We built Ember to fill a gap in our workflow: a place to gather and organise our work and inspiration, and make it easy to retrieve this inspiration when we need it the most. Today I’d like to share some of the ways we use Ember throughout our lives.
Dan: Interior Design
For me Ember is like a digital brain, anything that visually inspires me or that I’d like to keep for future reference goes into Ember. One example of this is my ever growing Collection of interior design shots.
Last year we purchased our very own office and before we moved in we spent many months renovating it to make it feel just like home. Ember turned out to be invaluable for this: before and during the renovation, I built up a Collection of inspiring workplaces, café, bathrooms, and even furniture I liked. Having this library of images made it much easier to get the look we wanted for the new office. I’m now collecting inspiration for when we get around to building our dream kitchen at home…
Nik: iOS Screenshots
I take a lot of screenshots, nowhere more-so than on iOS where I take screenshots of everything from rendering glitches in other apps to first-run flows of apps I download. In fact, a quick look at my Ember library reveals that in the last 5 years I’ve taken over 5,000 iPhone and iPad screenshots (which is a little over half my library).
Ember automatically sorts the screenshots I take into the appropriate “Phone” or “Tablet” type, and a quick post-import tag-and-name gets screenshots into some of my existing Smart Collections. I tend to go through and organise screenshots into thematic Collections over time too, cataloguing the interaction decisions that apps make.
My girlfriend and I love to travel. We’ve found Ember to be an amazing app for gathering inspiration on future destinations and research for where we’re travelling to next.
We use tags and Smart Collections religiously. We have a Smart Collection titled “Travel” that groups together images we’ve tagged as a future destination. We add the names of the destination and a little info about the place in the image description too.
As we plan our next adventure we’ll setup another Smart Collection and start to gather and tag related images, such as possible hotels, restaurants, maps, walks, etc. We found this particularly useful as we planned our last trip to Fiji and gathered lots of images about the different resorts on the 20 Yasawa Islands. Being able to quickly browse through all our research made picking out our favourite resorts very easy.
Ted: Map Annotations
Outside of work I do triathlons which involves a fair amount of running, cycling and swimming. I often find myself planning new rough routes with friends so as not to get too bored. Although there are tools out there for creating routes, they’re all a bit heavyweight when all I really want to do is scribble on a map.
My workflow is to grab a snapshot of the map in a browser window and then quickly use the Smart Drawing annotation tools in Ember to annotate the route. I then share it with my friends and mail myself a copy to check enroute. It only takes a couple of minutes and the added bonus is that I get a nice history of my different routes in an Ember category.
I love to cook. While I have a physical recipe book I meticulously follow and update, I also like to look for new inspiration around the web. By using the Subscriptions in Ember I can browse my favourite food blogs and import inspiring images of dishes to my own library.
The Smart Collections in Ember also help me easily categorise these hundreds of images based on the cuisine, the blog writer and the post date.
Elliot: UI & Colours
I use Ember to document issues within an interface that people have found interesting solutions for. The annotation tools come in handy here so that when I look back through my library I won’t forget why I snapped that particular shot. I also have a Collection for all of the colour schemes that I like in various illustrations, websites and interfaces.
My RSS feed is mainly used for following what’s happening on Dribbble. The fact that you can save shots directly to your library makes it easy to annotate them and share feedback too.
My Ember library is a mixture of personal inspiration (art, UI & UX design, photographs), GIFs to share at the office, and apps screenshots to support our users. However, I’m considering getting my first tattoo done soon – Brighton is the perfect place for this – and my Ember library has helped me in several ways.
If I stumble upon some awesome art online, I can import the image via the browser extension. I also use the Subscriptions view to keep an ongoing flow of tattoo inspiration from Tumblr and other online sources. If I find something good, I just press the spacebar and it’s saved to my Ember library. I’ve also set up a Smart Collection that grabs every image using the ‘tattoo’ tag: that way I can collect everything easily, apply this simple tag and get back to the Collection later.
Hamish: Bugs, Annotations & Websites
iOS screenshots make up at least 50% of my Photo Stream. If I see a bug in an app or site (and I see a lot), I take a screenshot of it. I use Ember to annotate these screenshots; highlighting the offending details so that they can then be clearly reported for fixing.
As well as highlighting bugs and details that need to be enhanced, I like to snap apps and websites that already do things right. I have a guilty pleasure for snapping nicely done empty app states, status boards and login screens. I tag these images so that they’re all automatically collated in my Smart Collections.
Pro Tip: Choose a file comparison app, like Kaleidoscope, to be your ‘Preferred Image Editor’ in Ember’s Preferences. Next, select a mockup .PSD from your Ember library as well as a screenshot of the implemented design. You can then right-click and send both images to your file comparison app to quickly compare any differences between the intended and actual design.
These are just some of the different ways we use Ember, and now that we have released a demo for you to try we can’t wait to hear how you use it! Let us know on Twitter and feel free to share your tips and tricks!