Dragon Dictation + Evernote on the iPhone = nearly ideal way to capture ideas

When you combine these two iPhone apps, they are a nearly ideal way to capture ideas, any time, anywhere.

Lately, I’ve been playing around with the Dragon speech recognition tool for the iPhone. This remarkable app takes words that you speak into the smart phone’s speaker, sends the audio file to a remote server, translates it into text and transfers it back to the screen of your iPhone – all within 4-5 seconds. It’s pretty accurate, too!

When used in combination with the Evernote app for the iPhone, Dragon Dictation is a powerful, portable tool for capturing your ideas on the run – especially when it’s not convenient to type them directly into EverNote using the device’s virtual keyboard.

What makes this work well is the Dragon Dictation app’s flexible approach to using the text that you have dictated. You can transfer it to the iPhone’s built-in texting app, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and copy it for pasting into another app. The latter is the way I’m using it. I simply dictate a sentence or two into the iPhone’s microphone. Then I use the “copy” button to automatically copy all of the text on screen to memory. I then open Evernote and double-tap on the screen to bring up its paste command. I tap the pop-up paste “bubble” on screen, and viola! My text is pasted into Evernote.

This method does have a few shortcomings, however:

First, the Dragon Dictate app is only about 85-90 percent accurate, depending upon how much ambient noise is present where you’re using it.

Editing text in Dragon Dictation is a little clunky. It enables you to correct or delete words, one at a time. You need to use the pop-up keyboard to do any more involved edits.

Because version 3 of the iPhone software doesn’t enable you to keep 2 apps open at the same time, you have to save your work in Evernote before returning to Dragon Dictation. That requires a few more screen taps and slows down the workflow a little bit, but it’s not too objectionable (I haven’t upgraded to version 4 because I fear it may really mess up my iPhone – I’ve heard horror stories…).

So far, I like the fact that I can capture simple ideas quickly using these 2 apps. It would be nice if they were more tightly integrated in the future. I envision a “send to Evernote” button in the Dragon Dictation menu, which would save a few steps and automate the workflow a bit more.