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Do one thing well

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I'm just posting this here in case the Evernote dev team sees these posts. Just for reference, I'm using the most up to date versions at the time of writing, on macOS and iOS - but the issue I'm highlighting has been going on for a long time.

I've been an Evernote user for ten years and have recommended this application to everyone. I basically 'live' in Everynote. The application is pretty much open all day, every day, and I manage everything through it, and my calendar.

I've noticed in the recent period of time that the basic functionality - writing, organising, and accesing notes - has gotten worse. I'm impressed that the Evernote team have expanded the functionality to include things like notebooks, and even scanning images to make them searchable, and so on, but none of this is the one thing Evernote is supposed to do well: Write, organise, and access notes.

Here are some of my frustrations as a long-time user:

  • I've found syncing between my iOS device and my desktop causes 'conflicts' almost every time. I never risk using it, which is a shame because this was previously a brilliant feature that I would have wished to count on. Now I leave additional notes on my phone and merge them manually on my desktop.
  • If I search Evernote, I can't press CMD+A to select all of the text from a previous search. I have to use the mouse to select the previous search text and delete it or wait while I backspace several times.
  • When I create a new note, the cursor is in the content section of the note, not the title. So what? You might think... But it means every note is called 'Untitled' unless I manually move the cursor to the Subject box and type one in. Very often, my notes are just a few words and the subject is all I need. At least let me specify where the cursor will begin in a preference.
  • Speaking of preferences, where are the preferences for the desktop client?
  • Syncing on the desktop is supposed to happen continuously but doesn't. It doesn't happen continuously on my phone either. This means I often discover I have notes with no content popping up and the 'Sync Now' option seems to have been completely removed from the desktop version. I presume your devs work next to an internet node but most people have a slightly slower connection. Please give me back the sync now option.
  • If I select an existing note and press Tab using the desktop app, the 'Expand Note' button is highlighted. Why on earth would I want to do that with the Tab key? Clearly I want to edit the contents of the note...
  • Often, when I add a URL (which is often) to a note, I get a massive unwated preview that attempts to play videos inside the note - too small to view the video properly and too large to sit conveniently inside the note as a preview of the contents. At least give me the option to choose whether links will be added as a preview. But as I mentioned... Where are the preferences? Yes, I know, I can convert the preview back to a link - something that I have to do manually using my mouse. Why would any user always want a preview embedded in a note? Why on earth is this the default (and unchangeable) behaviour? My best guest is that your devs wanted to show the feature off. That's fine - let me disable it too.

I don't, personally care about tags, embedded images, notebooks, integration with other applications, live shared notebooks, or any other advanced functionality that has been added to Evernote.

I care about Evernote doing ONE THING REALLY WELL. This was the case in the past but I am so frustrated by the many little, but impactful, issues with the basic functionality that I'm now looking for an alternative. Many people say positive things about Onenote. I don't want to migrate my thousands of notes to another system but I'm frustrated, every day, several times a day, but these many little kinds of 'unthink' by the team developing Evernote.

If you could just make Evernote perform really well as a text note system, it would be wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm still a fan, just a disappointed one.

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Hi.  Poor old Evernote can't seem to get a break these days...

  • Users complained that their notes in iOS looked 'different' than the same notes on the Web, so Evernote introduced en editor that - necessarily - was limited to the best features (and fonts) that worked on all operating systems.  Notes started to look the same!  And users complained that they wanted their fonts and features back...
  • Users went mad for 'dashboards' - one place to show notes and links and 'to-do' items and somewhere from which to generally run their lives. So Evernote created Home Pages to save users the effort of setting up a dashboard system.  And users complained that Evernote was just wasting resource on unnecessary bells and whistles.
  • Users wanted to have the same 'look & feel' in the app on all operating systems - the same menus and the same features on all devices.  So Evernote adopted "Electron" a packaging system that enables exactly that - and everyone complained that things now run too slowly and they want their old speed back!
  • And - get ready - "To Do's" are in beta ready to be released on an unsuspecting world.  Wonder what the Evergensia will make of that!

Evernote is,  I'm sure,  doing its level best to satisfy the demands of more users than most countries have people.  (Only Apple, Facebook and similar mega-corps have more!)  That old saying about camels being horses designed by committee is very true.  I think in Henry Ford's day,  they just wanted bigger horses...

Not knocking your request - I am not using,  and will not use the 'new' Evernote until it shows signs of being as good as the old one,  Meantime I'm sticking with EN Windows 6.25 and Android 8.13 which work... as well as they always did...  but at least I know what I'm getting.  You might want to try the Legacy version again,  just to see if that helps with the frustration level - if and when Evernote decide to shut those servers down,  you'll be able to judge whether to update,  or to migrate.


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I take your point - it's difficult to keep up with user demands and sometimes new features take a while to 'find their feet' and work with reassuring certainty. Still, I'm not criticising the implementation of any new features. I'm questionning the decision to forego the most basic functionality: The reason people adopt a notes application in the first place.

You mentioned users complainning that their notes used different fonts on different platforms. I don't mind about that at all. For me, that's not a basic functionality issue, it's a poor implementation issue. If the app is capable of using the same font by default on all platforms, why not configure it to behave that way? It just seems naive to me to set default fonts differently on different platforms. Of course that is going to confuse users.

You mentioned users wanting dashboards. Fine, have dashboards. Just don't force all users to use them.

You mentioned users wanting the same look at feel all all OS's but that this took up more system resources. I'm OK with the app using more resources but should note that syncing offline notebooks is SO slow that it takes days. In fact, I have completely given up waiting after weeks of watching my iOS notebooks seemingly do nothing while syncing. Still now, even those notebook that are synced don't show the note previews when the phone is offline and I have to open each note to see a preview of its contents. I want a note taking application that will store all notes both online and offline, and works well offline. Almost all of my notes are pure text - no weighty graphics, video clips, or audio files. For me, this is basic functionality. Imagine a calendar app that only sometimes synced, didn't display event entry contents properly, produced duplicate conflicting events on different devices, and took weeks to sync. Never mind dashboards, sync my notes.

You mentioned "To Do's". Fine, feel free to add them - but once again, don't force me to use them.

The one thing I would like Evernote to do well is be a note taking application that syncs between devices. I want this solution to be elegant, stable, and fast. Everything else is an "extra".

There are other weird choices I think the Evernote team have made - and again, this isn't an issue with the functionality or a bug, it's just a weird management decisions. Now, on my macOS desktop, there's an Evernote menu item that I can't get rid of. I NEVER use it, and I never want it. It's just cluttering up my menu bar. I get it - it's great that people can click and quickly add notes - thanks for the option. But forcing me to have a menu bar item is just a weird decision by the management. Leave me alone - let's record my notes, and make all additional functionality optional.

That's my ask.

Thanks for responding!

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Just so we're clear - this is a (mainly) user-supported Forum and I'm just another user with opinions.  I pretty much agree with you about all of the above - but sadly Evernote wants to please its customers.  Of course there's a well known phrase or saying about the general impossibility of pleasing all of the customers all of the time.  Guess we'll just have to hope that when they crunch the final numbers,  the Legacy apps will remain as an 'opt out' for bells and whistle haters!  ;)

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5 hours ago, Mojaximus said:

I care about Evernote doing ONE THING REALLY WELL.

Would that One Thing also need to be multi-platform   
Personally, I'm a Mac user, with IOS as supplemental and web as backup

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