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[REQUEST] Revised Card view or a separate Gallery view for images



I have shared my grievances with the way the thumbnail / card view kept changing with each of the recent releases in the EN Mac v.6 thread, but I didn’t provide much of an input on how it could possibly change to get better. I felt that thread wasn’t a proper place for that, so I’m starting a new one.

To be honest, I’m struggling to imagine a use case that the current card view would be perfect for. It’s pretty, it looks organised, it maybe even works somewhat for some people, but can it be said ‘this is a problem, and this card view solves it in great way’? Maybe it can. I will not take it on myself to know best for everyone. But in my own experience the snippet view is more comfortable for about anything containing both imagery and text, while the card view is simply not adequate for browsing notes that contain images alone. It used to work well in earlier versions of EN but then it started going downhill and never stopped.
As someone who designs, draws, takes photos and is in the process of renovating the house, I collect a lot of reference, inspiration and stock images and have a lot of uses for them. While my experience is obviously not all-encompassing and universal, it’s probably relevant enough to be heard and taken into consideration. So here are few things I observed as an image-collecting user of Evernote:
1) Titles of the image notes have very little importance
When I’m looking for an image, I'm looking for colors, shapes, recognisable layouts and details. Text is the last thing the eye recognises. It’s useful for performing a search, it’s important for verifying the right image was found, it provides additional information about the image, but during the scanning process itself it’s a major distraction, at least in the current implementation where a glaringly white block easts 1/3 of the picture. It would be much more comfortable if the title was subdued or removed completely until the item is clicked for getting further information.
2) Cropping an image is a very bad idea
You never know what I save the image for and no algorithm can ensure that important part remains visible. I save an interior picture because of a nice chair, you crop out the chair in the preview and I have one hell of a time clicking on random images trying to find it again. I take a screenshot of the site and remember the header as a way of getting back to it, you show me the middle of the content zone in the preview, and the middles of the content zones of a lot of sites look exactly the same. I save a bunch of similar looking stock photos and decide that I need one of the portrait-oriented ones, you cut all of them to a square, then leave 2/3 of it, so there’s no way to tell which ones are in portrait and which ones are in landscape, I’m back to clicking again. This cropping business never fails to frustrate me.
3) Resizing is a big deal
I have a lot of images. And sometimes I need to scan a big bunch of them to find that one I remember. This is when I need as many thumbs on the page as I can get. Other times I have few selected images that I need to compare or see the detail of, so it’s important to see them close enough. Images aren’t text. You can’t find one acceptably readable size that would fit all. An image can contain 1 letter or few pages of text. Ability to resize is essential. Evernote had it. Mac OS Finder still has it, so do most applications that deal with imagery. Removing it was a big blow to my sanity.
4) Background needs to stay in the background 
Most popular image and photo editing applications have a dark interface or the ability to customise it. Majority of images aren’t black, and dark background helps them to stand out quite a bit as opposed to the light one that tends to mix with the images and titles while scrolling and causes a lot of eye strain. There are images that benefit from the light background but for most mid to deep grey does a much better job. It’s also much more soothing for the eye.
These are the points I consider most important and surprisingly Evernote had all of them implemented at some point but then decided to take all of them away for reasons unknown to me. If these features were simply put back in, Evernote would be an adequate tool for image collecting again. Version 3 worked. Here are a couple of other interfaces that I wouldn’t mind EN to take inspiration from: one, two.
There are few more features that weren’t there before and would be a cherry on the top:
5) Smart folders (or anything that solves the ‘lifetime library’ vs ‘single project’ issue)
This one would be useful for all types of notes, but I found the lack of existing solution to be a particular pain with images. Inspiration, stock and reference are collected to be used. But when the time to use them on a project comes, it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to manage. Creating copies of everything will accumulate into immense waste. Search is a very awkward way to jump between different sets of images, even if one completes the quest of finding how to save one. There is no hierarchy, no way to attach it to particular project for current and future use. Tags are also not the best solution. The problem with images is, they do not have a searchable body. So if you want to later find a picture of ‘a girl in a pink dress with flower pattern holding red and blue balloons’, you have to describe all key points in tags. When you deal with images a lot, tags end up becoming a purely descriptive / search tool. Using them for organisation becomes impossible. There needs to be an intuitive and convenient way of gathering the library and then picking a set of images from it for particular project without moving or duplicating them.
6) Auto tagging
Image orientation, size category, dominant colors – these are properties that would not be hard for Evernote to detect (other apps do it, Colorstache did it for Evernote library). Of course the user can add all of those by hand with many hours of manual labor, but it could be one of those little ways for the company to show it cares.
7) Full site screenshot from web clipper
Current viewport is just not enough. Exercises with printing to PDF are hardly an efficient workflow. This is an age old problem and something Skitch could do before you bought and improved it.
I was your non-premium user for quite a while. For my web clipping and text note purposes the free account was more than enough. It’s when I discovered the perks of collecting images with Evernote that the increased traffic suddenly became an initiative to upgrade. Once again, I don’t know your statistics, neither I know reasoning of your other paying customers, but logic tells me that users that store a lot of images, audio notes and PDFs in their accounts are pretty much guaranteed to pay you. I find it a bit puzzling that on your way from version 3 to version 6 you’ve managed to make image collecting this much harder.
Is there any hope left? Despite the title of the thread, I’m not really asking to drastically change the card view. That would be taking away something people use and probably love, which rarely is a good idea. But could you consider adding some kind of gallery view that would make viewing the image notes bearable again? Yosemite's cover flow background would work just fine. Non-cropped images in thumbs and ability to resize them is also an Apple way.
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+1 for a gallery view. I remember it being available for iOS in some version...maybe that was version 3 you are talking about? I wasn't a Premium member then. I am now. It would be adorable to get that 'feature' back again as it would indeed be a great improvement for photos/images/sketches/... in Evernote.

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