App Review: Day One Journal
I discovered Day One Journal on the App Store almost two years ago. At the time I only ever knew of journaling as buying some sort of diary and emptying out pens by filling it with silly thoughts and problems that filled your day. I never realized just how journaling worked. It doesn’t have to be a petty complaint record. It can be used to reflect what happened in a one day, plan for the next, or just remember something cool that happened in your life.
I was lucky enough to get this app when it was on sale, however, I fully believe it is worth every penny of its current $4.99 piece tag. Although I go through apps like there’s no tomorrow, constantly downloading and deleting many apps a week, this has stayed front and center on my device ever since.
The premise is simple: it’s an elegant and simple way to journal however you like. Bloom, the developer behind the app, did an exceptional job in creating Day One. It’s main color is a calming blue and follows all of the normal App Store design principles. It looks as though it were designed by Apple itself, for it fits so well into the way I expect applications to function. Text is clear and easy to read and there are also versions optimized for iPad and the Mac.
Day One is designed to fit into your journaling lifestyle however varied that may be. It doesn’t hassle you by filing up Notification Center by constantly reminding you to record every single thought. It will give you a subtle notification to journal at a specific time of day, such as before bed. This helps to create a journaling routine, which many users will like.
The main screen of the app is very intuitive. At the top there is a big “+” which brings you to the new entry screen. To the left of this button is another shortcut to add a photo entry. Once this is tapped you can choose to take a picture, upload from library, or add the last photo taken on the device. The Timeline shows you a long list of all your entries while Photos does the same by showing you all your entries that contain a photo. Tags are a helpful way to sort the various types of entries and topics and Calendar provides a robust way to go back in time and see previous entries. Starred simply show any entries you starred for any reason and Years lets you easily travel back in time if you have rather old entries.
Creating a New Entry
Once you tap the plus button the new post screen appears right before your eyes. This is where the magic happens. You can simply type your thoughts and tap done, or you can explore some of the more powerful feature this app has to offer.
Right above the keyboard is a toolbar that helps with formatting and attachments, as well as other info you may want to look back on. This bar is divided into five sections which can be viewed by swiping left and right. The first features a shortcut to settings, new entry, and a share button. Beside it are buttons to delete the entry, add the current song playing, star the post, add the type of activity you are doing, and add a step count for the day. The last two buttons can automatically be added to the note if you are on an iPhone 5s or newer. The third section contains a button to add weather, location, and a photo. Next to it are buttons to change the time of the entry and add/edit tags. The fourth section contains various formatting shortcuts to provide rich text for your entry. Finally, the last sections features a character and word counter to see just how much you’ve wrote.
All of this adds together to create a simple app that can provide many powerful features if desired. Nothing about the UI is complex or overwhelming, which creates the feeling of actually wanting to journal, not dreading the act. I personally try to journal at least once a day, and I find looking back through my entries very interesting. This app can help to remind you of memories that you may have forgotten.
There are several notable features within this app. Your journal can be locked by password and Touch ID, which helps ward off curious friends. There is also a today center widget that shows a graph of journal entries as well as shortcuts to creating new entries.
Day One has a very fast and reliable extension, which can be used to add a photo right from the Photos app or add text/link/photo from any app that supports sharing. If you want a more public journal, Bloom has introduced a Publish feature in which entries can be put together on a sort of blog that others can view.
I hope you have found this review to be helpful. Journaling is an exceptional way to record thoughts and events for future reference. I would recommend that anyone of any age begin journaling. If you have an Apple device and don’t want to bother with pen and paper, Day One by Bloom is definitely the best route to take.