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(Archived) Evernote Ver 5 Does NOT Adhere to "Form Follows Function"



  • Level 5*

I have posted in various thread concerning the design of Evernote Ver 5 (Mac and iOS) that, IMO, Evernote does NOT adhere to the age-old design best practice that "Form Follows Function".

Based on both Evernote employee response in these forums, as well as statements by the Evernote Chief Designer, Gabe Compodonico, is seems clear to me that Evernote either just doesn't get it, or has chosen intentionally to not follow this best practice.

So, I want to present some very specific examples, starting with EN iPad Ver 5, that clearlly illustrate that EN has chosen to have a "beautiful, cool, world renown" UI over providing the basic functionality that their users need and depend on each and every day.

Example #1: Display of Note Lists/Results

EN has chosed to provide ONLY Note lists as large thumbnails, which limit to showing only about 12 Notes per screen.

This is the view for either "All Notes" or "Search Results".

I get that these big iconic pictures of your Notes looks cool from a pure aesthetic POV, but functionally they are a serious hindrance to finding/selection the note of interest if you have more than 100 notes. IOW, this puts form OVER function.

They chose this view for Ver 5 even though many, many long time users have been requesting for years that EN provide a vertical list of notes that would show 25 or more notes per screen.

For new users, or those that choose to have only a few (< 100) notes, the new thumbnail screen works OK.

But if you have thousands, or tens of thousands, of Notes like most long time users, then 12 Notes/screen is virtually useless.

Here's a screen shot of EN iPad Ver 5.0.0 Note List View for All Notes or Search Results


Example #2: Browsing/Selecting Notes

In EN iPad v4, EN provided a scrollable list of Notes in snippet view on the left panel, while showing the Note contents in the right panel. This made it very easy to scroll through a large list of Notes, selecting the ones of interest.

But with EN iPad v5, there is NO multi-panel view with scrolling Notes. Just the large iconic list of Notes, which, when you select one, it displays a smaller window popup of the Note contents. This may look cool, and even display like some Apple apps, but it definitely puts form OVER function. The main point here is that while the Ver 5 view may be arguably "cooler" than Ver 4, it clearly does NOT offer any improvements in functionality.

Here are the issues with EN iPad v5 Note display:

  1. Does NOT take advantage of the larger iPad screen size, causing the user to have to scroll more to see longer notes
  2. Does NOT support the standard iOS "double-tap" to zoom in on text to make it larger and more readable
  3. Requires more clicks than Ver 4 to view the next Note, or other Notes in the list
  4. When you return to the iconic list of Notes, the user's eye has to scan both left-to-right and down to find the Note is interest. Scanning left-to-right is much harder (for me at least) than just scrolling and scanning down.

Below is a screenshot of EN iPad v5 Note View:


Now view the EN iPad v4 Scrolling Note List and Note View with much better functionality:



Example #3: Access to App Settings

Most iOS apps have followed Apple's lead in using the gear icon to denote access to app settings.

EN iPad v4 followed this iOS design standard.

But for some reason, EN iPad v5 does NOT use the gear icon. In fact, they hid access to App Settings that it took me quite a while of random tapping to find it. It is hidden behind the User Name. This one I really don't get. I don't see anything "cool" or "beautiful" with this design. Oh, I just remembered: EN has this extreme fetish with simplicity. So removing the gear icon "unclutters" the screen. Really?? Hiding the App Settings is yet another example of putting form OVER function.

Here's the EN iPad v5 Settings screenshot:



These are just 3 examples out of many more for EN iPad v5. I will post some example for EN Mac v5 later.

I truly hope these examples will help Evernote designers understand the high importance of always making sure that "Form FOLLOWS Function". EN, if there is any doubt in your collective minds, please do some research on this topic. There are lots of examples today with both web site design and app design where this best practice is NOT followed.

Too many UI designers today get hung up on creating the next greatest, coolest, most beautiful UI, when they should be putting their energy and talents into creating the worlds most intuitive design. Even some Apple designers have fell into this trap.

Thanks for reading and considering this suggestion.

EDIT: Change link for Chief Designer statement

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  • Level 5*

@Mike:  Lot of bugs reported here: Evernote iOS 5.2.2 Feedback


For example:




on Bug #1: Version 5.2.3 has a tremendous typing lag with / without the

external keyboard. Are other people experiencing this, or is it my


No one else is having the problem, though. That would seem to suggest something wrong on my end, or some uncommon factors affecting performance. Most of the bugs I have reported are minor and inconsequential. Besides the lag, the app has never been in better shape.

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