[App Fridays] Indian Evernote alternative Buno aims to make note-taking more intuitive with its minimalistic approachHarshith Mallya
Entrepreneurs generally start out on their journey with a basic Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It may not have an amazing user interface (UI) and multiple features, but it aims to get one particular task done well. Further on in the lifecycle of a product, entrepreneurs tend to add more functional features and improve the UI to enhance appeal. But adding too many features can be a problem as well, as it can add to the complexity and initial learning curve, putting off users.
Many entrepreneurs have utilised the concept of ‘minimalism’ well in the last few years to grow their startups. Through this thought process, entrepreneurs strip down a product to its bare essentials and try to make it perform one core task exceedingly well. Tumblr and Google Translate could be taken as good case studies of the minimalistic approach. An Indian startup Buno aims to make note-taking simpler through this same philosophy.
What is it?
Short for ‘Bucket Notes’, Buno is a note-taking app which aims to make the job of jotting notes through a gesture-based system, quick and simple. With its simplistic and minimalistic approach, the founders aim to compete with the likes of Evernote and Google Keep by focusing on the users’ key need, which is simple hassle-free note taking.
Share directlyThe app relies on ‘swiping’ for different functions- users can swipe to take a note and then swipe again to save it. Then through real-time cloud sync, the notes are backed up and users can access it across multiple devices. To ensure security, Buno has a four digit PIN-based security system and the team claims to utilise the highest grade security techniques for end-to-end encryption.
Buno’s aim is to provide a minimal interface to avoid any distractions while taking notes, to help users focus on writing more effectively. Some other interesting features include-
- File organisation- Bucket (folder) system for organising and accessing notes easily.
- Social sign in– Buno has enabled Facebook and Google sign-ins to ensure quick access.
- Share directly- To eliminate ‘copy-pasting’ across different screens and apps, Buno lets users share notes directly from within the app.
- Word count and image integration– To let users keep track of their notes, Buno provides character, word and paragraph count on the screen along with the ability to add multiple images to the same note.
The story so far
Buno was developed by HelloWorld Dev in collaboration with 50x Apps. The core team of Buno includes Deepesh Sondagar (CEO), Jayant Rao (Design head), Puneet Kohli (Product lead) and Arun Swaminathan (Technical Architect).
Deepesh had earlier started a company to design custom phone cases and claims to have sold it at ten times the price within 18 months of its launch. He currently handles operations, finance and management at Buno.
Jayant looks after design and digital marketing and relies on his experience working with companies like Ogilvy and Featherlite Furniture. Arun has published research papers and worked with companies like Barclays and Cognisant in a technical capacity. He also has prior experience in architecturing apps to enterprise grade software.
Puneet has four years of experience in the app development space with his startup ReFocus Tech. Talking to YourStory, Puneet noted that Buno came into existence in November 2015, based on the founding team’s personal needs. He said,
Being a gadget freak, I generally change my phone every two months. I have the habit of taking notes throughout the day for various ideas including sensitive information. So I tried and tested a lot of apps but they were either too cluttered or too ugly for my liking.
While having dinner with a bunch of close friends, he realised that his friends too had faced similar issues. So they decided to work on an app that provided a clean, user-friendly and minimalistic interface to take notes. Puneet from 50x Apps says, “We all put a lot of thought into how we could make the process of taking notes really easy. It’s a pain to have to press so many buttons to take a note with current applications – especially during meetings.”
So they decided to make buttons redundant and developed a gesture based UI that helps users take notes with ‘swipes’ performing different actions. Buno is currently working on a web-based version of their product to help users sync their notes across their smartphone and web browsers to enhance user appeal.
Traction and revenue model
Available on Android and iOS, Buno is currently free to download and use. Going forward, the team aims to include some in-app purchases or a subscription model for premium features and are also exploring options like charging for storage space and cloud backup after a certain limit.
Puneet estimates that they have about 8,000 installs across both platforms, and according to their metrics, eight percent of their users use the app daily, while 21 percent of users use it at least once in a month. In terms of the demography of users, Buno found that 54 percent of their Android users were from Germany, while the iOS version is most popular in China, accounting for 40 percent of their users. Puneet also noted,
The average session length for Buno is 20 seconds, which is completely in line with our motto of making note-taking super easy and quick.
Smartphones have now become the default screen for most users. Though most people prefer desktops and laptops for typing lengthy emails and finishing reports, smartphones are extremely useful for jotting down quick notes and reminders. The three big players in this sector are Evernote, Google Keep and Microsoft’s OneNote.
Each platform has their own set of features that appeal to different users. Google Keep is estimated to be more streamlined, with better search integration, and quicker. Evernote, on the other hand, has API integrations and premium web clipper tools that make notes searchable in Google results.
Buno is a well designed app and has an interesting value proposition. The ability to get an overview of character, word and paragraph count in one place is quite useful. The swipe gestures take a few minutes to get used to, but are quite intuitive once you get a hang of them.
While Buno is a good alternative to Evernote and Google Keep in some aspects like UI and design, the app still has some drawbacks at this stage. There is currently no desktop support and integration, and users can only access their notes across smartphones and tablets. Also, adding more gesture-based commands to add colour or make bold different parts of text could enhance user appeal.
Overall, Buno is a good attempt by a bootstrapped startup to take on industry giants by focusing on user interface and design. Including a few more tweaks and adjusting their product in line with user feedback will help the Buno team enhance the stickiness of their app.
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.