Apple Notes Redesign

Redesigning the native app, Notes—to appease advanced note-taking on the go.
UX researcher, UI designer

Sketch, Information architecture, Interview, Landscape research, Competitor analysis, Usability testing, Wireframe, Prototype, Design system

Figma, Photoshop
2022 / 9 weeks

Sally Chung, Ian Abinoja


As one of the native apps on iPhone, the biggest advantage is the high accessibility within Apple’s product system. Naturally, there are a huge amount of users who use Notes frequently. However, their behavior ranges from quick note-taking to more complicated usage. Users who take advanced notes are often found unsatisfied with the restraints while other advanced note-taking apps are difficult to navigate on iPhone. 
By seeing the problems and desirability of redesigning Notes, the redesign is aiming to solve current problems and enhance the overall experience. It is executed by: the simplicity of the journey, being approachable on iPhone, and providing customization opportunities.

The two personas below represent the users who use Notes as an advanced note-taking app and users who use Notes as a quick note-taking app. 

UX Journey

The frustration happens during the phase of editing. There aren’t enough options for character formatting and restraints on coloring. Rearranging texts and tables can be troublesome, and the same with the table tool—too complicated to use and the smallish buttons aren’t friendly on mobile.

Confusing IA
The current Notes app has a simple IA, but this actually makes the information architecture confusing. While the keyboard is activated, it is not focusing on the “editing” phase but has too many shortcuts repetitive to the nav menu.

Editing Restraints
It is good to have character styles ready for use, but the lack of customization opportunities became one of the restraints. Moreover, tables that cannot make enough format edits lose their tool value.

Unproductive Flow
Users cannot reuse or move notes easily by duplicating one. and the action of selecting, cutting, moving, and pasting contents is not effective. Especially on mobile, it is extra hard with figures.


Competitor Analysis
Evaluating note-taking mobile apps from user experience, accessibility, and features. In comparison, the current Notes is lacking a lot of features, but the advanced apps are harder to navigate. Moreover, Apple Notes is built natively so it has the best accessibility.

Market Opportunity
Not only aiming to solve the current problems but also identifying there’s a huge market opportunity space. The most commonly used note-taking apps are either designed for a sit-down condition for advanced or basic on the go note-taking. For the redesigned Apple Notes, it will be aiming for advanced and on the go.

Categorized Tool Panels
Evernote mobile app has all the tools organized as large, easy-tappable buttons, categorized under different panels. It is effortless to find and use the tools on mobile.

Variety of Features
Almost every feature possible needed for advanced note-taking is included in Evernote and Notion mobile apps.

Templates & Styles
Although some features are ready-made for the user's convenience, users still get options to edit and make the features more personal, but in a productive way—for example, starting from templates or character styles.

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