Web browser vs Mobile app vs Desktop app

I recently started using the Desktop app , especially for one reason:

When offline (think laptop, in a place with no wifi), I can edit stuff and it will be saved. (Just need to be extra vigilant about sync ahead of time, lest I get problems syncing later.)

I am now considering to use Safari in my phone instead of the iPhone app. It is updated faster than others, but more significantly it has some very valuable features:

  • a built-in back button so I can follow and link and go back
  • the new multi-select button (nevermind, doesn’t work)
  • I notice the action bar is a float, instead of docked to the keyboard. I’m not sure i prefer either method. Docked is decidedly more usable.
  • offline support is less relevant because cell access is virtually universal.

Anybody else have input on the difference between browser and apps? What feature differences motivate you?

In addition to having a back button, the web app also has the back links, so another point there.

Added my request to help making Desktop app even unique.

Multiple panes in desktop is a great idea for a new feature, but I’m talking about usability issues in various platforms. Below are some issues I have (some significant to me) especially with mobile usability:



  • I want the desktop back/forward buttons on mobile.
  • I want the Sync indicator visible on mobile. (make a colored icon instead of a word?)
  • I don’t need the undo button on desktop because Ctrl-Z, but why not have it?
  • Right button should both be a hamburger or both dots because it’s the same thing
  • Would prefer Search and Eye move to toolbar in desktop. In the document area is awkward.
  • Would prefer left hamburger move down like on desktop
  • The select button is on the mobile browser but not the desktop browser. (It’s also not on the desktop app or mobile app, but I understand that’s coming.) I want it everywhere.
  • The lock button isn’t needed when the select button comes around. Select does everything I want.

Zoom/Expand. In Settings, there is an option for zoom to be by clicking the dot or expand by clicking the dot. Missing this option in mobile. This is a usability problem, because I try to click the start of the line to insert text, and it is almost impossible. Instead I tap and it zooms. Then I must zoom out (with the breadcrumbs) and attempt again. Sometimes more than once. This would be less of a pain if the dot was Expand/collapse, because then I can just keep tapping until I get the cursor.

Indeed I tried to work around this with CSS, but anything less than a left-padding of 15px is ineffective. You can see why 15px padding is otherwise undesired.

Happy news: The Zoom problem is solved via CSS hack. The dot is now completely disabled, so it won’t zoom any more. Using the toolbar zoom instead.

Although I suggest above that the search button would be better in the menu bar at top, an active search is different. In the desktop app it appears as a window where the search icon was, and this seems fine. In mobile, it overwrites the top bar and this is a problem:

I was trying to implement a flow where I click on a bookmark to see a filter view of my page, do work on that filter view and then go back. But Undo is gone! The Lock and multi-select are gone. So I can’t do the work I want to do. My options are to escape and manually find the line, or zoom in and edit the line, and then go back to the search. I would MUCH prefer the search line take the place of the Title Node or append to the tracer crumbs.

ALSO: mobile lacks Flat search. By comparing how that looks on desktop, I think I would like that. It appears I can save a flat search on desktop and use it on mobile, but once there you can’t go back. You escape out of the search, and your main view is still in search mode. LOCKED!