UX Write's support for styles is what really made the app catch my attention, because I've yet to find an IPad word processor that handles styles and presentation formatting to my liking. UX Write's Style Editor (Figure F) was a definite surprise, especially with its maturity in such an early stage iPad app Given the right amount of time, I think I could write the requisite styles to format a longer document. Figure F
The Style Editor is another UX Write selling point.
UX Write currently only supports HTML as a document format. This is fine for some potential customers, because it's an open format and easy to import into other applications. However, the lack of Microsoft Word *.doc support could be a showstopper for business users.
There are some handy options for getting your documents out of UX Write and off the iPad. Tap Create PDF and a PDF of your document will appear on your iPad screen. You can tap Done to return to the original document, or tap the action button to open the PDF in a local PDF reader or other iPad Office suite. If you tap Email, an HTML version of the document will attach to a blank email.
The developer's attention to usability shows through in the export options, but it doesn't quite make up for the lack of *.doc support. The developer promises *.doc support in the future, so I plan to continue watching UX Write and look forward to seeing the app mature.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.