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(Archived) Lessons To Be Learned from Skitch 2.0 Disaster

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Reader Advisory: This is an opinion post, my opinion. I expect there will be a wide variety of opinion on this topic.

In case you haven't noticed, all hell is breaking out over the massive changes Evernote made to the latest version of Skitch:

See forum topic Skitch 2.0 - Mac to see the angry complaints.

There are 74+ posts in less than 3 days from Skitch users -- ALL negative and ALL very upset by the changes Evernote has made to Skitch.

Also, many of the reviews are negative. Here are a couple:

Skitch 2.0 is like Skitch 1.0 without all those pesky "features"

When Updates Make Things Worse: Evernote's Skitch 2.0 ...

So, what lessons does Evernote need to learn from this experience?

  1. Evernote, you are not nearly as smart as you think you are.
  2. Evernote, you do NOT always know what's best for your users (without asking them)
  3. The design philosophy of "we build what we need for ourselves" doesn't always work, especially when you have tens of millions of users. No matter how smart you are, a small group in internal people can't fully anticipate the needs of large numbers of users without a lot of feedback and real end-user testing.
  4. Don't be so quick to dismiss feedback from your users just because you think you are smarter and know better. Sometimes, if you don't get your users feedback, it may be because you're not smart enough to see it without some serious thought.
  5. One of the hardest things for developers to do is truly put themselves in the place of normal, average users
  6. Reconsider your philosophy that fewer options is better, just to keep the UI simple. It is possible to have BOTH a clean, uncluttered UI AND many options.

None of this is meant to imply that you should not be innovative or not consider bright new ideas others have not.

Please do continue to innovate.

But don't forget that the process of innovation is filled with failures.

Therefore, you must thoroughly test your concepts, long before you release them into production, not only within your company, but also with a broad range of real end-users.

Evernote, you've done this before. Like when you moved from EN Win 3.5 to 4.0. Ver 4 was in private alpha and beta, and then public beta, long before it became the released version.

I know you can do it again, and be both innovative and successful.

All of this is, of course, just my opinion. But it is shared with the best interests of Evernote and Evernote Users in mind. The Evernote concept is brilliant, and I rely on it daily. I think many felt the same way about Skitch. I just want to do what I can to ensure the main Evernote app doesn't follow the path of Skitch 2.0.

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