Everyone who’s seen and used the EverClip iOS app will understand why this product won the Gold medal in our Devcup competition (see the finalists) at the Evernote Trunk Conference. This little utility makes it easy to gather up all the things you see on your iPhone or iPad that you want to save into your Evernote account. All you have to do is copy items to the clipboard. The background app collects them for you, and makes it a one-button step to zap them over to Evernote. It’s like having an Evernote Web Clipper in iOS.
Based on a combination of votes from Evernote employees (who universally find EverClip impressive) and our global user community, EverClip won our competition for the best apps submitted this year. We were happy to award the $20,000 gold medal prize to the EverClip team at Ignition Soft, an app building company from Hong Kong.
Shortly after handing Ignition co-founder Francis Chong his ginormous novelty check (good luck getting that in the overhead bin on your flight back home), I caught up with him to talk a bit about the project. Chong told me that EverClip was built because he, and his partners, “really needed it.” That, he says, is the key to building a good and popular app. But you do have to, “share it with your friends to see if it really works.”
EverClip started as a project to help smartphone users clip and share content easily, Chong said. Evernote entered the picture since, “we wanted to save the time of building a full backend. Evernote was a good place to begin.”
I asked Chong what his biggest challenges were. Obviously there were technical issues, like, “converting the pasteboard content from different apps to Evernote’s XHTML dialect,” he said.
Design was even more important, though. “We had to design the simplest interface that worked, and also keep the app functional.” Here at Evernote, we’ve found the app, indeed, simple and fun to use. When you copy something to the clipboard with the app running, your phone buzzes briefly to let you know you’ve saved the item. Once you’ve copied all the items you want, from whatever apps you want, you can head over to the EverClip app to shoot the clips into Evernote. Since EverClip stores your items while you work, you don’t have the clipboard anxiety that you might have when items are only temporarily kept in your device’s clipboard buffer.
Chong told me the work his team has put into the app has been worth it. “The first week we launched generated enough sales to pay us back for the 300 or so hours of work we put in to building the app. And since the Devcup success, we can arrange to put more time in to it, to bring out new features, and bring in more users.”
About those new features: Chong says a future update of the app will see smarter clipping. If you just clip the URL, you’ll get the page’s content, too, rendered using the Readability content extractor. Also look for an in-app browser to get layered in.