iKana Nōto is here!

It’s my great pleasure to announce that you can now buy iKana Nōto on the App Store! iKana Nōto is a new take on the iKana series and rather than being a flash card based, reference type application, it instead focuses on helping you practice writing Japanese.

One of the things studying Japanese using mobile devices and computers lacks is the sort of hands on approach and muscle memory training you get from actually writing out hiragana, katakana and kanji. I’ve sort to address that with iKana Nōto and it’s really only possible thanks to the iPad’s large multi-touch screen. You certainly can’t write seriously using a mouse or trackpad and the iPhone screen is really too small for writing more than single characters, and even then complex kanji can be a challenge. I wanted to make it easier to practice writing both vertically and horizontally and so iKana Nōto has a selection of templates that allow for both styles.

iKana Nōto screenshot
Writing a postcard in iKana Nōto

The large writing area makes it easy to draw kana and kanji alike and you can pick the writing tool and stroke width that suit your style. Setting the cursor position is easy and the previous and next buttons on either side the writing area adjust depending on whether you are writing vertically or horizontally.

The rethink

One of the reasons iKana Nōto took a little longer to release than originally planned was because the direction of the app changed midway. Originally I was planning a more direct port of iKana touch, scaled up the iPad’s big screen. But it rapidly became apparent just upsizing things wasn’t really adding any value or making good use of iPad’s potential. Instead the reference side of the app has been reduced to a small part of the overall functionality.

iKana Nōto preliminary design
The original iKana Nōto design

The future

I’m planning to add more templates and add a kanji reference and dictionary to the app over time. I also have plans for a Mac companion app that will allow printing and creation of nice high-resolution versions of your nōtos. Stay tuned for more details.

One Comment on “iKana Nōto is here!

  1. I just wanted to say I’m immensely pleased with iKana Nōto so far. The thought put into its design really shows: it works just as smoothly as iKana touch and iKanji touch, and surpasses them in its elegance. And as intended, it addresses very well what the other apps don’t: the muscle memory of learning kanji and kana. The three apps complement each other very nicely, and together leave very little to be desired.

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