Wridea: Online Idea Management Application

A big asset to any blogger is the ability to stay organized. When you’re following leads on multiple stories, collecting links and doing research, keeping track of it all can mean the difference between being first on a hot scoop or wasting valuable time trying to remember where you wrote down that vital statistic. There have sadly been a couple of times when poor organization has completely changed or killed stories I was working on because thoughts on content direction that I had were misplaced. That’s why I was so excited about Wridea, and online idea management application that launched its version two release last week.

Here at SitePoint we use the Basecamp groupware tool from 37signals, email, instant messaging, and Skype to stay organized and chat with one another about content issues. But on a personal level, I also have text files all over my computer, and scraps of paper all over my desk with story ideas, research and telephone interview notes, and records of who I’ve emailed or talked to and when. Suffice it to say — it’s not a great system.

Wridea is a very simple application that aims to keep your ideas and notes about them in one place. Each idea is added to a page as a large, highly visible text headline, which can be color coded to map to user defined categories. Under each idea is a “details” box — basically a simple text editor onto which you can enter further notes about your idea, and which can be formatted with simple controls like bold, italics, underline, text color, and bulleted lists.

You can create multiple pages of ideas, so that you can group them by subject — i.e., a page for feature ideas for your app, and another page for home improvement ideas for your new condo. Any page can also be shared with friends, who can then comment on your ideas and offer feedback.

Wridea is very simple, and its creators intend that it could be used for live note taking during meetings or at a conference. It does have some drawbacks, though. The first is organization of ideas. Wridea is supposed to help you “organize and improve [your] ideas,” but it is actually rather lacking when it comes to organization. I found that ideas on my pages were listed in a seemingly random way — the third idea I added was listed first, the second was listed third, and the first was listed second. They didn’t appear to be listed alphabetically or by the categories I defined, nor was there any way to reorder them (what if I wanted to list by priority?) or tag them.

The second drawback to Wridea is that for all its simpleness, it can be kind of clunky. Changing or adding a category to an idea, for example, involves clicking on the idea, then clicking the “Select” link, then choosing the category from the “Categories” drop down menu in the top navigation bar, and then deselecting the idea entry. That’s way too many steps.

It would also be great to be able to add sub ideas underneath main ideas on your page that each had their own details box, and it would be helpful to be able to export ideas to other formats (txt, pdf, doc, html, etc.).

Conclusion

In the end, it is hard to see how Wridea is much better than a list and some Writeboards in Basecamp, or a shared document in Google Docs. I like the concept of a super simple shared idea manager, but the current implementation doesn’t differentiate enough from already available tools to make it really worthwhile. There is certainly potential here for a useful application, in my opinion, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark yet.

How do you keep track of your brainstorming sessions? Let us know in the comments.

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  • http://www.tyssendesign.com.au Tyssen

    How do you keep track of your brainstorming sessions?

    I probably don’t have that many ;) but I use Remember the Milk which is essentially a to do list but I use it for noting down ideas for blog posts as well as movies I want to see, songs to vote for in the next JJJ Hottest 100, bills to pay, client calls/emails to follow up on etc.

  • http://www.gen2net.net chris_fuel

    When it comes to research, I tend to be very website oriented about it, and I find Opera’s latest version (9.51 as of this comment’s writing) to be a fairly nice tool for that. Along with this comes a fairly folder intensive bookmarks system. The combination of the two systems seems to work pretty well for me. Another nice thing is that if you select text in Opera and go to “Copy To Note” in the right click menu, it notes it and makes the note link to the URL you copied it from (great for quote sourcing).

    I’ve thought about going web 2.0 with task organization before, but my non-work oriented stuff is light enough to where I’ve found a lot of solutions to be more effort than using a standard spreadsheet / doc to gather things quickly.

  • Thomas

    I normally use Evernote for quick notes, web- and code snippets. In the new version, there is also mobile and web-access.

  • http://armchaircritic.declarationend.co.uk armchaircritic

    Chris, I never knew you were a fellow O browser devotee. lol.

    On another note, I did try out wridea, and I agree that the organisation tools are not as great as they could be. For instance, I have no idea how the ‘idea rain’ is at all useful, except to animate your already existing ‘ideas’.

    I’ve tried a number of online organisational tools, from a basic backpackit account to iscribe and now this, but it seems to me that none of them have it right yet.

    I may continue to use wridea for the fact that I initially just jotted few ideas I was thinking of playing with for design work, and I get them frequently, so perhaps this could be useful for creatives who just want a place to note the ideas they’d like to work on. On a organisational basis the app has a long way to go perhaps before it challenges some other tools. As a place to note some ideas it isn’t too bad, but as Chris pointed out with Opera you can make ‘notes’ in the browser itself so you have to wonder if what wridea is offering is useful for many more people.

  • http://www.magain.com/ mattymcg

    Because my machine is a laptop, I don’t feel the need to store this stuff online. I have it with me whether I’m at work or at home, so there’s no real benefit to sharing it. Ye olde text file is usually enough for capturing this stuff.

  • funnymushroom

    The problem I have with Opera notes and bookmarks is that it’s far too one-directional for me:

    I store tons of notes and bookmarks for web links, even write notes when I come up with new ideas.

    But then, when I want to find something, I don’t even think of looking it up in my local bookmarks or notes collection. Either google has it, or I give up.

    Maybe this would change with a better organisation and search of this stuff – I don’t know.

  • http://www.iraqtimeline.com/ Black Max

    At the History Commons, we’re using Zoho Forums and Zoho Wiki for communicating back and forth, tracking ideas, and so forth. It does what we need it to do, except that sometimes the wiki gets tetchy and refuses to post submissions. But it’s certainly not a perfect solution.

  • Cem Hurturk, Wridea

    Hi Josh,

    Well, thanks for such a constructive review of our idea management service, Wridea. I also agree with you about those two drawbacks, we are also having the same difficulties while using Wridea. The good news is that, we are going to make easier idea organizing in coming weeks.

    Beside of this, lots of more tools and channels will be added to Wridea for managing and adding your ideas easily, quickly.

    Thanks again,
    Cem Hurturk, Co-Founder,
    On Behalf of Wridea Team

  • sal

    We use DeskAway’s built in Doc and Task functionality to keep all our ideas/notes regarding projects in one place. Tried using scraps or paper, text files, even emails, but having everything in one place is the key to increased productivity and personal satisfaction :-)