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  1. What's going on, Evernote? Really, what is going on with you folks down in Redwood City? It was almost a year go that Jason Kincaid posted http://jasonkincaid.net/2014/01/evernote-the-bug-ridden-elephant/ and since Libin responded, in which he emphasized the already existing renewed commitment to quality and care that extended back to November 2013: http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/01/04/on-software-quality/ Over the summer of 2014 (and sporadically, prior that) many of us former "evangelists" LOUDLY raised our own concerns about the quality of the software and customer support as we had observed and experienced it over the previous year or so. We voiced our concerns directly to Evernote staff through private channels, then added our voices when the other members of the forum raised their own concerns: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/66103-power-user-discontent-best-alternatives-to-en/ A year after Evernote's rededication to software quality and testing, where are we now? There have been some significant improvements that I think users benefit from a great deal. A few include: Sync being faster on ALL clients, MUCH faster. This is much appreciated.The text editor, at least on the desktop, has been improved with some of the major issues users complained about being ironed out (e.g., some table quirks and image resizing). The web clippers got a makeover and some significant refinement all around the board. While there were some mixed reviews about the changes, I think in general the consensus was positive. There have been some rather trivial improvements to the service as well. Namely: some of the various limits have been increased, so users can share and clip more and bigger things across all subscription levels.Context is an interesting feature and clearly benefits some users even at this early stage. It also generates revenue for Evernote which isn't a bad thing either. Work Chat seems like it could be a productivity booster for small organizations that collaborate using Evernote. Most importantly, there have also been some significant problems this year that hit much more at the heart of the user experience and Evernote's reputation. These issues, from the outside, seem to suggest longstanding, persistent systemic issues at Evernote. I won't rehash the various issues that plagued users earlier this year, there were plenty (and a quick search of this forum will reveal them anyway). Let us instead start this summer. Support This summer and fall saw the retraction of support for free users. This is not, in itself, unreasonable. It seemed to be motivated by a desire to improve the level of support for paying customers while working with finite resources and a burgeoning user base. How this change was executed, however, was problematic. Support for free users for most issues was scaled back and eventually fully retracted without official announcement. Existing tickets submitted by free users before the change was made "official" (exactly when this was is hard to determine) were simply closed, and free users continued to be allowed to submit tickets for weeks after support was revoked. There was a rocky transitional period in which free users with legitimate support requests (e.g., failed iTunes upgrades) were being rejected; the knowledge base lagged (and is still lagging) behind and lacks the requisite detail and robustness to allow self-support; the KB continued to direct all users to support, even though it wasn't universally available; major software and service issues created problems for all users, and free users were not supported. After several months of rockiness, the support expectation for free users has successfully been mitigated and the triaging of support tickets seems to have improved, as there seem to be many fewer false rejections on the forums. However, there seems to be no shortage of premium and business users waiting 3 or more business days to receive their initial human response. This doesn't seem to suggest any improvement over the situation before, when free users received support too. So all of the disruption and change led to what appears to be no noticeable improvement in support for premium users. Software Most recently, a series of very poorly executed releases have taken place, namely Penultimate 6 and Evernote for Mac 6 (also the Web Beta, but that's a bit of a strange case). Penultimate 6 was "publicly" beta tested for at least a couple of weeks, but despite this, the launch was extremely rocky, including reports of data loss, data being moved around, severe usability issues, and other obvious omissions and outright bugs, much of which was noted by Evernote staff. 6.0.1 was released within a week, but this should have been the 6.0 release. If only a week of work was required to address some of the most pressing issues, why wasn't the release a week later? Why wasn't beta testing extended by a week? How much more could have been done if you had taken an extra two weeks to polish things? Evernote 6 was released without any public beta. I am leaving out the aesthetics of the new version here, it has been debated elsewhere in all its subjective glory. My focus here is on honest-to-goodness functional bugs. Evernote 6.0 and 6.0.1 (frustratingly co-existing depending on how a user acquired it) presented numerous, seemingly widespread bugs that would have easily be caught in a brief beta period. Some low hanging fruit include: the title reverting to "untitled" upon printingColumn headers looking sloppy (and unreadable) because they accidentally displaying list contents when lists scrolledNote contents not appearing, or appearing slowly, or appearing sporadicallySporadic reports of data loss, corruption, or other similar things. Continuation of the general trend of (re)moving features and changing workflows abruptly and without clear documentation. We have received some interesting new features that are geared towards a very specific target user. I am thinking of Work Chat and Context here. Yet, we continue to see immensely buggy releases that are, by Evernote's own admission, half baked, and long-standing issues go un-addressed. Summary Support was shaken up dramatically and there has been no significant improvement as far as I can see. Despite a year of committing to improved software and service quality, there have been at least two major releases ridden with bugs and other very serious issues. This has included such foot-shooting as releasing major updates without public beta testing. Lots of new shiny features accompanied by a general failure to address longstanding issues and improve on fundamental elements of the applications and service. In a year since Evernote's commitment to quality, we have seen repeated failures to actually demonstrate that commitment. Repeated, obvious failures. In general this comes across as though Evernote is rushing or being outright careless with their releases. While I am still an avid user, I have become very cautious about the extent to which I rely on Evernote for most things and the integrity of what I store within Evernote. I have become more diligent about keeping critical documents duplicated elsewhere, and I no longer rely on Evernote for offline access to my travel documents. The number of bugs I have personally experienced (and I have experienced very few of the bugs that I see reported around here), and the reports of bugs on various online communities, have also meant that I no longer unequivocally recommend Evernote to my family, friends, and colleagues. The issues and struggles I have experienced and observed others experience, and the rapid pace at which features come, go, or are fundamentally changed, has made Evernote a bit of a liability with which I'd rather not become implicated by recommending its use. Additional Notes All of what I have written here is based on anecdotal evidence, largely from what I have observed in the years I have participated in this forum and been an Evernote user. Evernote will have far more valid and reliable data about how often many of these problems occur, how long users are waiting for a response from support, etc. So my observations here must be taken with a grain of salt. They may not accurately reflect the reality of the broader user base. While I see Evernote as a "liability", what I mean more than anything is that Evernote has shifted from being something I feel very secure and comfortable using as a repository for my important information, to being something that I feel now carries a much larger element of risk of loss. In other words, I feel less secure and less comfortable now, than in the past, (as opposed to feeling outrightly insecure and outrightly uncomfortable) Much of what I am discussing here isn't exactly related to whether Evernote listens or not. Evernote clearly does listen to its users. I have no doubt in my mind that most of what users are saying is heard by Evernote staff, and that many of these things are taken account of. Developing software and services is always a balancing act between the goals and vision of the company, and the perceived expectations of users. This post is not about whether Evernote is listening to preferences about colour or a linux client. Evernote, what's going on? We've seen new shiny features and minor qualitative improvements (mostly with sync), but we are persistently presented with a slew of new bugs and various other issues. What we haven't seen is a marked improvement in overall quality in a year where overall quality was your explicitly stated goal.
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