Jump to content
mikelee02

Why I Just Tolerate Evernote

Recommended Posts

I'm a longtime Evernote user, but over the past couple years I've become extremely frustrated with the app and the direction it seems to be taking. I finally got fed up and felt the need to say something to voice my concerns in hopes that someone who is responsible for developing the app will read it and actually take it to heart. 

Below is a copy of a 1-star review I just left in the Apple App Store. 

TLDR: Evernote is completely bloated and the developers have ignored basic usability and performance (esp on mobile) in favor of adding features that I have no need for and have never used. I'm still a user b/c I have thousands of notes in there, but the second someone comes along with a better solution that'll let me export out of Evernote, I will drop Evernote and switch in a heartbeat. 

Does anyone else feel this way, or is it just me? 

Anyway, here's the review. I hope these issues can be prioritized before some other big feature is introduced that just seems to distract from what I really need: a great, fast, frustration free note taking experience. 

 

*******
1-Star Review, Apple App Store
Headline
: Bloatware: Fails at Basics, Too Many Extraneous Features

I don't love Evernote, I tolerate it. Mostly because I've invested over 5 years of note taking into it, it's hard for me to migrate to something else. 

Formatting, speed/performance issues, latency with typing on mobile, and poorly organized UI frustrate me. Don't even get me started on sharing and exporting features, which are totally terrible. 

Formatting is a nightmare, especially with bullets and numbering, which 90% of all my notes use extensively. This frequently breaks, leaving really odd spacing/indents/line breaks. I frequently have to delete everything in a bullet list, copy over to plain text, then start a new Evernote and re-format all the bullets from scratch. Also, on mobile, when you make a bullet list, the indent/outdent button is hidden and two clicks away in the menus while you're typing. INDENT/OUTDENT should be RIGHT THERE for you while you're typing in a bullet/number list. Number lists should give you options to do "1. a. ii." instead of Evernote's only option of "1. 1. 1." which is not the common standard amongst other programs like Word and Google Docs. 

Latency and speed are a huge issue on mobile. I do have many notes (~3500) but on a brand new iPhone X, I should not have to wait 30 seconds for Evernote to recognize that I pushed the "new note" button before a blank note shows up. Not seeing the note come up causes me to push the button again b/c I'm not sure if Evernote registered my click, then 30 seconds later, I get like 5 new blank notes pop up after my multiple button presses. I should be able to fire up the app, press the "new note" button, and have a blank note come up immediately. This is so basic, yet Evernote fails to do this. Also, Evernote can't seem to keep up with my typing speed and is often 4-5 letters behind where I'm typing, which gives me the feeling that I'm typing on a 1980s 286 processor machine. How is simple typing not seamless on a latest generation iPhone X? 

There are so many little, but crucial frustrations that Evernote has in it. If I could provide a model for improvement, I would make the Evernote typing/UI/Sharing experience closer to Google Docs. 

Google Docs doesn't really work for me as a note taking app, but it EXCELS at typing speed (letters come up EXACTLY when you press the keys), formatting (I've NEVER had bullets break like I do on Evernote), UI (buttons on mobile especially are all logically placed and perfectly relevant for the typing mode), sharing (Google Docs is the best there is for sharing documents), and overall performance (I create a new document, and a new document pops up right away). 

I wouldn't be so hard on Evernote if this was version 1.0 and they were a brand new startup. But they're a pretty mature company by now and these little things are no excuse. I keep getting excited to see there's an update to the app, b/c I hope many of these issues will be resolved. But when I read the update notes, I always find that they're adding new features (most of which I NEVER use) instead of addressing the foundational issues that this app has. 

I DO NOT NEED TEMPLATES, DARK MODE, WORK CHAT, AUDIO NOTES, FACETIME NOTES, PRESENTATION MODE, and others *** UNLESS *** these basic usability options are fixed.

It's almost like the developers and product managers have shiny object syndrome and aren't addressing basic app performance (Google does such a good job at performance and usability). 

So, will I stop using Evernote? Probably not. I have so much invested into it and honestly, no one else has as good of a cross platform note taking app. HOWEVER, the second someone comes up with a note taking app that has good cross platform support, great typing/UI experience, and allows me to export my notes/notebook/tag structure into that app gracefully, I will happily drop Evernote, cancel my subscription and never look back. 

Evernote is on borrowed time in my mind. I don't love it, I just tolerate it. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post

Not a feature request. Moving to General Discussion area...

Share this post


Link to post
On 12/24/2018 at 7:51 AM, mikelee02 said:

the second someone comes up with a note taking app ...

There's no shortage of note taking and word processing apps.  I use Notability and Apple Pages.
I store the documents in Evernote notes as attachments.

Evernote provides an editor that's fine for basic notes.  I never considered this the only editor I'd be using.

>>export out of Evernote

Evernote has always made it easy to export our data.

>>Evernote is on borrowed time in my mind. 

Evernote is storing my collection of over 12,000 notes. 

No concern about "borrowed time".  I monitor alternatves; so far, nothing offers the Evernote features I use.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, DTLow said:

I monitor alternatves; so far, nothing offers the Evernote features I use.

This.

Share this post


Link to post

Well said. I'm a premium user of Evernote for 10 years, and while I appreciate the idea of the functionality and am kind of stuck with it because of the many notes I have in it, it has been painful to watch such a train wreck of management and development incompetence. 

If it were just bloated, that would be OK, but basic features are horribly inadequate. DTLow, "Super Guru", really vents his utter resignation by recommending alternative "note taking" apps for an app that, if you google it, promotes itself --- would you believe it --- as "Best Note Taking App".

Evernote does take up disproportionate time in my life: 1) for usage, 2) there is no other app that needs so much of my time trying to debug problems, jumping through hoops to provide support tickets that are then closed because the information has been "forwarded to development", with rarely anything happening, and trying to evaluate alternative that would allow me migrating without losing/investing too much work.

While Evernote is useful and I hope I can keep using it: Yes, it is on borrowed time. I am happy to jump ship once somebody provides a good alternative with easy migration.

 

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, lhb said:

if you google it, promotes itself --- would you believe it --- as "Best Note Taking App".

Can you provide a link.318189167_ScreenShot2018-12-28at09_05_51.png.f00f0c608a69d49c3dbfbd09d7461be8.png
This is what I'm seeing on the Evernote site.

I consider Evernote an organization app to store my data.

I use the editor for basic notes; I definitely don't consider it the "Best Note Taking" app.

>>DTLow, "Super Guru", really vents his utter resignation by recommending alternative "note taking" apps

I do recommend note taking apps, and word processing apps.  
It's not "utter resignation"; more a realization that we should use the best tool available.  
I don't use a screwdriver as a hammer then whine on how bad a tool the screwdriver is.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Here's the Link: Looking for Evernote

Google: https://www.google.com/search?num=40&source=hp&ei=6lkmXKyzPOOrrgTKt4Bo&q=evernote&btnK=Google+Search&oq=evernote&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l10.2730.4141..4318...0.0..0.454.1212.5j3j4-1......0....1..gws-wiz.....0.vF-GpYhtxHM

Bing: https://www.bing.com/search?q=evernote&qs=n&form=QBLH&sp=-1&pq=eve&sc=8-3&sk=&cvid=088C33B11A8645AC8E6274E4C179F0BC

And the  screenshots I got now, and yes, I checked before posting, are attached.

Regarding note taking, I tried to use Evernote for that and am usually avoiding it for that purpose, which is why I'm always surprised seeing it promoted as a note taking app. I use it mainly for web-clipping (clipper is the best), as well as for tagging (nothing else has such a good tagging/searching) functionality for organization. I use it as a better, shared,  searchable file system in which I can dump things and organize as I go.

This is why I do get worried when people talk about Evernote as a note taking app. I did like other slogans better. Was it, like "Organize your life" or something like that? What ever came of the attempts to use AI to organize things, and "inference" things between notes. A bit more than the "context". I did like the basic idea of the Evernote Bubble Browser (or something like that), which should have taken further. (It was 3rd party.).

So I'm still in love with the Evernote idea, but it has been painful watching the company and worrying when it would bite the dust.

 

 

 

 

 

Evernote Bing.jpg

Evernote Google.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

Another point: I just mentioned how I think that Evernote is rather a filing than a note-taking app.

That said, it's not really perfect for that ever. I did get corruptions such as

- Missing attachments (sometimes, I don't know why, an image goes missing. It's also not clear when an image is really in the note and when it is kept on the web; one of the lost attachments turned out to be one that was only a link to a web site that went the way of the dodo later.)

- Mixed up attachments. Would you believe it? I got the wrong pictures attached to a note; that was on iOS. For random notes. I reported the problem repeatedly (at least two times), went through the usual hoops, and the tickets was closed again without anything happening. Doesn't bode well for note consistency in general. (Way down the road I saw a release note that something along that line had been fixed, but I had already given up on iOS by that time, because things just didn't work.)

There is no functionality I know of to check the integrity of the database and find inconsistencies between the Evernote-Cloud and my local copy. Yes, as a premium user I can try and get back earlier versions from backups if I'm aware of it, but what if I don't note the mistake. Same problem if I do my own backups. It's Evernote that should take care of it, not me. And yes, DTLow has an elaborate backup system, which I would also recommend, but that wouldn't protect me from corruptions creeping in.

I guess such functionality is missing from other cloud services as well. Caveat Emptor.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, lhb said:

I did like other slogans better.

I like "Remember Everything" along with the elephant.

>>  Missing attachments...Mixed up attachments

I've also experienced data corruption, on top of my own editing errors.

It's a valid concern.  I make sure I can recover via backups.  
Evernote has a Note History backup, and I have personal backups.

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, DTLow said:

I consider Evernote an organization app to store my data

 @DTLow yes, do so, by all means.

It is just that an awful lot of  users cannot accept data corruption in database applications. Evernote is nothing more than a notetaking application with unpredictable performance and reliability under Windows and Android, in spite of state-of-the-art hardware.

All reputable software with widespread usage usually finds enough developers enhancing the original product. Evernote singularly failed to attract such people because the Evernote code is such a mess that nobody wants to meddle with it. 

Share this post


Link to post

Evernote works just fine for me.  Also notetaking app entails more than just the editor. It's ease of creating the note, typing the note, fetching the note. All these things work more than adequately for me.  Agreed, it's not the 'prettiest' editor, but I don't need much.  I've previously had text editor based note taking systems.  Sure I'll use Word or something to create a professional, distributable document, but every day use; a simple text editor is more than adequate and much more efficient.  Opens faster, no formatting concerns, etc. The Evernote editor works just fine in this context.

And as eluded to here:

19 hours ago, lhb said:

I guess such functionality is missing from other cloud services as well. Caveat Emptor.

Cloud services in general pale to well developed desktop apps. The general premise of cloud typically means you are always using a beta, features change from under feet with little to no notice, you're riding on a fast moving train whether you like it or not. There's no longer the opportunity to sit on warm cozy release until it becomes obsolete, then move to the next stable release, or migrate away.  In the race to out do competitors, features are released half baked.  Even in my industry stable respected desktop apps are being migrated to cloud services that are thin shells of their former selves.

The tradeoff in my case with Evernote is multiplatform accessibility.  That in tandem with very powerful search engine greatly outweigh the occasional wart. I intend to be around for quite a while unless the tirades eventually do create a no confidence mass exodus dooming the product.  

I've tried many other systems in the past including OneNote.  Nothing comes close.  I've never used a product in so many contexts, from so many physical locations including office, home, gym, airport, shopping etc.  I'm never without my notes, or the capability to make a note.  What an awesome NOTE TAKING app.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 8‏/2‏/2016 at 21:26, solak said:

يمكنك حماية الملاحظات بكلمة مرور (في الواقع ، أجزاء من الملاحظات ، ولكن يمكنك تحديد كل المحتوى) ويمكن فك تشفير تطبيق iPhone للعرض ، ولكن لا أرى تطبيق الجوال يتيح لي إضافة محتوى مشفر. سيكون ذلك بمثابة إجابة جيدة إذا كان بإمكان تطبيق iPhone إنشاء محتوى مشفر. إذا كان ذلك ممكنًا ، فأنا لا أراه في واجهة المستخدم.

ربما يمكنك إنشاء حساب ثان ومشاركة دفتر ملاحظات آخر من هذا الحساب إلى حسابك الرئيسي. عندما لا تكون على الكمبيوتر ، افصل الحساب / الكمبيوتر المحمول الآخر. هذا ليس حقا الحل الصحيح ، على الرغم من.

ما يجب عليك القيام به هو على الكمبيوتر المشترك ، تسجيل الدخول إلى حساب مساعد الذي لديه فقط الوصول إلى أجهزة الكمبيوتر المحمولة التي تسمح للآخرين بالاطلاع عليها. على iPhone الخاص بك ، قم بتسجيل الدخول إلى حسابك الحقيقي. عندما تكون على الكمبيوتر ، قم بالتبديل إلى Evernote لتسجيل الدخول إلى حسابك الخاص. عند مغادرة الكمبيوتر المشترك ، قم بتسجيل الخروج Evernote وتسجيل الدخول إلى الحساب المشترك.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Agree with OP, especially features I don't need. As I posted on another thread maybe one day on Windows they will:

- Add the URL back when you Send a Copy of a Note
- Allow scrolling as one reads a note
- Allow going backwards when one is in Presentation mode and just generally make it usable
- Stop stalling all the the time during searches and syncing
- Go back to the way PDFs worked better
- better way to capture a stylus the way OneNote does


And add highlighting to the Web version

I hope other companies will take note. I use Quicken and lots of users there are complaining about bugginess that never gets fixed. And AskLeo wrote about this called Microsoft, We Deserve Better: https://newsletter.askleo.com/ask-leo-728-microsoft-we-deserve-better/

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not seeing any of these issues. Have you rebooted your iPhone recently?

Share this post


Link to post

One-sided rants like this always confuse me, to be honest. If using Evernote is so frustrating, then why are you using it? I suppose this would be the response to that question:

On 12/24/2018 at 10:51 AM, mikelee02 said:

So, will I stop using Evernote? Probably not. I have so much invested into it and honestly, no one else has as good of a cross platform note taking app.

But... aren't you sort of signaling that Evernote is the best-of-breed, then? If no one else has as good of a cross platform note taking app, then Evernote must be the best. If nobody else can come up with a better cross platform note taking app, then why do you so (angrily, it seems) expect Evernote to?

I agree that there are definitely bugs in Evernote, and certainly areas they can improve. I also find the delay in typing in the iPhone app maddening, and have a list of things I would have addressed if I got to decide how their development team spent their time. But, like you said, no one else has as good of a cross platform note taking app. Different software options might address some of my wish list items, but that would mean I would have to sacrifice Evernote features. If I did that, then I'd just have a whole other wish list for the new app.

The reason I called this rant one-sided is because you're evidently very upset that Evernote doesn't look or work the way you want it to, but these are your preferences... not mine.

On 12/24/2018 at 10:51 AM, mikelee02 said:

If I could provide a model for improvement, I would make the Evernote typing/UI/Sharing experience closer to Google Docs. 

Google Docs doesn't really work for me as a note taking app, but it EXCELS at typing speed (letters come up EXACTLY when you press the keys), formatting (I've NEVER had bullets break like I do on Evernote), UI (buttons on mobile especially are all logically placed and perfectly relevant for the typing mode), sharing (Google Docs is the best there is for sharing documents), and overall performance (I create a new document, and a new document pops up right away). 

I personally can't stand Google Docs (which, by the way, is why I don't use it...). The worst part of most Google apps, in my personal opinion, is the user interface. I can't stand it, and I would be really disappointed if Evernote tried to make their app match the Google experience. Google Docs is not the best there is for sharing documents in my personal technology ecospace/workflow. But that's just me... that's my opinion. The great thing about having all of this technology available to us is that we can choose what works best for us. If Google Docs works best for you, super! Feel free to express that opinion, but it seems incredibly unfair to join the Evernote community so you can essentially declare that Google Docs is so much better than Evernote when that isn't the case for everyone.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 12/24/2018 at 10:51 AM, mikelee02 said:

Formatting, speed/performance issues, latency with typing on mobile, and poorly organized UI frustrate me. Don't even get me started on sharing and exporting features, which are totally terrible. 

Formatting is a nightmare, especially with bullets and numbering, which 90% of all my notes use extensively. This frequently breaks, leaving really odd spacing/indents/line breaks. I frequently have to delete everything in a bullet list, copy over to plain text, then start a new Evernote and re-format all the bullets from scratch. Also, on mobile, when you make a bullet list, the indent/outdent button is hidden and two clicks away in the menus while you're typing. INDENT/OUTDENT should be RIGHT THERE for you while you're typing in a bullet/number list. Number lists should give you options to do "1. a. ii." instead of Evernote's only option of "1. 1. 1." which is not the common standard amongst other programs like Word and Google Docs. 

Latency and speed are a huge issue on mobile.... 

I DO NOT NEED TEMPLATES, DARK MODE, WORK CHAT, AUDIO NOTES, FACETIME NOTES, PRESENTATION MODE, and others *** UNLESS *** these basic usability options are fixed.

I just want to ask whether some of these issues are device/OS-related. I'm on Android, not iPhone, and I have no latency issues (though I know some Android users have reported such issues), nor do I have the kinds of formatting issues mentioned here. Formatted lists work well, and indent/outdent are in fact right there, if I leave the formatting menu open. The one thing I dislike most is that tapping "Simplify formatting" eliminates indents--annoying, but not a deal-breaker.

As for features overall, many users do need templates, dark mode (e.g., for visual disabilities), work chat, and the rest. For many these are basic usability options. The thing about Evernote is that it has such broad capabilities that people use it in wildly differing ways, which means that what seems pointless to one will seem essential to another. This is why I wish sometimes we could ratchet back the feature-bloat gripes a bit, since one person's bloat is another person's perfect expansion. (I will not rant about emojis, I will not rant about emojis....)

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

nor do I have the kinds of formatting issues mentioned here

There are all sorts of "issues"; I just don't let them bother me (much)
The Evernote editor is not a tool I choose if I need a formatted document.
The features differ by platform, but my expectation is basic note features - I'm rarely disappointed.

Share this post


Link to post
On 12/24/2018 at 4:51 PM, mikelee02 said:

 

*******
1-Star Review, Apple App Store
Headline
: Bloatware: Fails at Basics, Too Many Extraneous Features

 

I DO NOT NEED TEMPLATES, DARK MODE, WORK CHAT,

Those three are my almost most important features 🙂 so, it depends on you...after one year with DEVONthink I migrated about 75% of my work back to Evernote - both have now there special need and I use them both. Evernote is so nice & efficient and I‘ve alteady re-worked my workflow during migrating, re-migrating and re-re-migrating (don‘t tell anyone how much time I spent) - I love Evernote Tags, Note taking capabilities and it just works perfect, esp. on mobile devices - the area DEVONthink fails.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...