Thoughts on Phraseology 2

As a writer who loves working from my iPad, I've always had a thing for iOS text editors. I've tried most of the big name ones over time, and usually have two or three installed on my devices. As of this writing, here's what's in my Writing folder right now: My current daily driver writing app is Editorial, but I also have Byword and Phraseology on my iPad just in case. In particular, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Phraseology. Although I don't use it all the time, I really like it not only for its clean and simple design, but also for its unique features such as paragraph/sentence arranging, as well Inspect, where the writer can view readability statistics for their work. These features help Phraseology stand out in a crowded field where developers are trying to come up with ways to differentiate themselves. As far as I can tell, what makes Arrange and Inspect unique is that I haven't seen these features in any other app.
Given my affinity for Phraseology, I was excited and honored when Greg Pierce, the man behind the app, sent me a direct message on Twitter asking if I'd like to beta-test Phraseology. I immediately said yes, and have been using it as my main writing app for the last month or so --- in fact, this very piece is being written in it. In short, Phraseology 2 is splendid; other than a couple of minor niggles, I highly recommend it.

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The longer Phraseology story is that this piece is not meant to be a exhaustive review. Instead, I just want to give my general impressions of the app, especially when it comes to accessibility. Aside from Arrange and Inspect, my favorite thing about Phraseology is just how clean the user interface is. The vertical sidebar with the controls is not too crowded, and I love how I can move in and out of full screen mode so as to hide said toolbar and better focus on my writing. As for the actual writing, Source Sans Pro is my preferred font. It looks terrific on a Retina display, and I can see it at a smaller size without straining my eyes too much. As someone who writes exclusively in Markdown, I find Phraseology's Markdown preview to be the best of any writing app I've used, on iOS or the Mac. I use it quite often, and I really appreciate that its just a tap away in the toolbar. Other niceties include the category-standard Dropbox and iCloud integration, as well as parts of speech highlighting and versioning, the latter of which has already saved my ass more than once. As I mentioned, I do have a a couple minor complaints about Phraseology. My chief problem is that the app's user interface is lower contrast than I'd like. While it's not a deal-breaker by any means, the on-screen controls are a bit hard for my eyes to discern. It takes a few seconds for me to tap anything because I make sure I'm tapping the right button. Relatedly, I wish that Phraseology had Markdown syntax highlighting. Again, not a deal-breaker, but it would make identifying Markdown markup from regular text easier. These complaints are minor in scope, as they don't significantly hinder my usage of Phraaseology, but they are complaints nonetheless. My hope is that Greg will address these issues soon. As for accessibility, the aforementioned quibbles regarding Phraseology's lower contrast and Markdown syntax highlighting are the only things that hamper Phraseology's accessibility. As a visually impaired user, having the controls be higher contrast would enable me to more easily and quickly identify them, saving my eyes from excess strain. (As well, the word and character counters could stand to be higher contrast too.) Likewise, Markdown syntax highlighting. would be an accessibility win for me insofar that having the markup be unique in its display (color, etc) would make it instantly discernable for me, as its higher contrast would make it stand out against niormal text. This is one reason why I most of the time prefer Editorial, because it uses blue and gray shading to denote Markdown syntax. It's really helpful, not only in identification but also when inserting links. Overall, though, I have found Phraseology's Accessibility to be good. Even with the issues I outline above, they're not damning enough so as to prevent me from using the app. As I said, this piece is being written in the app without a significant amount of friction. But, as with any creative endeavor, there's always room for improvement.
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I've very much enjoyed my time testing Phraseology 2. It's a well done, feature-rich app that integrates well with Agile Tortoise's other apps, Drafts and Terminology. The iOS 7 redesign is great, and I have no problem recommending it to anyone in want of a top-notch iOS text editor.