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Luis@WS

Why is Evernote so inconsistent between platforms?

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I use Evernote on Mac, Windows, Iphone and Ipad and I cannot understand why is the interface different between platforms. I understand that its just not possible for it to be identical on all platforms but I am talking about trivial things. For example:

  • To-Do lists - you can indent them on Windows and iphone but not on Mac
  • Strikethrough - there is a button to strikethrough text on Window and iPhone but not on Mac
  • Notebook stacks - you can create stacks on mac, windows and iphone but not on iPad. For the life of me I cannot understand why is Ipad the only place where you can't do notebook stacks??
  • Favorites - you can designate notes as favorites on Iphone only
  • Indent - there is an indent button on iPhone, ipad and Windows but not on Mac
  • Ink note - exists in Windows but mac, iphone, iPad. Why?? This is so useful
  • Highlight - there is a [!] button on iPad, iPhone but not on Mac

I could go on for a while but the point being that some consistency between major platforms I would think it's a given. Heck you would think at least all Apple platforms would be consistent. I am sure I am not the only one out there that switches between Mac and Windows computers on a regular basis.

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All we really know is that it's different teams, different priorities, and different software maturity for the different platforms. They aim for parity over time, but are not always there at any one point in time.

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Hmmm...thanks for responding. Too bad that is not much consolation. I would be interested to hear if there is any way of making some of this fixes yourself.

Of course it would be best if the Evernote people could chime in and propose any immediate solutions or take note for future improvements.

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Hmmm...thanks for responding. Too bad that is not much consolation. I would be interested to hear if there is any way of making some of this fixes yourself.

Of course it would be best if the Evernote people could chime in and propose any immediate solutions or take note for future improvements.

Evernote staff have said that they are aiming for more consistency across clients. There are many examples like the ones you listed. In my opinion, the Windows client is a kind of gold standard they ought to be working towards, because it has a lot of wonderful features that I dearly miss on all of the other clients.

I doubt the developers would agree, though, because some features that remain on Windows like search explanations (so you know how you are filtering your notes) were removed from the Mac (a very sad day), and things like the vertical list view were added to Windows but not the Mac (a great day for Windows users), so I get the sense that parity may be limited to a few core features like notebooks, tags, and basic rich text editing.

I guess time will tell.

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Of course it would be best if the Evernote people could chime in and propose any immediate solutions or take note for future improvements.

The number of posts by Evernote staff seems to have fallen off quite a bit over the past year.

There used to be daily participation by the staff in the forum.

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In my opinion, the Windows client is a kind of gold standard they ought to be working towards, because it has a lot of wonderful features that I dearly miss on all of the other clients.

As unusual as it is for me to find something in Windows that is better than in Mac I agree with you there. I also find Evernote in Windows much better than in Mac.

But still I find the most egregious of all faults is that Notebook Stacks are not supported on iPad...I can't make sense of this.

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Hmmm...thanks for responding. Too bad that is not much consolation. I would be interested to hear if there is any way of making some of this fixes yourself.

Since their API is published, anyone who wants to make their own Evernote client can do so, but that's not a trivial undertaking.

Of course it would be best if the Evernote people could chime in and propose any immediate solutions or take note for future improvements.

Since Evernote don't typically release their roadmaps before they ship product, there are probably no immediate solutions available. They do take suggestions (and they certainly know about the lack of support for nested tags on iOS), but their priorities and goals are their business.

Note that Favorites on the iPhone has been replaced on other mobile platforms by Offline Notebooks.

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Products are all a bit different because each platform has different visual requirements, interface requirements, and functionality. The teams work closely together to build parity of features but each platform will always look different.

Also, you may not always see us, but Evernote staff watch the forums pretty closely. Most of us get at least email digests of updates, while the product managers hunt their specific forums carefully.

-Brian, Evernote

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Thank you, Brian, and welcome to your first post. We do feel your ghostly presence behind the walls...

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Thank you, Brian, and welcome to your first post. We do feel your ghostly presence behind the walls...

I think this is Brian's second post. I distinctly remember welcoming him already. Nevermind -- welcome to the forums! You have officially spoken more in public than some Supreme Court justices!

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I was just going by the forum counter; by that accounting, Brian is #!! :)

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Brian, thanks for taking the time to respond.

I completely agree that all platforms will not look the same, it's just not possible. But what I was referring to IMO are basics of how Evernote works and the fact that I am sure there are plenty of users that like me go from Windows to iPhone/Ipad to Mac on a daily basis. So although all the platforms offer all of the same features the fact that they are located in different places and function differently basically makes one feel you have to learn Evernote 3 or 4 times over.

I still cannot get over the fact that Ipad does not support notebook stacks... ;)

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Brian, thanks for taking the time to respond.

I completely agree that all platforms will not look the same, it's just not possible. But what I was referring to IMO are basics of how Evernote works and the fact that I am sure there are plenty of users that like me go from Windows to iPhone/Ipad to Mac on a daily basis. So although all the platforms offer all of the same features the fact that they are located in different places and function differently basically makes one feel you have to learn Evernote 3 or 4 times over.

I still cannot get over the fact that Ipad does not support notebook stacks... ;)

A lot of that is platform maturity, and the fact we have independent teams. I'll try to give a few examples.

When Android launched, some people looked over at our iOS client that had 2 years of development and asked why it was missing X feature. Personally, I think that's an unfair criticism. There's no way we could launch with parity. (Please remember this when my Windows 8 client gets launched... :P )

Stacks on iOS was one of those features that didn't make launch and I know it seems crazy that we haven't included it yet. But statistically, very few notebooks belong to a stack. The absolute number has gone up a lot recently, but the overall percentage is still quite low. I believe the percentage is still in the single digits. We've also spent a lot of resources on improving rich text editing, offline notebooks, launching yinxiang.com and a few other things. This doesn't mean stacks aren't overdue, I'm just trying to help illustrate how we got here.

Another issue is that the "basics" or "core features" of Evernote vary from person to person. Some people heavily rely on nested tags, while a huge percentage of users don't have any tags. As far as where stuff is, a lot of that depends on platform. We don't start with the Windows client and figure out how to port onto the other platforms. We're aiming for some more consistency, but we essentially start over on each platform and optimize for that platform.

And onto my last point, independent teams. So I'd like to clarify that independent teams mean they move at a different pace with different deadlines and different priorities. This includes different designers and product managers and different overall goals. One thing we've been seeing is that as tablets are getting a lot more usage in people's everyday lives. What used to be a platform that only needed to perform a few things on the go, are becoming closer to being replacements for desktops and laptops. (People go to bed with these things now!) This moves the goalposts a bit, but it's something we're adjusting to.

Hope that helps!

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Dlu, this helps a lot to understand you guys better, thanks for taking the time. I knew there is another side of the coin, I just did not know what it was.

Can't wait for stacks to make it into the Ipad and for the strikethrough button to make it into Mac... :D You do those two things and you would make my day :wub:

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Great post, dlu, thanks. Should be pinned.

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As far as where stuff is, a lot of that depends on platform. We don't start with the Windows client and figure out how to port onto the other platforms. We're aiming for some more consistency, but we essentially start over on each platform and optimize for that platform.

I'm okay with "we essentially start over on each platform", but it would be nice if teams would inform each other about their independent solutions to problems to avoid cross-client interface inconsistency. "Independent" need not mean "incommunicado".

I have some vague impression that the company wants to provide more interface consistency, and I encourage that. Multi-client users would like to be able to transfer habits back and forth between/among clients. I also understand there are plenty of suggestions that need evaluation before development happens.

My personal nitpicks about Windows/Mac client inconsistency are:

  • The location of the dropdown list of notebooks in the note panel and window. They are literally on opposite edges of the panel in the two clients.
  • The method for removing tags from notes in that same panel. On Windows, the tag gets a little "x" on mouseover that can be clicked to delete the tag. On Mac, you have to double-click the tag, which reduces it to text which can be deleted.

Since tagging note and moving them from one notebook to another are common tasks for me, these little things grow to be aggravating. I'm sure these are no big deal to plenty of other people.

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As far as where stuff is, a lot of that depends on platform. We don't start with the Windows client and figure out how to port onto the other platforms. We're aiming for some more consistency, but we essentially start over on each platform and optimize for that platform.

I'm okay with "we essentially start over on each platform", but it would be nice if teams would inform each other about their independent solutions to problems to avoid cross-client interface inconsistency. "Independent" need not mean "incommunicado".

I have some vague impression that the company wants to provide more interface consistency, and I encourage that. Multi-client users would like to be able to transfer habits back and forth between/among clients. I also understand there are plenty of suggestions that need evaluation before development happens.

My personal nitpicks about Windows/Mac client inconsistency are:

  • The location of the dropdown list of notebooks in the note panel and window. They are literally on opposite edges of the panel in the two clients.
  • The method for removing tags from notes in that same panel. On Windows, the tag gets a little "x" on mouseover that can be clicked to delete the tag. On Mac, you have to double-click the tag, which reduces it to text which can be deleted.

Since tagging note and moving them from one notebook to another are common tasks for me, these little things grow to be aggravating. I'm sure these are no big deal to plenty of other people.

So I wouldn't say we're incommunicado, but rather we're not beholden to any decisions made by other teams.

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Hi all,

 

I totally get that the interfaces can't possibly be identical, especially between desktop and mobile,

but there are some functionality issues as well.

I am a very new user of EN but I've stumbled upon some issues already in trying to establish my workflow.

 

Example 1: Reminders don't show up in List view in Windows but only in snippet or card view,

which means that you can't have reminders visible and sort notes by tag in that platform.

That's perfectly possible in EN for mac. If I want or have to use both platforms this makes me very uncomfortable

as I have to change between views all the time.

 

Example 2: I've set some saved searches as shortcuts on my mac based on the "reminderTime" term,

which don't work on windows.

 

Example 3: Less important but still...the toolbar cannot be customised on the mac while it nicely can on windows.

 

I don't see how these issues are a matter of stylistic preference or platform-sensitive restrictions.

In my opinion they should work on both platforms.

 

Example 4: Reminder completeness couldn't synchronise from EN for android to EN for desktop, 

but maybe that's just a fluke as it only happened once so far.

 

Many people work today on different platforms whether they like it or not,

and issues like these are distractive or even disruptive.

I really like all the cool features that Evernote has integrated so far in it's clients for all platforms

and the intention I see from Evernote in making a useful product,

but I suspect most users value first stability and a minimum level of consistency.

I understand that most of my listed issues are with the reminders which is a relatively new feature

and I would prefer it if these issues are addressed in the right way even if it takes time;

I just hope that EN are aware of them.

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My solution for Evernote consistency and fewer problems?

  • I deleted the Evernote Android app from my cell phone. 
  • I never use the Evernote web version.
  • I do not use the share feature with other Evernote accounts.
  • I only run Evernote with my Windows desktop computer.

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My situation is a bit more complex than that:

The computer I use is Linux. There is no EN client for Linux yet, so I have to use EN for windows through a virtual machine.

My desktop at home is also running windows, but I prefer the EN mac client because it does everything I need.

Reminders on Android are also very helpful.

As I said, I don't mind the inconsistencies, except when they undermine EN's functionality.

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Why is Evernote *still* so inconsistent between platforms, especially Windows and Mac?

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Because EN has opted not to fix it at this point.

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1 hour ago, csihilling said:

Because EN has opted not to fix it at this point.

At this point? EN Windows and Mac client are inconsistent since ages!

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Yeah, it's been at this point for a long time!

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8 hours ago, akrde said:

Why is Evernote *still* so inconsistent between platforms, especially Windows and Mac?

There can be only one answer:  Because Evernote management does not think it is important.

However, hopefully that is the OLD management (the Phil Libin era).  Evernote has announced and is in the process of rolling out a new common editor, starting with EN Mac, and then EN Win.  Hopefully we will see more parity and commonality in the near future.

Meanwhile, you may want to highlight this issue in the relevant EN Mac and EN Win new release threads:

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I Couldnt agree more!  It is absolutely ridiculous.  I LOVE the windows look, and its very easy to organize notes.  Its simple.  You have all your notes on the land hand side like an outlook folder list that you can move all around with ease, and better, sort with ease....


AND THEN.... for some ODD reason, on the mac version, it is absolutely atrocious.  Instead of making it that simple (literally its the same amount of window space so why so hard?), you have options on the left that nobody cares about (tags, atlas, trash), and it shows only recent notes.  You have to CLICK on notes or notebooks (different options, lame), and it takes up the WHOLE WINDOW NOW to show you your selections.  Then you have to click on your notebook, then your note.  Literally, 2-3 more clicks to get to your note instead of windows where it is a simple 2 clicks from beginning to end.  Click on notebook - click on the note.  

WORSE, with mac, God forbid if you want to SORT your notes.  Because now you have to find your note, do a RIGHT CLICK, and move it.  Just a disaster the way that this is laid out.  Its amazing how a company as big as evernote has allowed such a disaster with their mac version of evernote.  

Also, side note, they have totally destroyed their iphone mobile app view.  Their old evernote app look was PERFECT.  Now, when you open it, maybe it tries to sync or something right away, because it always freezes when you open it, and god forbid you do a search (because the new look makes it harder to get to your note), because the search will then freeze.  Clicking on the note is another freeze.  Updating the note now, and then i have had issues where the sync doesnt appear right away like it did.

Why is evernote going downhill so badly? 

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This is the only thing that makes me wary of using Evernote too deeply. You start using a table one device, can't edit the cell colours on another or straight away there's no table functionality. Same with highlighting and probably many other options I can't think about. 

I can see now that it's probably because different platforms are different teams working on it, but I'd have thought that a software that markets itself as "use your note anywhere on anything" and tries to sell the premium feature of using Evernote on many devices, would at least have it as a priority that users can continue their work between different devices?

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