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Rob Parker

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About Rob Parker

  1. Dear Evernote Developers I'll put my hand up and make a point about e-mail, then about UI, as this is the place to do it right? ================== For a lot of people that have not discovered Evernote, they use e-mail as a sort of 'crude Evernote'. They refer to their e-mail to refer to information that others have e-mail to them, they have e-mailed to themselves, refer to pictures, dates, appointments, research, diagrams, links from past communications. It could even be argued that Evernote is a sort of E-mail 2.0, in the sense that Evernote is an evolution of E-mail in that it not only lets us send research and information to others, Evernote lets us 'send' and 'keep' information resources for ourselves. Anybody with an interest in computer networking would understand that the E-mail protocol (informally speaking) is one of the oldest and widespread protocols of the Web, and it is amazing that it actually continues to exist today, despite the various security threats and modern networking protocols that have developed in recent years. Having said that, the ubiquity of e-mail in the modern workplace and personal home space is truly global. I have rice farmer relatives in rural Philippines that do not own a computer, yet they possess (and use) an e-mail address. Do you see the point I am making? E-mail is -still- important. To have a readily accessible button in Evernote to share an Evernote Note with someone that does not have Evernote provides a bridge to convey information to those that do not have Evernote. They do not have Evernote. They may never have Evernote. A lot of my clients do not have Evernote and I do not expect them to. Interesting to note, this is a two way street. Power users will note that they have a special 'Evernote E-mail Address' that they can e-mail notes to, and it will be added to their Evernote database automatically. So you can see that on some level, there is a two way mechanism that was designed into Evernote to both input, and to output information via the E-mail protocol. I am sure that many (all) users see that removing the button to share a note by e-mail, and relegating it to an ostensibly hidden, (or hidden away) method seems to deprecate the above fact that Internet mail is still the protocol of choice for sharing information between people on the Internet. To replace that button with a proprietary network chat program has three effects. 1) It makes me waste time trying to find an essential feature which has been hidden away. It was there. Now it is gone. 2) I cannot customise the button I see so that I can put it back. So to recap, it was there. Now it is gone. I cannot put it back. 3) The two points above make me wonder what kind of hubris would make a company think that forcing me to use a proprietary chat program would be better than e-mail, which, face it, is a global standard. Now, this is just e-mail. Jackalicious, thank you for clarifying that Evernote has "no plans to remove the email note feature". However, the fact that "we have deprecated it", despite the above makes me pause and wonder about what kind of corporate direction has been given to the designers and coders, so that this change would be directed from on high. I would not be surprised if at Evernote Headquarters, everyone uses Evernote and thinks that a chat program is wonderful. Sure. If everyone is working in a large corporate environment (cubicle farm perhaps) where it is faster to bypass e-mail and talk to each other by Evernote ... However, the rest of us -do not- live in Evernote land. Try as hard as you might, and as much as the CEO might like, you cannot force feed us changes like this. This is a little change. Perhaps someone will reply, saying 'oh, nothing has changed, it is still there'. But it is little changes in course direction that make me wonder whether Evernote is arbitrarily deciding for their users, instead of listening to their users. UI - Readability - Grey Text on White ===================================== Noting that later editions of version 5 have 'deprecated' the email note button, I suppose I should not have been surprised that more drastic directions were afoot. I should not have been surprised to find the UI had been drastically changed. My e-mail has exploded with criticism of the uncomfortable, grey on white, minimalist interface. I have already gone on the record to say that I frankly, along with the (uncomfortably true) majority of posters (and a lot of them new posters that found their way here specifically to comment) have reacted, and then responded negatively to the new design from a readability standpoint. I understand that criticism can be expressed diplomatically and constructively, or harshly and emotionally. The fact is however, criticism is criticism, and I hope that there is some deep discussion back at HQ about how to better incorporate the changes Evernote feels it wants to make, with the practical requests for readability, usability, legibility, and customisation (at least, to some extent) to show that however big Evernote might be in confidently trying to incorporate new features, it can still humbly listen to its users and accomodate, if not make the users, their priority. I note that it has been said that there are budgetary considerations that prevent customisation. That makes me smile. How hard can it be to provide a 'classic Evernote' color scheme that allows those that use the v5 look to keep doing so (in v6)? (and keeps those who love 'new things' chugging along in their all grey and white world of v6) How hard can it be to provide an 'accessibility option that makes headings larger and provides distinct zones of colour for the different areas of the screen'? How hard can it be to provide a small amount of customisation for the buttons in various areas, such as in Omnifocus or Curio so I could decide whether I want my buttons on my notes to be either 'send by e-mail' or 'send by chat' or even none or both? The resources needed to make the above possible ... hmmm ... do you really think that it would be better to spend those resources on adding sexy new features? Ah yes, there are many many many things that have been going on 'under the hood' that us users do not know about and are not giving Evernote enough credit for. ... to which I say, if you bothered to re-write the entire program, or at least significant amounts of code for version 6, why could the above not have been done? Nightstalker has made the point, I think, that towing the corporate line that the UI change to version 6 is because of Apple Yosemite, and 'we are not going back' (to paraphrase) is trying to shift the criticism towards Yosemite, and Apple (correct me if I misread that). I found it interesting that he, and others, have made the point that they are not averse to Yosemite necessarily, but that other apps like Curio seem to have managed to shift to Yosemite, retain their visual identity, update their UI, allow customisation, and still keep users happy. It is not Yosemite, or Apple's fault if you make your UI the way it is, and people react adversely. Version 6 could have been better than version 5. Many are saying it is great on review sites. Review sites are often marketed to those that are looking at a product for the first time. On this forum, you are getting power users that are specifically finding their way here to respond to the design changes. If anyone were to suggest we are an extraordinarily biased sample base is a bit simplistic to me, in fact, I would say that those people that find their way specifically to post here (as I am many are) would be paying premium users from a professional background that wish to dialogue with the Devs. Customers who would be especially suited as guinea pigs testing your software, and our criticism should count for something. I would not raise this (at the risk of it sounding ego-driven) but I am a lawyer. I consider my real job role to be as a 'master of information'. Information flows in and out of my professional and personal workspace and my job is to efficiently, and comfortably organise, sort, process, share (by e-mail), draft, store, archive, edit, adjust, direct, cull, categorise, read, recognise text and picture and pdf information and deal with it. Point is, that is relevant to why I have loved to use Evernote. That is relevant to why I am making an impassioned request for you Evernote developers to listen, and listen hard. As a power user, I thought the later versions of version 5 were FANTASTIC. I have been in touch with an Evernote power user who is in the medical field and he is also a rational, considered person who has a similar view. Version 5 is/was great. Version 6 is ... unusable. Two professionals saying the same thing. But there is more. I recognise I am not special. Take for instance, a coder. A student. An entrepreneur. A builder of websites, or buildings, of businesses, a teacher, a plumber, a carpenter, or even one of the most hardest working persons, a mother with kids. These would all be customers of Evernote that like me, can use Evernote to manage information in this day and age. How is it relevant to us that the new UI is harder to use, hides various features, does not allow customisation (Surely the above categories would have various and different priorities for customising preferred buttons here and there). How come the different ages of your users, some old, new young, not be catered for from a useability perspective in terms of making your UI easy to read. Version 5 surely was. Version 6 surely isn't. I am not even over the age of 30 and I find the new workspace difficult to comprehend compared to version 5. Why the 'one size fits all' approach? Do you think that Mum would have a need for chat instead of e-mail? Get real. Several users have posted screenshots showing how hard it is to comfortably visually delineate within the new grey on white workspace. How many users that 'like' the new UI have put up photos showing how much they like this or that icon? Criticism has been short and long, and many are detailed. Praise has been one or two lines here and there. I actually laughed out loud when someone said that twitter was largely positive about the new design. Twitter. Twitter was largely positive about the magazine spread of Kim Kardashian's 'newly' unveiled posterior. Fact is, people were getting excited about the unveiling of an ass. Perhaps unfair to say apropos, but some might in this case. Being subscribed to this thread, my e-mail has exploded with responses that are scathing of the new UI. Sure there are teething problems, but those are expected when the engine is re-written. What is more tragic is that version 6 was supposed to be -better- then version 5, but many are complaining about the unreadability of the new UI. Fact is, many, most of the responses here (myself included) think version 5 is better than version 6. Customers are taking active steps to revert. Customers are looking for alternatives. I hope that at Evernote HQ, there is some deep thinking going on. As another user 'Laooura'? (forgive me if misquoted) has said, I say myself: "I find myself paying money, and with every update - getting less features" Customers are asking for more a easy to read, customisable, functional, interface. We had most of that with version 5. Version 5 didn't look too bad either. Having tried version 6, I reverted to version 5. Ironically, I felt like I had upgraded.
  2. Thank you JMichael and Nightstalker for advocating on behalf of us users that have difficulty with the new UI - Specifically the readability, legibility, harsh grey on white problems ... Respectfully, I think a lot of trust for paying customers could be restored with more options for customisation of zone colour, or at least, an accessibility theme for clearer text legibility and zone differentiation. I understand that this is particularly a problem if using a pre-yosemite system, so my experience may be exaggerated. I welcome changes that would increase that contrast, because at the moment, white on white was just too distracting that we have had to downgrade, and are reluctant to go any further .... <sigh> It looks like this trend to make the application look fashionable at the expense of legibility has been happening for a while. I specifically found my way here to post my concerns when I updated, and I am saddened to hear that we are being taken for a ride (whether we like it or not) to a new design standard, where it seems that if some of us have concerns about the new modernist look, this is gently discounted because it is, to be frankly, blasphemous as it is 'not according to the new Apple Design Rules'. Rules, which some may argue are being selectively and arbitrarily applied regardless of actual practicality. The latest iteration of En is hard to read. Non-stop. I used to use EN because it was my virtual office. I could scan (Scansnap) my files, and there would be a clearly drawn rectangle of virtual paper that I could see. I could tag. I could deal with in the virtual world. Here is your piece of paper. Right there. Its form has changed. But essentially, it's still there, and it is as easy to read as a piece of paper. In my work, if I drafted an affidavit for a client and decided at the last minute to change the font type to size 6 or 8 and change the color of the text to LIGHT grey (on white paper) ... you think a client, or a judge, or opposing counsel would be happy reading this? Ah yes, and I removed the clips and staples and lines on the tables so everything could just float on glorious sexy white ... hmmm....The reason this does not happen in the real world is obvious and if I need to explain it, I'm staggered ... As for the nice comments implying a rude backlash that is not warranted, what do you expect? A lot of us are not using Evernote as a sort of Pinterest style app for a homemade muffin company, we're using it for business or professional use (which is clearly a direction En seems to want to cater for). We are paying good money and desire a direct way to express our views on this great software. Evernote is not an indy or family company, it is a professional player and can take criticism (I hope), as just another form of feedback to help them to make a better product. To paint those who criticise as rude and therefore irrelevant does a disservice to those who have specifically found their way to this board to communicate their views on these changes, and hopefully, provide specific and civil feedback to help Evernote make a better product. I liked Evernote because the previous interface (En 5 and before) had all the necessary design cues that facilitated an experience where the piece of paper in my hand, a receipt, or a copy of a contract, or an affidavit, or a piece of internet research snipped off the Internet, or a doodle on a napkin, could be scanned, and that piece of paper, or information, could be gently handled and formatted by my distinctive green colored buddy, into the necessary category, and I could see it at a glance where it stood in the hierarchy of things. There were clear borders. The background pane on the left was a firm grounding point for my main categories. The visual cues and size of the fonts provided a legible grounding for my eyes to quickly locate, categorise, and deal with information. This design was good enough to cultivate a trust that my information was just as solid in the Evernote software as it was in my hand. Quite a worthy achievement for something that encourages to throw away paper and trust it to live in the cloud. Now. It seems like all the text in the world is just floating there on one big white canvass... without any clear visual cues, or delineation of borders, and the text is so small and grey on white ... again, there is a reason why professionals do not print grey text on white paper (why would someone uphold such an impractical design decision?). This new design just puts everything on one big white board ... It's ... more ... work ... I cannot even find the customary Evernote green amongst my various windows which is a bit sad. It was distinctive. The new Evernote UI seems to evoke the worst aspects of "the cloud" in that it looks like a cloud. It does not look like I have organised my information, it looks like my real paper documents and snippets have been washed, artificially processed and bleached. It looks like the information has been projected on an actual cloud mass of abstract white and grey that is harsh in its intensity and unforgiving in legibility and readability. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. The latest interface has as much substance as a cloud.
  3. I posted this on the other thread, but thought I would repeat it here since I feel strongly about this. Posted Yesterday, 10:46 PM I am a premium user, like many here. I am downgrading because this interface is much too bright for me. I am not a luddite that arbitrarily criticises change, but in this case I believe there is good reason to ask the developers to reconsider the current scheme, or at least open up the colour scheme to tailored tweaking. I simply must register my concern about the direction Evernote is taking with this new look, I would rather have an easy to use, high contrast, darker theme than a 'fashion of the moment' look that makes me think I am at a ski-field or antarctica without sunglasses during a sunny day. Please, please, please listen. As a solicitor that has instructed my paralegals to use this software for our office, I find myself at work here on a Sunday uninstalling 6.0 on several computers. Please take it from me, as someone that (used to?) stare at Evernote for HOURS every day, upon day, this colour scheme is not easy on the eyes for many of us. Please add a dark colour scheme. Or open up the colour scheme for modification. Please do not lose touch with many of your paying and unpaying customers. This is a legitimate response that is forcing me to revert a version, and consider alternatives. Update: Again - I feel quite strongly against this update. A lot of us pay to use Evernote and we use it like a mechanic uses a wrench. It is practical, useful, time-saving, money-making tool that we use to carefully collect, organise and marshall prodigious amounts of information and documents that would otherwise fill (in my case, a legal) office with mountains of paper. I am not whipping out Evernote on my Macbook Air in a trendy San Francisco underground juice cafe to show a bearded client how beautiful and 'of the moment' my workflow software is, in the hope that I get my start-up funded because I am being judged by a wheatgrass drinking electric car driving guardian startup angel on how congruent my software is with the latest Apple design fashion directed from on high ... I mean, really! No disrespect to professional UI designers or whomever appreciates the new Yosemite design code (I personally don't), but at least, at least, please open up the possibility of opening the app for people that stare at a screen most hours of the day and appreciate easy to read, legible, stylish, moddable readable size and contrasting fonts, to keep using this software professionally and comfortably. Version 6 looks fashionable, but it is not practical for me, or I have found, for my team. The text is small, the pure white background is glaring, grey text on white is hard to read, it is tricky to differentiate between the different zones ... where do I end? I have had to go back to 5.7.3. My hope is that the developers integrate a more legible, eye-friendly, update in the future. I understand the post above is calling for balance with respect to many of the responses here, and I have re-read my own post, and laughed at myself for perhaps sounding like the town grump writing into the local paper but what can I say? $47 (yes, here in Australia) is not to be scoffed at and I really feel quite passionately when something I use, appreciate, and pay to support, is so dramatically changed from a UI standpoint that subtly and adversely affects my own comprehension of the various zones, text, and information that I am trying to perceive and organise, and I find that I am not the only one that feels this way. There is nothing wrong with complaining when needed. Happy to PM or be put in touch with one of the developers to itemise specific readability problems with the latest iteration. I hope this forum was set up to form a community of users and allow communication between users and developers, and users and users. In a friendly, frank, tone, this is my emotional and logical response to the latest update.
  4. I posted to agree that the new colour scheme is uncomfortable to read. Please address our concerns ... many of us are paying customers.
  5. I am a premium user, like many here. I am downgrading because this interface is much too bright for me. I am not a luddite that arbitrarily criticises change, but in this case I believe there is good reason to ask the developers to reconsider the current scheme, or at least open up the colour scheme to tailored tweaking. I simply must register my concern about the direction Evernote is taking with this new look, I would rather have an easy to use, high contrast, darker theme than a 'fashion of the moment' look that makes me think I am at a ski-field or antarctica without sunglasses during a sunny day. Please, please, please listen. As a solicitor that has instructed my paralegals to use this software for our office, I find myself at work here on a Sunday uninstalling 6.0 on several computers. Please take it from me, as someone that (used to?) stare at Evernote for HOURS every day, upon day, this colour scheme is not easy on the eyes for many of us. Please add a dark colour scheme. Or open up the colour scheme for modification. Please do not lose touch with many of your paying and unpaying customers. This is a legitimate response that is forcing me to revert a version, and consider alternatives.
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