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Some constructive feedback on the new update, with pictures





First time post for me.  I am creative director of an indie game developer called Introversion Software, and I have been using Penultimate for quite some time now.  I absolutely love it, and regularly sketch out user interfaces and dialogs using a pen.  I also sometimes take notes, or add notes to existing drawings.  Sketches and drawings are often emailed to teammates as a direct guide for what I want them to implement in our latest game. It's been fantastic.


Today I ran the newly updated version for the first time.  To say that I was disappointed would be a huge understatement.  


But one thing I do a lot of at Introversion is write feedback for developers on my team.  So rather than adding to the many complaints already posted, I thought it would be more useful if I wrote some detailed notes here about how I use Penultimate, and why the new version means I can't use Penultimate anymore.  Hopefully somebody at Evernote/Penultimate will read this post and use the information to think about improvements that let me start using this great app once again.


Here are a couple of user interface mockups that I'd used Penultimate for previously.  I was so happy with these ones I even tweeted them out to our followers at the time.




These mockups now show up in portrait mode, rotated 90 degrees wrongly.  No matter what angle I hold the ipad at, the image is always at the wrong angle.  This is because the new version doesn't support landscape pages.  I can't believe I am actually writing that!  


To quote the Penultimate site:

Can I view pages in landscape / lengthwise format?
No, Penultimate pages are in portrait format.


Well that's nice, except mine aren't, as you can see above.


Maybe that's a bug, maybe it's intended.  But in case it's not clear, I don't really use Penultimate in portrait mode, and I don't really write on an endless stream of paper.  I need a contained bounded landscape shaped rectangle, in which to draw screen layouts.  I don't want one screen layout to blend into the next.  A single page in a notebook, used in landscape mode, is/was perfect.


I also really need to be able to zoom in.  The zoom box in the new version - I don't even know what that is supposed to be for.  Handwriting I guess?  I never handwrite with Penultimate.  I need to zoom in so I can add small details to the drawing.  I personally always thought Penultimate's solution to Zooming was very elegant, ie showing the full page image semi transparently.


In the previous version I also had a lovely set of thumbnails within each notebook, showing all of the pages laid out nicely.  At a glance I could spot one of the drawings like the ones above, tap on it, and be viewing it.  In the new version, all of my drawings and notes have been thrown together in a giant scroll, some at the wrong viewing angle, with absolutely no way to quickly navigate.  I am expected to use the new two-finger scroll to navigate, which is currently quite unreliable and often results in adding lines by accident.  


Undo must always be available.  Even in the old version of Penultimate, it was easy to accidentally add a small line or delete some content whilst trying to pan or zoom.  Being able to quickly and reliably click UNDO made that problem much less of a problem, and I always blamed the ipad rather than Penultimate.


In the new version, I added some vertical lines by accident whilst trying to get the hang of the new two-finger scrolling.  The toolbar was minimised at the time, so I clicked on the tick button to try to reveal the (now) hidden interface.  The tick and the current tool icon are right next to each other, so it was an easy mistake.  The tick button, rather than revealing the undo button, commits the change and even uploads it to evernote's cloud servers, writing the accidental new line permanently into the cloud.  It then closes the document!  When I re-opened the document, the undo history was empty. So in a few clicks I'd failed to scroll, written over a document irreversibly, and uploaded the change to the cloud.


I don't have an image sample to hand, but I would often take screenshots from my current game, then import them into Penultimate and draw over them.  This was  a super quick way to annotate images or add new user interface elements.  In the new version, imported images don't behave at all well - just resizing them to fit the width of the page seems to be impossible.


That's all the feedback I have.


I can't fault you for wanting to keep the app fresh and up to date.  And I can always forgive bugs - they just happen.  But swapping the current version for what amounts to an entirely new app with its own set of bugs and new paradigms is the one thing I cannot forgive.  I think it's bad form to make such a drastic change to a popular app, without warning, and without any going back.  


If I thought it would make any difference, I would beg you to re-instate the previous version, whilst this new iteration is taken back to the drawing board in what I can only assume is going to be weeks of re-working.  In the mean time, I really miss this great app.  I think what you have done here is made a *prototype* for Penultimate II, and it's not quite ready for release yet.  I think everyone would be delighted if you renamed this new version Penultimate II, and re-instated the old version.  If that isn't an option, re-releasing the previous version as Penultimate Classic - even if it was unsupported, would be a welcome move.  With time, people will move over to the new version of the app, when it's ready.  

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Can you please get one thing in your mind, evernote?


I, and all the other disgruntled users have selected penultimate because it fits what I do, and I they do it. In the pre-buying selection process `I had tested many note-keeping apps, and penultimate turned out to be the best to my needs. Like separate pages (I sometimes present direct from my notes in penultimate), thumbnail pages which you can sort like slides, etc


If I, or the other posed-off users, would like something else, I would have selected another app alltogether to start with. So give me back what the old penultimate does, and make minor bugs-repair or alterations to BASICALLY the functions that made me select penultimate.


Can you ask me before an update, and not do it out of your own accord. Can you help me get back the lost notes?

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  • Level 5

Thank you for your thoughtful and constructive feedback. This helps a lot - especially detailing how you inadvertently added a line to note and inadvertently saved it while trying to open the menu to find undo.


We released too soon, and we realized that too late.


We're actively working on improvements and plan to send an update to the App Store for review tomorrow. You can read A Note on Penultimate for more details, but tomorrow version will include the following changes:


  • The drift feature returns with scroll speeds that match your writing speed
  • The zoom box will be resizable
  • Introduction of a sliding tray within a note to let you jump to specific sections easily
  • The ability to insert a page above or below
  • The ability to clear and delete a full page
  • Adding page breaks and page numbers
  • Note titles will be turned on by default (you can turn them on manually now)

I believe many of these will help you.


However, landscape support will follow shortly.


The team welcomes your feedback, and we're striving to fix as many issues as possible as soon as possible.



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