Trying Out Blogo, the Mac WordPress App

This review is written from the point of view of someone who is an experienced blogger, who just bought the app, and started clicking around trying to discover all the features.

First WTF Moment

Blogo’s launch experience was good. The first thing I tried was the app’s main navigation buttons – on the third one I got a bunch of popup dialogs! I expected to navigate to a part of the app, not be warned that I might be doing something wrong.

And why is it possible to preview (and be required to have something published live on the web) when I clearly have a blank page and haven’t entered any content? Why do I have to worry (or even panic) that some wrong content will go live on my website?

Confusing Navigation UI

A few faux pas, in my opinion, with the navigation:

  • this navigation layout suggests the user will be able to swap through different views, not for the main window to change shape; expectations have been set by the Twitter app and the TONS of apps that copied this UI
  • don’t ask for money at such a high level, it doesn’t set a good tone

Overall Good UI, Few Weird Bits

Ok this app is growing on me, the UI overall is quite slick and – aside from a few gotchas – it looks like a lot of care has gone into crafting it.

  • controls to switch between h1/h2/h3 … cool
  • disclosing word count, cool
  • handling of tags, categories, search .. cool
  • the […] button at the bottom left is very strange, it opens a File Open dialog, big WTF moment, how will local files be related with my blog post?

Evernote WTF

Saving a post prompts you to Link/Register with Evernote. I personally hate Evernote, it epitomises badly designed software: always begging for money, feature bloat, crowded UI. Is this company owned by Evernote?

System Notifications for Save

Very Nice touch. This is an underused feature in OS X.

Image Handling

The options for customising images in your blog post are very slick, but I can’t understand why they don’t let you drag/drop the image on the image well to upload – that feels broken.

You can hover over existing images in your post, very slick, and there are nice edit options, although nothing for resizing.

A parallax effect is applied to the post’s images while scrolling down the page.

Ok This App’s UI is Really Nice

I quite like the Headings customiser control, this is a good idea I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Some WebViews

The main text area seems to be a web view, but with some custom context menu options you don’t find in Safari.

Filter Menu

The filter menu is amazing.

Menu Bar

It’s quite annoying, especially as it follows you around when you’re selecting text. I disabled it in preferences.

Buttons: Save/Update (and Publish)

So I added some new text and the Save button is still greyed out. Why do I have to decide between Save and Update, they seem similar. After I hit the Update button, it does not become greyed out.

Progress Dialogs

There are a few kinds, they are all really nice.

Categories and Tags

Overall this feature is nice, like how it’s collapsible, scrolling and the multiple selection in the right panel works well. If I have some tags/categories assigned to an article and I delete them, their selection does not disappear. It finally does when focus changes to somewhere else in app.

Markdown Mode

The Markdown mode is excellent, even how it deals with images, better than the DayOne app, for example. It’s (surprisingly) a web view. The text has a nice looking markup, is colour coded, and has good style previews for most of the structure format tags.

Preferences

The preferences are really slick. Even the advertising panels are done really well, they look as good as those in Wunderlist.

Conclusion

Overall this is a great app. I can definitely get used to the weird parts. I don’t spend enough time blogging mainly because the apps I’ve used until know have been too kludgy. This app in free mode seems to do everything I need to manage a single blog. Big congrats to the developers.