Three apps by indie hackers that are changing the world

Three apps by indie hackers that are changing the world

Last week I posted a message on Indie Hackers offering to review members' web apps.

The idea was I would spend a small amount of time checking out their app or landing page, and offer my opinion in a "mini-review".

I know that there is some real gold being created by indie hackers, and that getting coverage is tough, so I thought writing a short review, posting to social media, etc. might be of interest.

Selfishly, I also wanted some interesting topics to write about, since I am trying to exercise my writing skills, having written nothing but { code } for the last twenty years.

An overwhelming response

A couple of hours later I checked back and had received 24 requests.

It looks like I've got my work cut out!

I won't be able to write a review for everyone but will try to get around to do as many as I can.

For each review I created an account (where necessary) and spent around fifteen minutes "kicking the tyres" and seeing what the deal was behind each app.

Because I want to support the creators I generally focussed on the good stuff rather than the shortcomings. But, frankly, the quality has been so high there are very few of those.

Retweets and follows would help spread the word about what's being created on Indie Hackers today!

Let's get stuck in.

Notabase

Note-taking apps have been undergoing a bit of a renaissance recently, and the stand-out trend in recent years has been "connected" or "graph" editors.

Unlike regular editors such as Evernote and OneNote, graph-based editors allow you to link your thoughts across different pages and offer bi-directional navigation between them.

Roam Research and Obsidian are two of the biggest names in the space and have gathered a considerable following. However, navigating between the pages is not always obvious, and the content of linked pages is only viewable one page at a time or via tabs - if you get the keyboard combination right.

Notabase's differentiator is that it handles linked pages in a truly elegant way.

Clicking a link slides the second page in from the right. If you click a link in the second page the third page subsequently slides in from the right. And so on.

In addition, each page's footnotes has references to it's corresponding links in the other pages.

Altogether it makes navigation and reviewing the pages much more intuitive and looks really great on an super-wide monitor.

The three Star Wars movies. The three that matter, anyway.

Notabase looks and feels more like Notion than Roam or Obsidian, so it might be a better choice for Notion users looking to transition.

It's currently free during alpha and a paid tier will be added in the future. It's also open source and available on GitHub so you can self-host, along with a public roadmap.

Why you should check it out: Notabase brings structure to your documents, and does it quicker and faster than anywhere else. It's use of footnotes and page stacking makes it the best and easiest choice for working across multiple pages. Created by Richard Chu on Indie Hackers.

SiteGuru

Achieving a high ranking on Google is essential for customers to be able to find your website.

Your site has to conform to dozens of rules, be fast loading, be properly formatted and not contain any broken links. Google counts any transgressions of these rules as a strike against it, so it's important to know what these rules are and know how to ensure your site doesn't break them.

Fortunately SiteGuru has extensive knowledge of these rules and can instantly analyse your website to see how well behaved it is. This process is call search engine optimization (SEO) and SiteGuru makes it super easy.

You simply tell SiteGuru the address of your website and set it about it's business. After a minute or two you receive a report containing a full breakdown of your site and any problems it has.

My report for Beelist. Looks like I've got a busy weekend ahead of me :-(

SiteGuru even links to your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, so you can get keyword and ranking intelligence straight from the Big G itself.

Once you have burned down your to-do list of fixes, you can schedule automatic weekly checks to keep on top of things going forward.

Why you should check it out: There a dozens of rules that your website needs to conform to. Some are obvious but others are not, so it's better not to leave anything to chance.

SiteGuru carefully analyses your site against all rules, making it super easy to fix breakages, and keeps a constant eye on changes to your site in case anything crops up in the future. Created by Rick van Haasteren on Indie Hackers.

Think Out Loud

The first product I'm reviewing is, somewhat ironically, designed to get users feedback on websites and apps.

Think Out Loud makes it easy for product and site owners to create user tests.

For example, you may want to test how easy it is for a user to sign-up for your website, or whether they get confused and click away.

Think Out Loud lets you create a welcome message and instructions for your user to follow, and gives you a link to send so they can easily find your test.

When the user clicks the link they see your welcome message and instructions and a big red record button which records their screen and voice.

The user is then encouraged to verbalise their thoughts whilst carrying out the instructions.

Once completed the video is sent back to the site owner for them to review. You can then examine how the user used your site and identify any roadblocks they encountered trying to complete the instructions.

Why you should check it out: User testing is an important step in making sure your website is usable by users in the way you intended.

In the past this has often needed close supervision of the user, which can be expensive and difficult to coordinate.

Think Out Loud let's you perform user testing remotely and at a time convenient to you and the user.

Created by Jim Zarkadas and Scott on Indie Hackers. It's launching soon and has a waiting list for early users.

Summing Up

I hope these mini-reviews give a glimpse into the types of projects that Indie Hackers are working on.

Indie Hackers (the site) is stacked full of creative and resourceful founders who are focussed on creating innovative, high quality solutions to real world problems.

I hope you enjoyed these quick mini-reviews. Follow me on Twitter for more!