Dave Winer is contemplating how to support tools for thought on small screen devices like smartphones.

The lesson learned since Personal Digital Assistants and later smartphones first appeared is that screen size matters. Small screen, defined as less than seven inches, use case is different from large screen size, a fact that Microsoft was unwilling to embrace.

For me, tools for thought on small screens should be optimized for the following use cases:

  • Data capture via the Operating System’s sharing functionality so that I can easily and quickly capture information from other applications. One of the main reasons why I continue using Evernote is that it supports capturing information via mobile OS sharing functions and browser web clipping.
  • Fast and easy search to retrieve information that I store in my tools for thought. Again, I find Evernote does a good job here not only by an included search function but also via shortcuts that enable me to quickly retrieve information.
  • I don’t often write on my smartphone. If the tool supports the OS sharing functionality then any app could be used for input and then sent in to the tool for thought, which is the model that Drafts is optimized for on iOS. If the app is for writing then a blank page is easiest for input, any type of outlining structure is difficult to manage on a small screen.