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A collaboration with Kristen Dunseith, Aby Iberkleid, and Shakuntala Sengupta.

Noto is a mobile app that makes notes smarter.


73% of those surveyed find the note-taking experience to be stressful, and 77% find that the act of taking notes is a distraction. 31% of those surveyed do not take notes because it is distracting.

Existing note-taking apps do not address three primary issues: poor note quality, distraction created by the note-taking process, and poor absorption of content. The goal of Noto is to create the ideal note-taking app which allows for both accurate documentation of information and effective absorption of information. Noto streamlines and enhances the note-taking experience via emerging technologies such as machine learning and computer vision.

Noto uses optical character recognition to read handwritten or printed notes and voice recording to transcribe spoken words. Users can record voice, input images, scan documents, link to web pages, and link PDF documents to combine all of their information, then curate it in one place. Noto sorts all of the information it is given and generates a concise, beautiful notebook on which users can draw and highlight. 
Noto embodies the ideals of the Swiss style: readability, legibility, hierarchy, clear presentation of information, and visual beauty. Users’ notes are typographically composed in a manner which allows for a more efficient and pleasurable experience than existing note-taking apps.

Noto generates study tools such as multiple choice quizzes and flash cards based on the information in compiled notes, making it easy for users to learn key points from all sources in one place.

Upon opening the app for the first time, users are given a quick introduction to the app’s tools in an onboarding sequence. If users tap any icon during the onboarding sequence, they are brought to an expanded description of the tool. During the onboarding sequence, users can test out the drawing tools to learn about how each of them works. The highlighter and smart pen use auto draw to create straight lines and clean curves from the user’s input.

The home screen of the app displays all of the user’s notebooks. Users can sort notebooks by date of most recent edits, most viewed, and assigned color. After selecting a notebook, the user is brought to the place where they left off last time they closed that notebook. Users can tap the notebook’s icon in the top left corner to open a menu which allows them to view all bookmarks and sections they have created in their notes. This menu is available from all screens with relevant options and contains a settings menu and shortcut to the home page.

Tapping the microphone icon in edit mode begins a voice recording. To end the recording, the microphone icon is tapped again. The transcription populates the written notes after the entire recording has finished. Tapping the marker icon while in edit mode opens the drawing tools. Users are able to highlight text in any color. Highlighted content is used to generate study tools. Tapping the import button in review mode allows the user to incorporate media such as images, web links, or PDF documents into their existing notes.

When the user imports via their camera, they can capture a regular photo or video, or they can scan a document with optical character recognition to pull text out of the captured image and into their notes. Noto can remove unwanted elements such as lines on notebook paper before adding an image to compiled notes. Noto users can pull information from an array of sources — analog notes, captured images, PDF documents, voice recordings, and websites — and then curate and study all of the information in one place.

Tapping the checkmark icon brings the user to the study page, which contains a variety of study tools. Tapping the eye icon allows users to quickly sort through elements that they have marked as important with the highlighter tool. When selecting a study game, users can choose to be tested on specific portions of their notes, which are divided by date and topic. Topics are generated via AI technology.

In the multiple choice study game, users are presented with a question based on information from their notes. Answer choices and questions are generated by Noto via artificial intelligence, not manually by the user. If a question is answered incorrectly in multiple choice, the incorrect answer button turns red and the correct answer is revealed. An excerpt from the notes which defines the correct answer is provided for review. When multiple choice questions are answered correctly, the user is notified of their correct answer and given time to review before moving on to the next question.

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