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Qiqqa competitors

Hi guys

I think you've done a great job with Qiqqa. It's a very good piece of software for academic research. But, as most things in life, Qiqqa is not perfect. I've been using it for a while and I frequently get frustrated, so I spent some time trying to find a replacement for Qiqqa (as I did a couple of years ago, when I looked for a replacement for Endnote and I found Qiqqa). During a couple of weeks I tried the latest versions of 10 of your competitors. I decided to send you this message summarizing what I found, hoping that it would be helpful for you to improve Qiqqa.

I decided to stay with Qiqqa, mostly because:

- Android app: this was really a tiebreaker and I think you should really pay attention to the mobile versions of Qiqqa. These days a lot of work is done 'on the road' and unlike most of your competitors, you have a mobile app of the software that sync libraries, documents and annotations. But if you want to keep this competitive advantage, you should really move forward with mobile apps by improving Android's app (see relevant points below) and developing at least a version for iOS (many academics have a mac and iPads). be advised that several of your competitors have announced they're developing apps for Android and iOS.

- The powerful combinations of annotations, tagging, filtering and searching. The annotations report of an entire library is a unique feature of Qiqqa. You should highlight such feature and how helpful it is (maybe a video focus only on it?). Other software also have annotations and tags, but I think taken the features together, you do it much better (although annotating could be improved a lot, as it works better in other software).

What I found is that Qiqqa faces massive competition out there; Mendeley, Colwiz and ReadCube are very strong competitors (just to mention a few in a huge marketplace). You should really keep an eye on those products and perhaps you can learn from them. Here's some ideas of the things I think you should improve in Qiqqa.

- Mendeley, Colwiz and ReadCube do a much better job in finding reference information for the PDFs than Qiqqa's sniffer. They're much more automatic and accurate.

- PDF rendering is so much faster and smoother in competitors like Mendeley. Also, the text looks much more clear in Mendeley and ReadCube (better contrast and do not get blurry as in Qiqqa).

- Enhanced PDF function from ReadCube is just great. It makes so much easier, faster and insightful reading a paper because you have always at hand the info when the paper cites another article (title and with one click, abstract). In Qiqqa it gets cumbersome to go to references to check which paper is being cited and then back where you were reading (compounded by the fact that PDF rendering in Qiqqa is rather slow, which makes difficult, annoying and sometimes imposible to find parts of the text by quickly scanning the document). Also, with the ReadCube's enhanced PDF function, with one click you get the abstract of the article being cited and sometimes even the full-text.

- Layout is cleaner in competitors. Sometimes this is just because Qiqqa has more features but there are a lot of clutter you could cut from Qiqqa's layout (for example, I've never found useful the duplicates panel in the document view). This point is important because the first time Qiqqa may not be very intuitive, and the first impression matters a lot!. Have a look at ReadCube's layout, for example. It looks really nice and most of the important features and information are at hand.

- Allow tagging highlights as well. As I said before, Qiqqa's sex apeal come from the powerful combination of annotations, tagging, filtering a searching. Why not extend that power to highlights? Boxes with notes and highlights serve different purposes in reading and annotating an article and thus, it would also be helpful to be able to tag the highlights. Some of the competitors allow notes associated to highlights; I think Qiqqa can keep the divide between boxes for taking notes and highlights, but it would be extremely useful to have tagged-highlights.

- A nice feature that I found is attachments. I mean, Qiqqa helps to organize a lot of the research process but you would do it much more effectively if you allow attaching files to entries in a library. For example, sometimes I build a mind-map summarizing the argument and key messages of a paper, but I have to save that mind-map somewhere else (even though I am using Qiqqa's brainstorm feature). When I go back to the article and I want to remember its argument using the mind-map, I have to go and find the file in my hard-drive. Given that the mind-map is associated to a specific article, it would be really nice to attach the mind-map (or any other file specific to the articles) to the liberary's entry so that I can open it directly from Qiqqa.

- Improve Android's app: the app works fine, but it's frustrating not to be able to "highlight sections of text" or "draw ink on your PDF with a pen". These features are a must! highlighting because, ..., well, because highlighting!, ..., and make notes with a pen because this is just the natural way to take notes, specially if you are using a tablet (and perhaps with a stylus).

- Some of the guys from the competition have extensions for the most popular browsers (Chrome, Mozilla) to add documents to the library directly from popular academic web-sites (google scholar, science direct, jstor, pubmed, etc.). That would be nice and much better than the built-in browser that Qiqqa have nowadays (which, by the way, doesn't work really good; it's kind of slow and limited).

- Auto-sync feature. I think Qiqqa have this feature, but it is not reliable. I made changes to my library with auto-sync enabled and I took a train, hoping to keep on working on the article using the mobile app, but the changes were never synchronized. Later I had to manually sync libraries for the changes to reflect in the cloud and other devices.

- This is a really easy one. To put the first author in the tab's title of opened articles. When you have several articles opened sometimes it's really hard to find the one you want because you only get the first words of the article. It's also more natural to locate articles based on the author. So I think it would be a good idea to have as the tab's title first the author and then the title.

- Support and updates. The competitors seem to be very dynamic and quite fast in answering questions in forums and releasing updates. I think you too, but it seems to me you have slowed down. Two years ago when I was trying Qiqqa for the first time, that was a very important decision point for me, because I saw a very active team of developers releasing updates that responded to users' requests. In the forum I've seen less of that. Also, last releases seem to address only minor requests from users. The Android app has not been updated since November, 2012. So, this is just to let you know your competition seems to be working hard on that front and hopefully you strengthen it as well (in one forum I saw one idea that you may find useful; it was sort of a pay per feature; they find a set of popular feature requests and say something like, ok, let's find 100 people that want this feature and would be willing to pay a very small fee for it).

- Finally, in the filtering panel of the library view it would be really useful to differentiate between regular tags (document-tags) and annotations-tags.

Well, sorry for such a long message. Hope it helps. I took the time to write it because I love Qiqqa and I would hate to see Qiqqa be beaten up by the rising competitors.

Best,

Hernando
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  • Qiqqa (Official Rep) March 09, 2014 22:33
    Hernando - you are AWESOME! We have taken a lot of these ideas on board. Hopefully you will see some of them coming out in the next few versions of Qiqqa!
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  • Support and updates. Yes.

    Delete button in sniffer please.

    And right click gives you a MOVE function, not just a save to another library. There are two places I want to do this action. In an open pdf, and in the library view.

    I want to be able to shift stuff around as I tend to want different pdfs in different places once I have begun a new project - what I DON'T want (and presently have) is multiple copies in multiple locations, some marked up and some not.

    Alphabeticised or % organized cross library search. A delete and move option in this screen would also help.

    I just resubscibed for another year guys. Help me out here :-)
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  • Any updates on this guys?, what about the really easy ones like "To put the first author in the tab's title of opened articles"?.
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  • 3
    Hello,
    Hernando's post captured most of the features I would really like to see in Qiqqa. I have started using Qiqqa only a few days ago and I am still hesitating whether to completely shift from Mendeley or not. I see a great potential in Qiqqa. Still, there are some features I would really like to see implemented in Qiqqa (including those mentionned above by Hernando) before making any shift :
    1- Merging tags (e.g. plural/singular, etc.)
    2- Be able to delete autotags (x button) straight from the autotag window
    3- More efficient Bibtext search !!!
    4- All other suggestions above
    I am also surprised by the time it is taking to address the issues reported above by Hernando and other users elswere. 
    Thanks to the Qiqqa development team,
    Samadori
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  • Qiqqa (Official Rep) August 29, 2014 10:21
    Heya Qiqqa Champs - we have some treats for you.  If you download the latest v65 version, the following have been addressed:
    • sniffer has been improved at it's title detection, which makes its auto-bibtex suggestion more reliable
    • author's name is in tab
    • move pdf between libraries
    • bibtex sniffer window is more intuitive and more efficient
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  • 1
    Thx Guys

    Sniffer improvements seem great.

    Author's name in tab is extremely useful!!! (at least for me; I am kinda crazy and usually have MANY tabs opened). It occurs to me that it may also help my weak memory (like when you know that cute little paper that talks about something, but you have no clue as who the author is. Does it happen to you or it is just me?, anyway, author's name in tab helps me to routinely locate the article by its author and hopefully, I will remember it better as well).

    How is it going with "tagged-highlights" and fully functional auto-sync feature for both, desktop and android app?, lol, sorry, perhaps I'm getting greedy after these great treats.

    Many any thanks.
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  • 1
    These are great ideas. I especially would love to be able to tag highlights and have the option to automatically download papers/citations from browsers. Being able to tag highlights would let me generate more efficient annotation reports; in some papers I'm highlighting all relevant information, but only need to cite certain pieces for a given project. I could use different highlighting colors, but I re-use cites in so many different ways/projects that it seems impractical to generate a single highlight scheme that could work across projects.
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    Thanks guys - all the new additions of late have made Qiqqa far quicker and functional in ways that revolutionise my work. Really appreciated.
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  • 1
    Can you PLEASE add icons according to reference type instead of having a PDF icon for everything!? This would make content much easier to browse if you knew at a glance that a reference/title is a book, thesis, article, etc. (e.g. like Zotero manages).
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  • Hernando/others: workaround for the attachment problem (arguably obvious but just in case): at the top of the doc add a post it with the full path to the file name so you can paste it directly into e.g. windows explorer, e.g.:

    "Mindmap here: C:\Users\Me\Dropbox\Work\Papers\Whatever\Subfolder\mindmap.doc"
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  • I’m sad and frustrated
    5
    Hi Qiqqa guys, ..., it's me again.

    Two years ago a wrote this post, I said "I would hate to see Qiqqa be beaten up by the rising competitors".

    Sadly, now I have to say that it is happening.

    Competitors such as ReadCube have made huge progress. For example, ReadCube's mobile app (android, iphone/ipad and web) is nowadays superior to Qiqqa's, both in design and functions. Meanwhile, Qiqqa's Android app has not been updated since Nov. 22, 2012. Perhaps you think Qiqqa web is an alternative. Unfortunately, it is not!.

    Although you have attended some of the users' request, such as improving sniffer, in most others you are lagging behind. For example, you are light years away from ReadCube's enhanced PDFs. Most of the competitors have extensions for the most popular browsers. .

    Perhaps it's like someone said here (https://getsatisfaction.com/qiqqa/top...), that the frequency of updates is a "symptom of a broken business model". You replied arguing that it is not. That "Qiqqa has been built to be a completely sustainable business model". But your understanding of sustainability seems to be only that revenue >= expenses and no debt, regardless of your user base. As I see it, if your user base is dimishing, even though your cost-structure allows you to keep revenue >= expenses, the model is not sustainable. You really need to keep up with the market in terms of functionality and innovation, if you truly want Qiqqa to be a sustainable product.
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  • 2
    I agree with hernando. I uninstalled the Qiqqa app from my phone this weekend. It served no real purpose. (I really only wanted to be able to edit basic Bibtex - correcting the journal title, etc - because that seems like a nice bite-sized task I could do on my phone while waiting in line or on the bus. But, that didn't even seem to be an option.) The lack of usability on mobile devices is one of the primary reasons some of my colleagues have eschewed Qiqqa for other reference management software.

    I still appreciate using Qiqqa to collect and organize information when I write papers, but I'm less impressed with the new features with each new release. In addition to a better mobile option, I'm still hoping for the following features:

    *Tagging highlights
    *Being able to lock tabs in place or re-arrange them in relation to other tags
    *Browser extensions for importing papers (like Endnote and Zotero have)
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  • I’m sad
    1
    It's sad to see Qiqqa stagnating. Quantisle are under-funding a slam dunk winner. Be the best at just one thing, not second best at 10.

    Woe is me.
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  • 1
    yeah, it is really really sad. They have a very good and promising piece of software. But something must have gone wrong and now they do not even monitor this forum and care to reply. I personally will probably switch to ReadCube. It's far from perfect, but they are doing a very good job with mobile apps (Android, iPhone and Web), good annotations, good and clean app layout and very nice features such as enhanced PDFs.
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  • yes, I uninstalled ReadCube a couple of years ago, but with a heavy heart am watching the video again right now.
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