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Kitezh47

URGENT & IMPORTANT: Fix the structural organization of Evernote

Idea

At present, the structural organization of Evernote is in dire need of improvement.

Here are the no-brainer features that should be added to Evernote as soon as humanly and technically possible.

1) The contents of every note are organized into sections

2) Every notebook is organized into sub-notebooks

3) Stacks are organized into folders aka meta-stacks.

 

My request basically boils down to adding 3 new structural entities:

1) note sections;

2) sub-notebooks;

3) meta-stacks.

If you agree that these features need to be added, please upvote this post.

I hope to get an official response from the Evernote Development Team as to whether the abovementioned features are going to be added.

 

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Thanks @Kitezh47 - I understand what you're asking for. These are all items on our roadmap. Adding structural entities / hierarchy is something that is going to be a pretty big shift in the app's direction, and you'll begin to see this appear first in the Business product next year. If you're a business user, you will in fact see this begin to play out in the public beta we're announcing hopefully this week.

These changes come with some pretty complicated UX issues since not all changes can feasibly be completed at once - "how do we increment to the end vision without breaking the experience along the way?", and also have implications on users used to the current system - "how do we introduce these changes without breaking the current experience / confusing existing users?"

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On 2017-12-11 at 12:00 AM, Kitezh47 said:

At present, the structural organization of Evernote is in dire need of improvement.

Here are the no-brainer features that should be added to Evernote as soon as humanly and technically possible.

1) The contents of every note are organized into sections

2) Every notebook is organized into sub-notebooks

3) Stacks are organized into folders aka meta-stacks.

 

My request basically boils down to adding 3 new structural entities:

1) note sections;

2) sub-notebooks;

3) meta-stacks.

If you agree that these features need to be added, please upvote this post.

I hope to get an official response from the Evernote Development Team as to whether the abovementioned features are going to be added.

 

It would be more useful to post these as separate requests which can be voted on

>>1) note sections;

Can you give examples how you would use sections for notes.  Would this be a formal structure, or ad hoc

>>  2) sub-notebooks; 3) meta-stacks

I'm not sure of the distinction between 2) sub-Notebooks and 3) meta-Stacks

I see Stacks for organizing my Notebooks, and I'm not clear on the benefit of having two hierarchies

Personally, I'm not a big Notebook user, with no more than 10.  I use Tags to organize my notes for access and retrieval

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On 12/11/2017 at 3:00 AM, Kitezh47 said:

At present, the structural organization of Evernote is in dire need of improvement.

Why? Use case?

On 12/11/2017 at 3:00 AM, Kitezh47 said:

Here are the no-brainer features that should be added to Evernote as soon as humanly and technically possible.

Very nice. You're implying that the people who designed Evernote originally had no brains?

On 12/11/2017 at 3:00 AM, Kitezh47 said:

My request basically boils down to adding 3 new structural entities:

Nearly all of this and its ilk have been requested before. Please search the forums, and add your vote to existing requests as necessary / desired. Here's a starting point: 

 

On 12/11/2017 at 3:00 AM, Kitezh47 said:

I hope to get an official response from the Evernote Development Team as to whether the abovementioned features are going to be added.

If it happens, it ill probably be in the form of "Thank you for the suggestion. We appreciate all requests, and they are all added to our list for evaluation and prioritization", which is the most common, when they do occur. I'm not saying this cynically, btw. They do appreciate feature requests, but specifics for future development are generally not divulged.

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Hi there @Kitezh47 - interesting suggestions. I'd love to hear more about how you'd plan on using these new constructs (with real examples if possible), and how they improve your Evernote experience (does it enable something you can't do today, or simplify a workflow?) :)

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On 12.12.2017 at 09:33, Leo Gong said:

Hi there @Kitezh47 - interesting suggestions. I'd love to hear more about how you'd plan on using these new constructs (with real examples if possible), and how they improve your Evernote experience (does it enable something you can't do today, or simplify a workflow?) :)

 

In general, it all comes down to adding 3 hierarchy levels to the structure. 

Here's how I plan to use these 3 structural entities:
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
A) Note sections --- "The contents of every note are organized into sections"

Note sections are necessary for efficiently managing long notes. Specifically, for creating a table of contents for a long note.
I find it extremely useful to compile the crucial takeaways from dozens of productivity articles into one long note, so I don't forget what I read. Over time, the note in question becomes *very* long and I need to scroll through the entire note to find a certain productivity tip.

The solution is simple:

1) Firstly, dividing the note into sections 

Note: Productivity Tips (Takeaways & Key Points)
          Section 1: Health & Productivity
          Section 2: Keyboard shortcuts
          Section 3: Note-Taking Techniques
        

 

2) Secondly, generating a table of contents.
It's generated automatically by clicking "Generate table of contents" in the More Options menu.
While this function seems similar to making a table of contents from a set of selected notes, there is an important difference.
With notes, a user can select the notes for the table of contents.
With note sections, however, a user cannot select the note sections: the table of contents automatically selects all note sections. I believe this limitation is necessary to prevent confusion.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




 

B ) Sub-notebooks ------ Every notebook is organized into sub-notebooks"   

Sub-notebooks would be great for categorizing archived articles on different topics. 

Notebook stack: "Self-Improvement"
Notebook: "Productivity & Organization"
Sub-notebook 1: "Home/Workspace Organization"
                              Note 1: Some article on organizing your workspace
                              Note 2: Another article on organizing your workspace

Sub-notebook 2: "Organizing your digital life"
                              Note 1: Some article on organizing your digital life
                              Note 2: Another article on organizing your digital life




______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

C) Folders aka Meta-Stacks ------ "Stacks are organized into folders aka meta-stacks"

Folders aka Meta-Stacks would be very useful for separating completely unrelated kinds of notes.
In this example, the two completely disparate types of notes are the work-related documents and the articles on scientific research/new technologies/.
 

Meta-Stack aka Folder: Work

Stack 1: Financial Records & Legal Documents
              Notebook 1: Receipts
                    Note: Receipt 1
                    Note: Receipt 2
                    Note: Receipt 3


            Notebook 2: Document Scans
                 Note: Document Scan 1
                Note: Document Scan 2
                Note: Document Scan 3


Stack 2: Work-related emails & Business Cards
                Notebook 1: Work-related emails
                Notebook 2: Business Cards

 

 

 

 

 

Meta-Stack aka Folder: STEM

Stack 1: Engineering & Technology + Applied Math
            Notebook 1: MechEng & Aerospace
           Notebook 2: EECS & AI/ML
           Notebook 3: Biotech

Stack 2: Pure Science & Math
             Notebook 1: Theoretical Physics (Quantum Physics, General Relativity, & String Theory)
             Notebook 2: Pure Mathematics 
            

Stack 3: STEM & Society
               Notebook 1: Net Neutrality
               Notebook 2: Bioethics
               Notebook 3: Internet & Attention Span

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your response; I hope my examples helped clarify what I need the suggested features for.


P.S. Please implement at least some of these. The earliest popularly supported request for additional structural entities aka hierarchy levels is almost 10 years old. 
It's high time the Evernote Team took the ultimate note-taking app to the next level of awesomeness. :)





UPD:
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
P.P.S. Here are some old threads with similar requests.

Sub-notebooks (1 thread)


Collapsible note sections & in-note navigation (5 threads)

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

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On 2017-12-12 at 7:37 AM, Kitezh47 said:

Note: Productivity Tips (Takeaways & Key Points)
          Section 1: Health & Productivity
          Section 2: Keyboard shortcuts
          Section 3: Note-Taking Techniques

Are you seeing these displayed as tabs in the note?

Otherwise, your Table of Contents requirement just seems like internal links (a different ongoing request discussion)

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12 hours ago, Leo Gong said:

These are all items on our roadmap. Adding structural entities / hierarchy is something that is going to be a pretty big shift in the app's direction

Interesting -- I'll be curious to see how it plays out in the non-Business space. It will be a big shift, in terms of UX and search filtering, among other things.

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12 hours ago, DTLow said:

Are you seeing these displayed as tabs in the note?

Otherwise, your Table of Contents requirement just seems like internal links (a different ongoing request discussion)

Here's how I see note sections.

A Wikipedia-like in-note table of contents, each item of which links to a respective section of a (long) note. —>—>  —> Which means that you can scroll down through all the sections of a given note, it just will be inconvenient.

A UX idea for the Evernote Team: The table of contents, each of whose items links to a respective section of the note,—> —> the table of contents shouldn't just be at the top of the (presumably long) note, it should be also accessible from the More Options Menu.

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1 hour ago, jefito said:

Interesting -- I'll be curious to see how it plays out in the non-Business space. It will be a big shift, in terms of UX and search filtering, among other things.

Not sure the non-business space has an equal seat at the table in the transition to a workflow/collaboration product.  As usual, I could be wrong.

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3 hours ago, CalS said:

Not sure the non-business space has an equal seat at the table in the transition to a workflow/collaboration product.  As usual, I could be wrong.

Hard to tell from that interesting -- but not very detailed -- interview. A lot of the business product uses the same infrastructure as the personal product, at a guess, so if they make changes to the infrastructure (ENML and search mainly), then the personal products would almost necessarily take at least some of those changes on board. So for me (as a software developer), that would be interesting to watch, but for me (the longtime set-in-his-ways Evernote user), it probably wouldn't matter a whole lot, since I have a system that works pretty well for me. For example, most of the items suggested here don't hold a lot of interest for me. Nested notebooks? I use Evernote to escape hierarchies. Flip side, internal note links (anchors, with the ability to make a table of contents for the note) would be useful to my use case. And maybe collapsible note sections. But that's about it. Better search/filtering (which isn't addressed here) would be a lot higher on my priority list. And not that any of this is anything that hasn't been requested in the past.

But anyways, interesting to see how it all shakes out...

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5 minutes ago, jefito said:

Hard to tell from that interesting -- but not very detailed -- interview. A lot of the business product uses the same infrastructure as the personal product, at a guess, so if they make changes to the infrastructure (ENML and search mainly), then the personal products would almost necessarily take at least some of those changes on board. So for me (as a software developer), that would be interesting to watch, but for me (the longtime set-in-his-ways Evernote user), it probably wouldn't matter a whole lot, since I have a system that works pretty well for me. For example, most of the items suggested here don't hold a lot of interest for me. Nested notebooks? I use Evernote to escape hierarchies. Flip side, internal note links (anchors, with the ability to make a table of contents for the note) would be useful to my use case. And maybe collapsible note sections. But that's about it. Better search/filtering (which isn't addressed here) would be a lot higher on my priority list. And not that any of this is anything that hasn't been requested in the past.

But anyways, interesting to see how it all shakes out...

Pretty much the same for me, minimal notebooks and  leveraged tags with saved searches and the like.  As long as any of the structural changes don't cause any rework in those areas  and you can opt out of any pollution to the UI as viewed as an individual, meh. 

I just glommed  onto the, paraphrasing here, transition from remembering sh!# that matters to workflow since that's where the value is.  As you say, interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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Evernote started as a simple app to keep some notes. But its now used to track many projects, draft presentations, clip large volumes of information, and often for mixed use personal and professional. Many users have thousands of Notes (I have 2,076)

I agree we are LONG overdue for:

Sections within Notes - I have very long notes that are quite hard to navigate. Every PDF, Word and HTML document in the world has sections to aid this long standing and very well understood problem.

Notebook Groups - simplest: Work . Personal. 

Nested Notebooks - Of course. We've been asking for this for years. these forums are filled with this request. I have one notebook with 595 Notes in it. Spotify allows nested Playlist folders. This is such a fundamental principle to managing information, it's stunning that it's never been address.

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56 minutes ago, mtanne said:

Notebook Groups - simplest: Work . Personal

Isn't Notebook Groups addressed by Stacks (Stacks of Notebooks); only one level though5a9deb0f4a2a0_ScreenShot2018-03-05at17_11_19.png.1bfeab17bb5987885029b1baea4e23e4.png

>>others like to navigate folders

How would you visualize the folders displayed for navigation?

Isn't this is addressed in the hierarchy displayed in the WIN/Mac platforms
I realize the heading doesn't say "folders", but its just a name

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On 12/19/2017 at 1:27 PM, CalS said:

Pretty much the same for me, minimal notebooks and  leveraged tags with saved searches and the like.  As long as any of the structural changes don't cause any rework in those areas  and you can opt out of any pollution to the UI as viewed as an individual, meh. 

I just glommed  onto the, paraphrasing here, transition from remembering sh!# that matters to workflow since that's where the value is.  As you say, interesting to see how it all shakes out.

You're pointing out an important difference in the way people use folders vs. tags.  Some like to search tags others like to navigate folders.  In truth, Tags and Notebooks (folders) are technically just two ways to visualize the same underlying organization structure, with one difference: tags allow multiple membership and folders permit one.

If the fundamental underlying structure was sorted out, users and app developers could search and navigate their notes however they wanted to.  One of the best examples of this is gmail, in which you can clearly see "folders implemented via labels". 

i.e. If you have 4 Note books "Blue Notes" "Red Notes" "Short Notes" "Long Notes" and a short blue note called "My short blue note" was tagged tag:Blue tag:Short

Then you can search for the tag Blue , the tag Short or both short, blue,

OR: you can navigate Blue Notes > Short Notes > "My Short Blue Note"

Evernote just needs to tackle this problem.  In the meantime we have notebooks filling with hundreds or thousands of notes that will only sort by date, can't pin to top, and can sub-categorize.

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44 minutes ago, mtanne said:

Evernote just needs to tackle this problem. 

Tempest in a teapot for me.  For whatever reason I think more in terms of tables than hierarchies (used to call it 3rd normal form in the old days), so tags and text search work just fine for me.  I don't need to find notes in the structure, just find them in the search bar.  Of course, no issue if EN wants to flesh out the notebook side of things for those that need it, I  just wouldn't be one to use it.

Note we can sort by things other than date, more items on the desktop than mobile for sure..

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

Isn't Notebook Groups addressed by Stacks (Stacks of Notebooks); only one level though5a9deb0f4a2a0_ScreenShot2018-03-05at17_11_19.png.1bfeab17bb5987885029b1baea4e23e4.png

>>others like to navigate folders

How would you visualize the folders displayed for navigation?

Isn't this is addressed in the hierarchy displayed in the WIN/Mac platforms
I realize the heading doesn't say "folders", but its just a name

Stacks were a huge step forward. I separate projects into stacks. 

Groups might be a bit more formalized or isolated - for example different levels of access, like with Google Drive or DropBox. Use cases such as: work (which may have confidential info) and personal files (which may have medical info) in the same screen.  Obviously could be different accounts, or other solutions. There are other features more important to me.

Visualizing Folders

The key is an abstraction layer between the underlying implementation and the visual layer.

Underlying implementation: a well-structured formal information architecture is what's needed.  hierarchy/file system = TREE  labels/tags = GRAPH.  Graphs are more flexible.  So it should be a graph. Probably is a graph.  Gmail is a good example of a folder hierarchy implemented as labels.

Abstraction: visual representation is independent of underlying structure. Changes to the visual representation DO NOT require changes to code by the back end team who are preoccupied with data integrity, account security, back-up, redundancy, scaling, etc.

Visual representation: Yes. WIN/Mac platforms address folders well, they've had decades to get there. Apple experimented with stacks and drawers and piles during the years of Pink and Taligent and OS7 (?), but ended up right back to folders. Millions of users voices being heard I suppose.

There are SO many variants to look at out there now: Box, DropBox, Gmail, Google Drive, Spotify, to name a few. Most have drag and drop, view as list/grid, folders down the left side, preview in the main pane, view by tag, search, sort, etc.

THE KEY is the ABSTRACTION LAYER and API which would allow 3rd party developers to try domain-specific visualizations.  The EN UX team could do low cost beta experiments without risking core data integrity because they'd only be fiddling with visual code.  Take accessibility as a major area most people forget. Blind users cannot "Visualize" the information structure the same way as most other users. Usually once you've solved for 2 or 3 special cases, you find you've been forced into something of a workable generalization.

But you need a sound information architecture underlying the whole thing. A deficit here is what plagues many Dev teams nowadays, and is what prevents them from ever solving what seem like they should be simple UX changes.

(I sound like one of those guys: "when I was young we had to code in -20 weather, and had to compile uphill..." lol.

 

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22 minutes ago, CalS said:

Tempest in a teapot for me.  For whatever reason I think more in terms of tables than hierarchies (used to call it 3rd normal form in the old days), so tags and text search work just fine for me

I agree with you generally, I also think in terms of 3NF, and after many years of work in search and tagging, I generally think in terms of graphs more than hierarchies.  And I generally search rather than navigate.

However, we're talking about a decade of users making the point that they need to organize information in a way they are not being offered. And EN either not hearing, not caring, disagreeing, or inadequately explaining the solution.

To say "works for me" is the ultimate dismissal in any software discussion.

Either EN users are not very smart, and don't know how they should organization their information in all the myriad domains in which they use the product, or they have a valid point that there are valid ways to visualize information. Folders vs. Tags is one. (Gmail has an elegant solution of the two coexisting - EN could try that)

The underlying problem I see isn't necessarily one implementation, but anytime a software company, and its paying customers (its lifeblood) are at odds over a major feature request for so many years running.

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24 minutes ago, mtanne said:

Folders vs. Tags is one.

You mentioned that before and that others like to navigate folders

I'm still interested in your vision of the appearance of the folders.  I posted an image that should satisfy the navigation requirement

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4 hours ago, mtanne said:

To say "works for me" is the ultimate dismissal in any software discussion

That’s a bit dramatic.  Didn’t dismiss anything, as exhibited in the bit of the post not quoted.  

Anyway, some folks need more notebook hierarchy, I don’t, lucky me.   If EN opts to add more, great.   :)

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