I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you read blogs. At the least consume content on the internet. Perhaps, like me, you use said internet for various reasons—information to add to a lesson for the class you’re teaching, concepts to bring up and explore in a product design meeting, reference material for creative projects, hot men and kittens. (Yes, it’s a thing.)
My usual method of organization for internet articles is to bookmark and forget it. This has not failed me yet. Other, less strategically sound systems include writing half-formed ideas on scraps of paper and carefully losing them everywhere, allowing them to languish in RSS feed hell, or emailing them to myself with the subject line ACTUALLY READ THIS ONE.
In an effort to not royally suck at this, I decided to give Candy a shot, which helps you organize your favorite web content. So far, it’s everything I’ve wanted and looks like it will only grow to be more.
When turned on, Candy lives at the bottom of your browser.
At its most basic, Candy lets you create a card from a piece of content—called a candy—and index it into a repository. They do this through a deceptively simple Chrome plug-in (sorry non-Chrome users, you’re out of luck for the moment), which by itself isn’t particularly ground-breaking. Where Candy really begins to shine is what you can then do with that card. First, when creating a candy, you can highlight a portion of an article and set that as a quote, or copy the entire piece. Regardless, you can open the original content on the web or in their offline reader. This is brilliant for people who travel quite a bit, often with shaky internet connections, or me, who’s home internet is just funky. These candies can be named and annotated, and every part of it is searchable. Being able to pull insights from an article, add a bit of relevance to them with notation, and still see them in their original context, has changed the way I gather information for blog posts, lesson plans, and meeting prep. Mainly, I do it now. I even enjoy it.
The reader works when not online, and overlays your browser window.
The next layer of organization they offer is called Storylines. Essentially it’s a folder system for your candies. Not revolutionary, except that you can view all of the full candies in a list, allowing you to quickly and easily build narratives. I currently have one Storyline for “Language, Copy, and Writing Right,” one for the class I’m teaching, and a few different ones pulling together research for a comic. It’s a quite necessary, if seemingly simple, piece of product brilliance—without it, candies would just be a loose mess. Being able to search and filter keeps them from getting too out of control. Plus the interface is easy to navigate. It’s a lifesaver. (Pun intended so hard.)
I’ve only spent a few days using Candy, but I’m already at the can’t-imagine-life-without-it stage. As a UX designer, there’s a few things I would change—not entirely loving the color scheme, and I’m hoping for a bit more robust organization features in future updates. But they are doing so much right, especially the little things: the small interactions, animations (which my gifs do not do justice), and the little hints of personality in the writing. For someone who writes a lot and is constantly trying—and usually failing—to organize information on the web for later use, this little app is perfect.