A Digital Tool Checklist

This is my checklist for considering a digital tool.

It should be as fast as my fingers.

I love snappy software. Tools should be fast to launch, search, and use. See: Fast software, the best software

It should be built with the right tools.

Use the right tool for the right job. If it's built once for everywhere it will be slow or violate platform conventions.

It should allow me to own my information locally.

I'd like full control over my data, regardless of wifi connection or server status. See: Local-first software

It should be well crafted visually.

At the very least, visually palatable. So many good developer tools are hampered here. They are fast and powerful, but hard to look at.

It should have a well designed icon.

The app icon is a signal of app quality. An opportunity to go above and beyond.

I should be able to buy it.

I don't like renting tools, and I'm suspicious of free ones. If I like it, I'd like to own it.

Data should be portable.

No lock-ins. Software comes and goes. The data should persist.

It should have first class keyboard support.

The alternative is carpal tunnel. If it can be done with the keyboard, it should be possible with the keyboard.

It should help me stay focused.

If there are updates or notifications, let me discover them when it's convenient for me. Another reason I'd prefer native over web. Native has a dedicated space. The browser is a distraction war zone.

It should be built on all relevant platforms.

And take advantage of platform strengths.

It should teach skills/principles that outlive the tool.

Examples include Todo apps that teach GTD. Writing apps that train your focus.

The Tools I love to Use

Shoutout to the product teams, and indie creators who are building tools for professionals. Below are some of the tools I love to use.

iA Writer
Keyboard Maestro