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NightStalker

(Archived) Time for a re-think?

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I've been an Evernote user since just about the beginning, and have multiple family members all on Premium accounts as well. I have a large number of notes and have established a pretty intuitive workflow as to how I use EN, including how I find stuff and how I edit stuff.

Now I've also been following these forums for a long time, especially the Mac and the iOS ones recently, and it sure seems to me that there is WAY more grumpiness (sorry, Grumpy) and dissatisfaction with the new ENv5 on both the Mac and the iOS platforms, especially the iPad version.

There have been far too many complaints of stuff that has been removed, or apparently changed just for the sake of it, plus never-ending requests for features that we never get, like List view on the iPad.

Surely, given the amount of negative feedback you're getting on the various Evernote development teams, it must be about time that you took a deep breath, took a step back, and thought "Hmmm - maybe they all DO have something?" Maybe it's time to go back to the way things were, then actually IMPROVE on those. What I mean by that is to leave everything that was in the previous version ALONE, and only ADD one or two extra things - like List view on the iPad. It all worked. It worked well. There was/is absolutely NO need to change it. It ain't broke, and didn't need fixing.

Whoever planned or decreed the new paradigm, especially the UI, and whoever made the (silly) decisions to remove stuff (like the configurable toolbar, the back/forward arrows etc) and all the other stuff that you must be getting sick of reading in here by now - please PLEASE admit you got it wrong! Just admit that this was a bummer of an "upgrade". It would get a lot more respect for a company to be able to do that (like the Skitch debacle) than to push on blindly trying to fix the unfixable. Or to appear to have the attitude of f*ck the customers - we'll make them work the way WE want them to work.

I really do think that it is time for both the Mac and the iOS teams to stop, re-assess what has happened here, and go back to square one. And rethink what NEEDS to be done to the previous version, rather than all these silly changes for the sake of it. Things like the "Premium Features" tab in the iOS version - who the heck needs that? it is just two settings that once set, you never need again - yet the tab takes up all that screen real estate forever... And put back the toolbar configuration in the Mac version. Go back to the way tags worked, with the ability to drag a note to a tag, or a tag to a note. All the things from these forums, in fact.

Time for a re-think? I think so.....

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LOL this is a little more than double posting!

I think we have got as close as we are going to get, on the re-think type response....

Peter, Rob, Mike, cooltunes,

Sorry you felt surprised. We did our best to let users know this change was coming. We sent a large email blast to every Evernote Mac user, as well as

, summary page, and in-depth guide about Mac v5. More importantly though, we are definitely listening to our users. Every post here gets read by (potentially multiple) Evernote employees and if you post in the Mac section, it will definitely get read by the dev/management team (hi, my name is Jack).

We are working as fast as we can to address your concerns. My advice is to keep your clients updated and eyes peeled for new versions.

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Now I've also been following these forums for a long time, especially the Mac and the iOS ones recently, and it sure seems to me that there is WAY more grumpiness (sorry, Grumpy) and dissatisfaction with the new ENv5 on both the Mac and the iOS platforms, especially the iPad version.

I can't take responsibility for all grumpiness on these forums :)

I think we have made our thoughts pretty clear on these forums, and as mentioned above, the developers have given their responses. I agree with some of the things you said (I would have avoided the cursing, though). I also think we can, and should keep making suggestions for improvement. However, at this point I'd say it's probably more productive to figure out workarounds for our own use cases that will get us as much as possible out of what we have available to us.

I think we have built up a lot of helpful tips already.

For OSX

- In order to deal with the lack of navigational buttons in OSX, you can use CMD when clicking on a link to open the note in its own window. It's not ideal, but it works.

- In order to deal with the lack of numbers, you can use CMD + A to select all of your notes and see how many are in a notebook.

- In order to deal with the lack of a Vertical List View, you can use the Windows version in Parallels.

For iOS

- In order to deal with the lack of a reverse sort order, create targeted saved searches that return fewer results.

- In order to deal with the lack of note link creation, on the desktop you can make a master note full of note links to every note, and copy/paste from that while working in iOS.

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Thanks Grumpy - I know you realise I wasn't blaming you for the grumpiness - the apology was for taking your name in vain! ;)

And thanks for that good summary of workarounds. But my point remains - we really should NOT be having to come up with workarounds for something that has already matured into an outstanding program, but that has now been crippled by an overzealous "upgrade" and some amazingly bad decisions.

The workarounds may get us some way back to the way it was - although a full rollback is the better way IMHO, and which is what I have done, both on the Macs and on the iDevices.

But it really shouldn't be that way. I have been involved in beta testing various programs for decades - literally - and I really can't remember a so-called upgrade that was as bad as this, to the point where we need workarounds to be able to do things we used to do easily.

And that's why I'm suggesting that maybe it is time for Evernote to just STOP - draw the line in the sand - and re-think how they've done this. We can't ALL be wrong, surely? Go back a step, and try again, like a rock-climber would do. The inability to accept that this has been a disaster, one huge mistake or a series of them, may spell the death knell of one of my favourite companies. I've seen it happen before. And i won't even begin to compare this upgrade with Microsoft and Vista, which was the beginning of the end of Windows as far as I'm concerned. And why I switched to the Mac. It is no coincidence that Windows XP is still the most-used OS on the planet. And most of those who use newer OSs have acquired them pre-installed on new hardware, not upgraded by choice. I can see Evernote heading down a similar pathway if they don't accept that they got it wrong.

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OK - first, apologies for cross-posting in the Mac and iOS sections, but the forum software will only allow one category at a time.

I took the liberty of deleting your double post and putting this into the general Evernote forum. I think it is fair to say that everyone is interested in this, after all. In the Windows and Android forums we already have people talking about the recent updates as well.

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No worries, Grumpy - I didn't think to do it that way. Good thinking, 99.... ;)

I haven't been following the Windows and Android forums, so that info that they are discussing it there too is very interesting. Thanks :)

EDIT: And I've edited the original post to remove the reference to the double posting, in case it confuzzles folks..!

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The main issue with Ver 5 (Mac and iOS) is that Evernote has violated a basic design best practice and put form over function.

Just in case this is not clear, it means that you greatly sacrificed sorely needed functionality in order to provide us with what you think (but we don't so much) is a "cool" new UI.

Please quit trying to win the "coolest UI of the year award" and focus on providing us with rich functionality that is intuitive, easy-to-use, and doesn't get in our way. I know this is hard to do, but please give it your best effort.

EN Mac should have all of the functions of EN Win, and EN iPad should provide as many of these functions as the iOS will allow you to do so.

This would be a great starting point. Get this done, and then you can start working off the list of popular enhancement requests.

One more time: Quit s c r e w i n g around with the UI to make it pretty or cool.

Thanks.

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It is no coincidence that Windows XP is still the most-used OS on the planet.

Not sure what this means to your argument (I don't have much of a dog in the Mac/iOS fights), but it's not clear that this is true any longer, at least by this account: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57505093-75/windows-7-overtakes-xp-as-mac-os-x-passes-vista/. :) I skipped Vista and moved happily on to Win 7 from many years of XP usage, without looking back. Win 8, we'll see...

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The main issue with Ver 5 (Mac and iOS) is that Evernote has violated a basic design best practice and put form over function.

Just in case this is not clear, it means that you greatly sacrificed sorely needed functionality in order to provide us with what you think (but we don't so much) is a "cool" new UI.

Please quit trying to win the "coolest UI of the year award" and focus on providing us with rich functionality that is intuitive, easy-to-use, and doesn't get in our way. I know this is hard to do, but please give it your best effort.

EN Mac should have all of the functions of EN Win, and EN iPad should provide as many of these functions as the iOS will allow you to do so.

This would be a great starting point. Get this done, and then you can start working off the list of popular enhancement requests.

One more time: Quit s c r e w i n g around with the UI to make it pretty or cool.

Thanks.

It's kind of weird that everyone considers Windows to be the gold standard in terms of functionality (has anyone ever tried to argue that the Mac has more functions / customizability?), but OSX and iOS are not going in that direction as far as I can tell, so I wonder if there is another design principle at work that we canot see. I am genuinely curious (not in a critical way) why developers wouldn't just try to get as close as possible to the Windows interface. Maybe, if we knew, we wouldn't see so much frustration.

For example (this is an old question / request I posted for a while, but have stopped rquesting in recent months), why can I resize a note window as small as I like on Windows, but the OSX window refuses to go smaller than about 1/4 the (11" MBA) screen? It's not a big deal (hahaha -- another good pun) but it is a daily annoyance, and I never have understood why it has to be so unwieldy. Surely, there is a purpose, because it remains unchange in every update. I just wish I knew where we are going, if it isn't towards Windows.

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OK - point taken about WinXP - but the mere fact that it still accounts for about 42.5% of the OSs - and it's an 11-year old OS - is telling. People don't like change for the sake of change. They like things to work in familiar ways once they've got used to it. THAT is the point I was trying to make - albeit not very well, it seems ;)

Personally, I hate Win 7 - but that's just me objecting to Microsoft treating me like an idiot to protect me from myself. And one of the main reasons I switched to MacOS. And the main reason for the increase in Windows 7 users is, as I said above, the fact that it has been standard install on all new machines for the last few years now. No option BUT to go with Win7 if you want Windows.

The point of relevance to Evernote is that they have - or had - an absolutely stunning and winning idea and execution. OK - I didn't much care for the bland all-grey Lion icons when Evernote conformed to that awful idea. But it has evolved by ADDING functionality, improving its speed, improving the accuracy of the OCR at the server level, and by being truly cross platform. Yes - there have been differences BETWEEN platforms, but nothing that actually impeded its functionality (apart from the lack of List view on the iPad).

But now, with this latest abomination of an "upgrade" they have really blown it. And they have two choices: they can brazen it out, saying that they know better, and that we will have to like it or lump it, or they can do as I suggested in my original post above, and STOP NOW, and have a bloody good rethink, a critical appraisal, and ACCEPT that they didn't get it right.

My analogy above of the rock climber may be appropriate. If you get into a situation where to push on gets more and more dodgy, you retrace to a point of relative safety and look for another way. That's what Evernote need to do now. RIGHT now. Don't bluster it out and become another Microsoft in attitude. Be responsive, admit the problem, and try again. Should be simple, really - apart from pride getting in the way....

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Great ongoing products are to a large degree created by user feedback and demand.

Evernote, on a poor-fair-good-excellent scale is fairly poor at even the perception that user feedback is remotely important to them.

It seems they have their agenda and thats it.

Creating a vehicle for this isnt hard to do.

This whole thread is about people completely in the dark about what Evernotes thinking or intentions are. That shouldnt be.

Most companies survive by meeting user expectations.

Phil isnt a people-dumb guy either. Seems to have good EQ.

They need professional intervention in setting up user relations.

Like soon!

Edited by rockky

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Great ongoing products are to a large degree created by user feedback and demand.

Evernote, on a poor-fair-good-excellent scale is fairly poor at even the perception that user feedback is remotely important to them.

It seems they have their agenda and thats it.

Creating a vehicle for this isnt hard to do.

This whole thread is about people completely in the dark about what Evernotes thinking or intentions are. That shouldnt be.

Most companies survive by meeting user expectations.

Phil isnt a people-dumb guy either. Seems to have good EQ.

They need professional intervention in setting up user relations.

Like soon!

I don't know about this. I have no idea what Apple is going to do next, but I trust that it will be something ambitious and interesting. I have no idea what Google is going to do next, but I feel the same way about them. Evernote is just another company with an interesting vision about what it wants to do and no intention of giving away their plans to all of their competitors. It makes sense to me. I'd like to know more, but I can accept that I probably won't.

As for customer feedback, there are only a few hundred of us regularly posting on the forums, and there are 40 million users out there. It might be that we happen to want something that neither the designers nor the majority of the users want to see. There will be some give and take as the developers implement some of our suggestions, and decide not to implement others, but in the end, the direction they choose will be their own (that is their job, after all), and we'll have to adapt as necessary. All of the Evernote apps are perfectly usable. Some are better than others for my use case, but that is about it.

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Great ongoing products are to a large degree created by user feedback and demand.

Evernote, on a poor-fair-good-excellent scale is fairly poor at even the perception that user feedback is remotely important to them.

It seems they have their agenda and thats it.

Creating a vehicle for this isnt hard to do.

This whole thread is about people completely in the dark about what Evernotes thinking or intentions are. That shouldnt be.

Most companies survive by meeting user expectations.

Phil isnt a people-dumb guy either. Seems to have good EQ.

They need professional intervention in setting up user relations.

Like soon!

I'm game for some friendly sparring on this. The new versions of Mac and iOS, though we have work to do (see our 5.0.1 update to Mac, for example) are overall receiving extremely strong and positive (and in some instances overwhelmingly positive) feedback from across our user base. I think there are important design questions being asked from users and we are listening, but these aren't broken applications by any stretch of the imagination. And many of the choices made in both 5s were based on user testing and surveys on how users actually use Evernote.

Just one example: users have been asking for better sharing and combined notebooks for some time--and I'm sort of at a loss when I can't find any mention now that all shared and private notebooks are now in one pane, and how you can stack shared notebooks--this is a massive, organizationally productive change. Massive--both from a backend perspective and a UI perspective.

To your point about user feedback--we aren't perfect by any means, but we're working daily on getting better. Look (again) at 5.0.1 for Mac. Almost 100% of that update is based on user feedback. We had 4 weeks of closed/private beta we ran on Mac, plus 2 weeks of public beta--we incorporated feedback throughout that entire development process. What's more, we're actively building out beta programs to incorporate user feedback earlier in the design process. I've been running an announcement for months (and I still owe some users access emails, I know it!) asking for beta testers. Additionally, you have employees constantly active on the forum--not always responding, but watching--and ensuring feedback is taken into account across all of the platforms and products. And i know they are, I can monitor employee activity because I'm the admin.

So from my internal perspective, and from the perspective of every Product Manager, user feedback is constantly taken into account during the design process and for the life of the version. If it's not self-evident, then I guess we just need to talk about it more.

As for company intentions--well, we can talk about that too. I think you know the overarching goals of Evernote already. The ethos for individual new versions is almost always laid out in blog posts--in particular Mac 5 was focused on ensuring we improved the expanded role of search and sharing within Evernote, which were immensely strengthened in the latest version. There were very large-scope changes we sought to make here, and I think that's reflected in the new app.

For kicks, I'd like to hear what products are built entirely based on ongoing user feedback. I'm not being argumentative for arguments sake, or being snide here. I'm genuinely wondering what products are the result of a pure democratic process. I think we're doing a pretty decent job at gathering user feedback, and can be doing a better job of course, but trust that the end goal is not 100% incorporation of user feedback, because user feedback is not a single, easy to categorize and act upon request. It's an amalgam of competing requests, not necessarily in synchrony or harmony.

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For kicks, I'd like to hear what products are built entirely based on ongoing user feedback. I'm not being argumentative for arguments sake, or being snide here. I'm genuinely wondering what products are the result of a pure democratic process.

As best I can tell, even Linux is not wholly a democracy. I think that Linus holds pretty tightly to the reins of the kernel code. Doesn't mean that you can't fork off and do your own thing, but you may not get your stuff accepted back into the mainstream.

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@gbarry: thanks for joining in - appreciated. All your points are well taken, and of course the company has to try to cater for 40-odd million users. Personally, I never use shared notebooks etc - but I'm totally awake to the fact that many do, so having them in there is a plus.

No - the things that have let down this v5 upgrade so badly are the extremely strange design decisions that have been made, and that are being discussed at great length on the Mac and iOS forums, such as:

- why REMOVE things that worked and worked well, eg the configurable Toolbar in the Mac version - surely an Apple standard?

- why have a List view on the iPhone, with its small screen space, yet none on the iPad where so much more could be shown?

- why REMOVE the ability to drag tags onto notes, or notes onto tags?

etc, etc etc - the forums are full of them. These decisions to actually REMOVE working features that are at LEAST as useful as shared notebooks (but to different people maybe) is truly baffling.

The update also crashes for many, is grindingly slow for many (including me before I rolled back).

What's with that silly "Premium Features" tab on the iOS version, with two settings that get set once only and are then never needed again - but we can't get rid of it? It's worse than the ads we pay Premium fees to get rid of..!

And so it goes on. As posted above - I've been with Evernote just about from the beginning. And countless other pieces of software since 1975. And I cannot recall a single one that went so far BACKWARDS in terms of functionality as this one has. It should have been an evolutionary upgrade, adding and tweaking things, since it already worked so well. Instead, it is devolutionary, has been made to LOOK prettier, but has had so much function REMOVED that it beggars belief that it would even occur to anyone to even THINK about doing that!

Sorry - but I'm staying with the previous versions on both Mac and iOS until Evernote gets back on track.

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For kicks, I'd like to hear what products are built entirely based on ongoing user feedback. I'm not being argumentative for arguments sake, or being snide here. I'm genuinely wondering what products are the result of a pure democratic process. I think we're doing a pretty decent job at gathering user feedback, and can be doing a better job of course, but trust that the end goal is not 100% incorporation of user feedback, because user feedback is not a single, easy to categorize and act upon request. It's an amalgam of competing requests, not necessarily in synchrony or harmony.

LOL very good. I have been using such a product recently and its pretty good but lacks obvious functions which have yet to bubble to the top of the user requested/voted for features! http://ideas.ecwid.com/forums/22031-customer-suggestions-ideas-for-ecwid/filters/top

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Where is the part of this forum where EN reps interact with users concerning concerns?

There isnt one.

Sugarcoat it anyway U like.

Thats poor.

The 5 or 6 major productivity apps Im involved with have those vehicles...either by way of 'get satisfaction', their own forums, facebook, blogs, google±.

Many have all 5.

That's good.

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Where is the part of this forum where EN reps interact with users concerning concerns?

There isnt one.

Sugarcoat it anyway U like.

Thats poor.

The 5 or 6 major productivity apps Im involved with have those vehicles...either by way of 'get satisfaction', their own forums, facebook, blogs, google±.

Many have all 5.

That's good.

Evernote representatives regularly interact with users in all of the forums. In fact, there is one who posted a few minutes ago right above you.

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Agreed that Evernote personnel do inhabit these forums, and do post - maybe not answering all the questions though.

For example - I am still waiting for an answer to my question as to just WHY features were removed - like the configurable toolbar, the tag-dragging, etc? Nobody has yet actually posted an answer as to whether or not those were mistakes, or deliberate design decisions, and if the latter - WHY?

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Clearly they were deliberate design decisions - I don't see any particular reason why an employee should come on here and explain to you why though.

This isn't a democracy, this is their business, their livelihoods and they manage it as they see fit.

The sooner people realise that despite many of us finding Evernote a very useful service we can only have the tiniest impact (if any) on how it develops. Libin and co have made it very clear that they build software that is useful for themselves and that they hope/think will be useful for the user base too.

Personally, I think it's a pretty arrogant way to work, in my world we involve users from day 1 and all the way through the development process. I'm sure Evernote will tell you that they are all users and so are consulted throughout their process. The difference is Evernote is 300 people in Silicon Valley and their user base is 40m+ people around the world and so there is no sensible way that they can be gathering useful feedback.

Now Geoff will point to the beta programs and there's some value in that - but we can also point to a Skitch release that was so bad that one of the original founders had to publish a back peddling blog post about it. The version 5 releases have been interesting too, items that were discussed a lot during the beta phase (note counts, list view etc) were not included, maybe because of time constraints or maybe because the Evernote team did not see the value in them. Seems like it's at this point when a bit of complaining on here can have an impact as some of these things are returning.

In the end though, it's a $45 a year service that is being run as a business that is aiming for an IPO. What really matters as far as that IPO valuation is concerned is going to be number of users which seems to be on a steep upwards curve (doesn't hurt that Japanese phone companies and printer manufacturers are giving away accounts) and the ability to be able to convert a pretty small percentage of that user base to Premium. I'm guessing Libin will point to the growth as success and I can't argue with that.

I should add that I think the Mac app is really pretty good, the sharing and search features that Geoff mentions above are really powerful improvements. Some of the stuff that was taken away seems to me to be really dumb - I can't think of another app that doesn't let me configure my toolbar - but overall I like it. The iOS app, well, I'm not such a fan of...

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I fall into the camp of those who don't like the updates. I haven't updated on my Mac (and not planning to), and I really regret upgrading my iOS devices. I don't agree with the way things seem to be moving. Given the lack of Evernote comments on the design aspect, I'm going to assume that either they or a significant portion of the 40m users think this folder-like interface is necessary for use. I'm not part of that group. I don't need more sharing options, and I don't need something to look like a folder to know what to tap on. And the less than stellar performance on the iPad (scrolling is painful - it literally hurts my eyes if I have to scroll through a note) has pushed me to rethink how I collect, store, and process information. Evernote is not even part of that discussion I'm having with myself.

If anything this whole upgrade has reminded me that when you use a service and keep things there, you are at their mercy. If they decided to remake the interface in Hello Kitty pink, you have to put up with it. I know this is always (or should always be) something to consider before using any cloud service, but I always felt Evernote was rather stable, both in terms of reliability and UI/design/performance. This update gives me reason to pause. It was more of a change than I would like to have seen (especially considering how well the previous versions just worked). Even if Evernote rolled everything back to pre-5 design and functionality, I don't know if I would renew my premium membership. They have been relatively quiet to the negative feedback which doesn't really make me believe they are listening to their users, and in the back of my head I know they have every right to do this same thing again further down the road. It's their business. But it's my money, and I'm going to think hard before trusting them with it in the future.

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Libin and co have made it very clear that they build software that is useful for themselves and that they hope/think will be useful for the user base too.

Personally, I think it's a pretty arrogant way to work, in my world we involve users from day 1 and all the way through the development process. I'm sure Evernote will tell you that they are all users and so are consulted throughout their process. The difference is Evernote is 300 people in Silicon Valley and their user base is 40m+ people around the world and so there is no sensible way that they can be gathering useful feedback.

I agree 100%. This is a very important point.

I'm game for some friendly sparring on this. The new versions of Mac and iOS, though we have work to do (see our 5.0.1 update to Mac, for example) are overall receiving extremely strong and positive (and in some instances overwhelmingly positive) feedback from across our user base. I think there are important design questions being asked from users and we are listening, but these aren't broken applications by any stretch of the imagination. And many of the choices made in both 5s were based on user testing and surveys on how users actually use Evernote.

gbarry, thanks for engaging in this discussion.

Although you assert that you are "overall receiving extremely strong and positive (and in some instances overwhelmingly positive) feedback from across our user base", I see little evidence of this. Can you please identify or point to where you see this?

A few users posting in these forums have stated they like the UI, and some of the new features (like sharing and searching).

But most of them then go on the express problems issues with the the design of Ver 5.

I have stated several times that, IMO, Evernote has failed to follow age-old design best practice of "form follows function."

How do you respond to this?

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I think 5.01 for the Mac is receiving good feedback on here, the 3 new features that were added are all things that existed in the pre v5 world and have been added back after lots of complaints during the beta and after release.

Slightly odd to celebrate taking away a feature and then putting it back again.

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Wow, so many fun conversations.

NightStalker - In Mac v5, we have ADDED a ton of new features to this latest release. Every decision, design, function, or "lack" thereof, was made consciously with a lot of thought. For example, drag and drop was removed temporarily while back end issues were worked out (it's been replaced in 5.0.1). Not allowing the toolbar to be customized was deliberate. I'm not saying it'll stay that way forever. I'm just saying there are plenty of other *very* successful Mac apps that do the same (Chrome is one example).

Basically, we're not trying to be jerks when we move the single note trash button out of the main toolbar and into the note editor. We're culling feedback/requirements from MANY different sources and optimizing. We don't think we know better than you.

Oh, and sorry for not answering *all* of your questions immediately. I was too busy implementing prior user requests for 5.0.1 :)

rockky - As GM mentioned, a quick scan of our forums will show that EN employees are very active. Get satisfaction is great too :)

applejosh - I hope you give the new Mac v5 a shot. I've posted before about us being forthright about the changes and we hope you like them.

JMichael - Nice new indy pic :) In this case, form absolutely followed function. Some examples (not in order of importance): Shortcuts, keyboard shortcuts to jump to notebooks, merging Account and Shared tabs, unified search with tokens, typeahead, Atlas. It also gave us an opportunity to skin the app. It wasn't the other way around.

Metrodon/JMichael re: building products for us (Evernote) - We have too many users to think that way. However, whether you would use a product yourself is an incredibly powerful gut-check before pushing a product out the door.

If this were a democracy and we let every single feature request in from these forums, this is what EN would look like http://goo.gl/uDZ0w :)

UPDATE: JMichael, the Mac App Store ratings/reviews are a good place to start for publicly available information regarding the reception of Mac v5.

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I think 5.01 for the Mac is receiving good feedback on here, the 3 new features that were added are all things that existed in the pre v5 world and have been added back after lots of complaints during the beta and after release.

Slightly odd to celebrate taking away a feature and then putting it back again.

Yep, one of the most pleasurable experiences is the removal of pain.

I'm not saying this was planned, but they gave us the pain of Ver 5, and then made us feel good by giving back (some of) what they took away.

Now we are oh so grateful.

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@Jack - really appreciate your interaction - thank you again :)

Just re the Toolbar configuration - I really can't figure out just WHY that deliberate decision was made. How can we put things back in there like Forward/Backward arrows? Or the New Note button? Or the Delete button? Or a Print button? All of which I had (actually I still have since rolling back - why would I want to get rid of those?)

I just don't "get it" I'm afraid - what purpose is served by taking that stuff OUT? Was it due to programming problems with the new interface? You quote Chrome as an example of an app that does NOT have a configurable toolbar - but at least it has tools on there, including forwards/back buttons, reload/stop, home page, and settings. But it doesn't have a Print button which is one reason I use Firefox as my default browser - I can make the toolbar however I want it. And Firefox has the Evernote clipper on it too...

Once again - I do appreciate you taking part in these discussions. But I still won't be going up to v5 until I can configure the toolbar, and drag tags onto notes. And I won't be upgrading my rolled-back iPad version until it gets a List view and gets rid of the silly Premium Features tab. ;) Sorry... ;)

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Per the CEO

With around 20 million users you must receive a lot of feature requests and suggestions. How do you manage all of them?

I think we may have just passed 23 million. We get quite a bit and we really want to hear from users and see what they think. We’ve found that different types of user feedback is relevant in different ways. The least relevant is when you ask users what should we build, having users do product design or feature roadmap for you doesn’t really work. Users aren’t designers they don’t particularly know what they want so in terms of how we decide what to build. We are the target market, we are the users that we want to build for. We build software that we want to use and so anytime we get a recommendation or suggestion for something new, the filter we run it through is whether it’s something we want to use. That does happen sometimes and if not then we don’t build it.

What user feedback is extremely useful for, is feedback about particular things that we’ve done that aren’t working particularly well that people aren’t understanding or that they don’t like. The negative feedback and the feedback about how to improve specific features, that is the most audible feedback. Feeback about big ideas are just as vocal, but less ultimately valuable.

So have you had any feature ideas yourself which you’ve managed to push through?

Everything we make is basically made for me, it’s what I want to use. For me and for the rest of the team, we’re a bunch of fairly like minded people, it’s a diverse group in terms of backgrounds and tastes and ages and demographics, but we’re all nerds and passionate about the idea of remembering things. So we really build things for ourselves. I guess I am kind of king of the nerds, so a lot of the stuff I want gets built.

http://doeswhat.com/2012/02/25/interview-with-phil-libin-evernote/

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Evernote used to do what I needed it to do. It did a lot of things I didn't need, but they didn't get in the way. Assuming that a major upgrade to a wonderful product would be better, I made the horrible mistake of upgrading to v5. Thank all the gods, of any kind, that I have Time Machine and use it!!

I agree with every negative comment on v5 I have read, here and elsewhere. I used to recommend this software to other authors. I will no longer do so. I will not upgrade again unless I am certain it has been restored to the full functionality it once had, but no longer does. When it comes time to renew my contract, I will be voting with my credit card—or not!

Microsoft decided that the interface to Word hadn't been changed in too long a time, so they broke what was a very functional interface and loaded the program with garbage. Several versions later, they are retracing their steps, though they still have a long way to go. I suggest, as others here have, that you admit that, "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but that turned out not to be the case," and fix what you just broke.

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If folks here think that the iPhone and iPad EN apps are terrible, then have they tried the "Clever" EN apps? These are 3rd party EN apps that are way, way better than the true EN apps. It's just amazing that the folks in Japan who code these apps really seem to understand the power of EN - in a way that the EN team themselves don't.

The even better news, is that the team in Japan may, just may, start to develop an EN app for the Mac. This would be amazingly fantastic news.

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If folks here think that the iPhone and iPad EN apps are terrible, then have they tried the "Clever" EN apps? These are 3rd party EN apps that are way, way better than the true EN apps. It's just amazing that the folks in Japan who code these apps really seem to understand the power of EN - in a way that the EN team themselves don't.

Evernote also provided the API that the "Clever" apps use. Evernote really seems to understand the power of a functional API, in a way that some users don't.Remember, a "Clever" customer is also (potentially) a paying Evernote customer.

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I have to agree with everything that NightStalker is saying here. But I do appreciate the feedback from the EN team.

I won't just repeat what NightStalker says - but it's tempting to spell it all out again!

What is really interesting, is that the EN team are just in the process of doing a massive back-track on Skitch - take a look a the EN blog. The same damage was done to Skitch that was done to EN.

I have to repeat what I have said before: Evernote is now THE most important and vital piece of software I have on my Mac. And I've been using Macs since 1986 and used to be a Mac dealer. EN is a truly revolutionary program, and the EN team should be aiming big: the business and corporate market. For that, you need a professional, slick app with many, great stable features.

EN 5 breaks even basic, basic interface concepts such as how bad it is to have white text on a (almost) black background. What other major app has that? It's just so hard to read.

I really think that something has gone terribly wrong.

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@jefito: I appreciate your post, and yes, I got the irony ;)

But the Clever apps, particularly CleverHD for the iPad does everything that the new v5 iPad Evernote doesn't. It's brilliant. The only thing it is missing is the offline storage - which is currently a big negative for those of use who use Evernote in places where we can't always be online (like in an operating theatre/room in my case, for example). I contacted the Clever developer, and he replied within minutes - twice. He explained that they use the Evernote API, but they don't have access to the LOCAL Evernote database. Which is a great pity, because if Clever were somehow to implement local storage, then we'd have it taking up twice as much room as necessary, being stored twice.

I know I've suggested in other posts that maybe Evernote should look at the UI of the CleverHD app for iPad - but how difficult would it be to give CleverHD access to the local Evernote database on board the iPad or iPhone? Then users would have choices - Evernote old version, Evernote new version, or CleverHD.

I'm currently using CleverHD for reading access, FastEver for note creation, and Evernote previous version for syncing and downloading to local offline storage.

In an ideal world (yeah, right.. ;) ) the iOS version of Evernote would combine all the features of the previous version of Evernote, FastEver, and CleverHD all in one app - and without that "Premium Features" waste of space tab ....

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@NightStalker: I'm not being ironic (ok, the tone of my post, but otherwise, no). It's really a strength of Evernote that they provide the same API to their cloud services that others do. As for the local APIs, I wouldn't even guess why they're not made available -- I know that they're different on different OS's; on Windows it's a SQLlite database, I believe. Maybe it's just a "we don't want to support x local database architectures, in y number of versions". But there's nothing stopping any third-party developer from making their own database to store/cache notes. Sure, it'd use up more storage, but if the client is that much better than the Evernote client, then maybe you just pitch the Evernote client and use your favorite. Or eat the extra storage.

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NightStalker - In Mac v5, we have ADDED a ton of new features to this latest release. Every decision, design, function, or "lack" thereof, was made consciously with a lot of thought. For example, drag and drop was removed temporarily while back end issues were worked out (it's been replaced in 5.0.1). Not allowing the toolbar to be customized was deliberate. I'm not saying it'll stay that way forever. I'm just saying there are plenty of other *very* successful Mac apps that do the same (Chrome is one example).

Basically, we're not trying to be jerks when we move the single note trash button out of the main toolbar and into the note editor. We're culling feedback/requirements from MANY different sources and optimizing. We don't think we know better than you.

Yes, in Mac v5 you add a ton of new features, but you remove two tons of old features too. It makes me not appreciate your new features. And you can't compare Chrome with Evernote, it's different software for different uses. Evernote is for work not for browsing. I need only four main button for browsing, forward/backward, stop, and reload. But in Evernote I need more! And so are others. And their need would not be the same with me. That's why we need custom toolbar. And the situation you mentioned ( http://goo.gl/uDZ0w) won't come true if you allow us to customize ours. And about that "terrible situation" you mentioned is not that terrible to me. Take MS Word for example, it's ugly, but still the best word processing software we can get.

I must say that you are on a wrong way. Functions are more important then prettiness for a software. Please!

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Basically, we're not trying to be jerks when we move the single note trash button out of the main toolbar and into the note editor. We're culling feedback/requirements from MANY different sources and optimizing. We don't think we know better than you.

Jack, let me be clear. Although you just stated that "We don't think we know better than you", the facts suggest otherwise:

  1. Your CEO has stated that "The least relevant is when you ask users what should we build, having users do product design or feature roadmap for you doesn’t really work. Users aren’t designers they don’t particularly know what they want"
  2. Evernote's actions/design decisions that are opposite to what many, many users have asked for.
    • While in EN Mac Ver 3, many, many of us asked for more features to be on parity with EN Win.
    • What did you do in Ver 5: Reduced the features

Your design team appears to be relatively inexperienced:

  1. You continue to put more importance on producing a "beautiful, cool" UI than on providing core functionality
  2. You don't seem to understand the age-old rule "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

    1. Moving the Trash button is a perfect example.
    2. Making changes causes lots of confusion and relearning on the user's part.
    3. It is not worth a small improvement in efficiency or design to make a change like moving the Trash button.
    4. We used to have the View Buttons as options on the tool bar -- made it easy and convenient to change views
    5. Now you have moved it to the far right of the Notes window causing us to have to move the mouse pointer across the full screen when in List view, and we now have to make two clicks to change.
    6. What was wrong with the Trash button and View Buttons where they were on the Tool Bar???
    7. They don't seem to understand that readability is far more important that having a cool, low-contrast text (grey on grey)
      1. When visually scanning a lot of text/info on a screen, having clear, crisp, text is paramount
      2. This is obvious to anyone with less than perfect vision (typically men over 40)

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Hi guys,

For my part, no loss of data or synchronization problems (thank you God!) ...

And I'm getting used to this new interface finally, certainly less functional but pleasing to the eye ...

However, on IOS, tab "Premium" has absolutely no interest and occupies unnecessary space on the screen "more with less" iPhone ...

Functions to improve course, waiting for updates ...

Evernote is a great application become essential to my business and personal.

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In an ideal world (yeah, right.. ;) ) the iOS version of Evernote would combine all the features of the previous version of Evernote, FastEver, and CleverHD all in one app - and without that "Premium Features" waste of space tab ....

I think we have much better chances of Clever becoming the perfect iOS version of Evernote instead of the official app...

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If folks here think that the iPhone and iPad EN apps are terrible, then have they tried the "Clever" EN apps? These are 3rd party EN apps that are way, way better than the true EN apps. It's just amazing that the folks in Japan who code these apps really seem to understand the power of EN - in a way that the EN team themselves don't.

Evernote also provided the API that the "Clever" apps use. Evernote really seems to understand the power of a functional API, in a way that some users don't.Remember, a "Clever" customer is also (potentially) a paying Evernote customer.

I think the initial intent of open API was to make it possible for Evernote to integrate with third party apps, not for third party apps to completely replace Evernote official client.

Imho Evernote just got really lucky that Clever got developed, that's all... it wasn't a part of evernote super smart secret long term vision...

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Yup - if only Clever could have access to the Evernote local database, that would be fantastic. Would save double storage, if Clever got around to doing the local offline storage thing that some of us need.

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Users aren’t designers they don’t particularly know what they want"

This is Evernote's biggest failure. Users do know exactly what they want (most of the time), what they don't know is how to get what they want from a desire to an application and that and managing user's expectations is where the real skill of software development comes in.

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I think the initial intent of open API was to make it possible for Evernote to integrate with third party apps, not for third party apps to completely replace Evernote official client.

I wasn't around when they invented their cloud API, but as long as I've known about it, it's afforded a third-party developer the power to develop a full-blown Evernote client. If the intent was to discourage that, then why would they allow it? Remember, it allows third parties to develop clients for platforms that Evernote doesn't care to support, Linux for example.

Imho Evernote just got really lucky that Clever got developed, that's all... it wasn't a part of evernote super smart secret long term vision...

It's never been a secret; but it certainly is smart, and yes, it's also a long-term play. It's a good way to build up a ecosystem of Evernote-related tools. It also doesn't hurt having other outside developers testing the API that you yourself use. It helps to make tools available for specialized usages/markets that aren't as well served by Evernote's more general approach.

Without Evernote, Clever would be just another isolated single-platform note app with no ability to move notes around to other devices (unless they built their own cloud infrastructure). Hey, hats off to Clever for figuring that out and (apparently) doing a nice job of developing an Evernote client (I'll know better when it's available for platforms that I use). But cheer for Clever, and you're still cheering for Evernote.

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@jeffito, I know I made a moot point, but I didn't say that they discourage third party clients or that we somehow cheer against Evernote by using Clever.

If the intent was to discourage that, then why would they allow it? Remember, it allows third parties to develop clients for platforms that Evernote doesn't care to support, Linux for example.

You're refuting a point I didn't make.

They don't discourage full blown third party clients but they certainly don't encourage them either. Why? Evernote actually makes it very hard for them to succeed financially because Evernote team is constantly updating their own official app which is free. So they drive paid full blown third party clients out of the market basically. it's a very risky long term strategy to develop a third party iOS client for Evernote because you're going to be constantly competing with a free app which is constantly updated by a team with huge financial resources.

What they do encourage is third party integrations which add something new to Evernote, not replace it.

I don't know much about linux app, but Evernote doesn't have official client for linux and doesn't plan to develop one so it's a completely different case than iOS anyway.

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Dunno, May -- the fact that they published an API that allows you to create a full-blown Evernote client -- without explicitly trying to restrict developers from doing so -- would seem to be some indication of intent. Frankly, original intent isn't really germane -- they put the means to create a competing client out there; it's unlikely that they didn't see it coming. I happen to believe that they don't care all that much, overall.

Their own client development is somewhat independent of all that anyways (though they use the same API); if -- as I think they do -- they wanted to build up an ecosystem of Evernote-related programs (of all ranges of capabilities), then they needed to at least seed it with an infrastructure, an API, and good enough clients to make it desirable for people to use. Without reasonable clients, nobody uses Evernote, there's no "buzz", and no ecosystem -- who's going to build for a dead system? Aside from that, developers do things for various reasons -- to make money, for sure, but sometimes just to scratch an itch, or show off, or whatever. Encouragement of developers may not come into it. And money may not come into it for that matter; but if you have a better client than the native Evernote client, you can maybe make some money on it. I guess that the question I'd ask is: if the barriers are so high, why is Clever doing it?

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In the end though, it's a $45 a year service that is being run as a business that is aiming for an IPO. What really matters as far as that IPO valuation is concerned is going to be number of users which seems to be on a steep upwards curve (doesn't hurt that Japanese phone companies and printer manufacturers are giving away accounts) and the ability to be able to convert a pretty small percentage of that user base to Premium. I'm guessing Libin will point to the growth as success and I can't argue with that.

I think user growth is just one of many measurements, and happens to have been "the story" for a while now because the growth has been so striking. User engagement with our applications, and the ecosystem of apps using the API, I think, is even more important long term.

Although you assert that you are "overall receiving extremely strong and positive (and in some instances overwhelmingly positive) feedback from across our user base", I see little evidence of this. Can you please identify or point to where you see this?

I have stated several times that, IMO, Evernote has failed to follow age-old design best practice of "form follows function."

How do you respond to this?

With regard to metrics--we have our own internals that are showing positive results. There are some things I just can't talk to openly, and this is one of them. But as Jack stated, you can see that the Mac release in particular has been one of our smoothest yet on the app store. The internals bolster this. Now on the app store for IOS 5 you could make the argument that it's getting dragged down by a good deal of lower ratings even as it hits plenty of high ratings. We're aware of most of the complaints that are pulling it down and are working.

As for "form following function"--here's my pseudo intellectual response to this--and let's not forget, I'm not a designer. I'm sort of torn here, because "function" is entirely dependent on how you've been using the application. "Function" can be very subjective. To fight this tendency, I tend to conduct a mini thought experiment with new clients where I switch their positions in terms of release dates--so v5 for both clients actually flips with the old client--the new client is the old version, the old client the new version. Helps me identify whether issues I have with a specific client are because I'm just used to the old one, or if there's actually a step backward taking place. It's usually pretty clear what is and isn't a step backwards. Point being, had I been using something along the lines of v5 for a few years, the form would feel that it flowed perfectly from function. And in my continued use of the v5, I feel even more strongly that this is the case. I honestly (really) don't think I could go back to v3 at this point unless you made me. I'm aware that others have the exact opposite feeling.

Now, you could make some concrete non-subjective arguments on things like number of clicks to do X, but that's not always the best measurement. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Ease and accessibility and usability don't always flow from click rates.

Tangentially, I think this is where you see the biggest issues arise with client changes and various GTD strategies out there, which are built around workflows tailored to whatever application is living at present. I have no doubt if a GTD process had been created with v5 being the present version that we'd have workflow related issues when releasing a v3 client (in this alternate universe I'm creating in my mind).

All of this is of course dancing around the fact that features were removed, workflows were disrupted, which are obviously going to cause consternation. Which brings me to...

I think 5.01 for the Mac is receiving good feedback on here, the 3 new features that were added are all things that existed in the pre v5 world and have been added back after lots of complaints during the beta and after release.

Slightly odd to celebrate taking away a feature and then putting it back again.

Yep, one of the most pleasurable experiences is the removal of pain.

I'm not saying this was planned, but they gave us the pain of Ver 5, and then made us feel good by giving back (some of) what they took away.

Now we are oh so grateful.

When something is taken out of the application, it's generally because we've done a ton of testing that points to users not using certain aspects of the app. We're not really into burning things down willy nilly. Sometimes we miscalculate or misinterpret, and when we do, we take our time to figure out why we're wrong, how we can fix it, and then we talk to you about it and attempt to fix it. It's not really some bait and switch (I know you started by saying you weren't implying this) or shell game we're trying to play with users. And Metrodon's going to love me beating the beta tester drum again, but in some cases, we identify those miscalculations in beta--so the 5.0.1 update came quickly because we'd identified what we wanted to fix ahead of the release, but couldn't include it in 5.0 because of time and resources.

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I've played your mind game with Evernote for OSX version 8 and I really feel like that one is the superior one, and there is now way I could go back to using v5. That's just me, though :)

I think another useful thought experiment is to open up the Evernote for Windows version next to the Evernote for Mac version (here is a screenshot https://www.evernote...06-299cdc4b791e) and ask yourself some questions. For example, how much do you know about your notes at a glance? The Windows app isn't perfect, of course, but look at all of that information. And, I haven't even got everything toggled on. I know that the Mac team surely could do something like this, because other apps on OSX manage it, and I am sure they have the skill and resources to surpass them.

As I said elsewhere, I think this version is a step forward, there are a lot of nice aspects to it, and I certainly have no interest in going back to earlier versions of the app. However, I do feel that there is something to be said for an app (like Evernote for Windows) that combines an incredible amount of functionality into an elegant interface, and I really would like to see something more along those lines in terms of functionality.

I figure there must be a design vision that I just don't know about at work here, because I know the developers are smart cookies. I wonder why that vision is more compelling than the one that the Windows folks are pursuing, and I would definitely be open to hearing more about it. Heck, that might even get me to stop griping on the forums like this. Maybe I could be convinced that it is actually better not to know how many words are in my notes... It's difficult to imagine that happening, but you never know -- Steve Jobs convinced me that I actually "needed" a big iPod and a little one, and I didn't "need" a blu-ray disk drive after all :)

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To be honest Geoff, I think my methodology and Evernote's are so far away and unlikely to meet that I see little value for either of us discussing it anymore :)

But just once more for kicks and giggles, if you'd involved your users ahead of the beta then you would have known how important certain features are and then not had a feature incomplete release that had to be 'fixed' fairly quickly afterwards. It's not a failure of the beta program, all these items were identified during the process. It's just the beta program came too late to have a significant impact on the release.

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To be honest Geoff, I think my methodology and Evernote's are so far away and unlikely to meet that I see little value for either of us discussing it anymore :)

But just once more for kicks and giggles, if you'd involved your users ahead of the beta then you would have known how important certain features are and then not had a feature incomplete release that had to be 'fixed' fairly quickly afterwards. It's not a failure of the beta program, all these items were identified during the process. It's just the beta program came too late to have a significant impact on the release.

I'm assuming you mean development methodology. And you know my plan with this at least as it concerns the beta program. Keep on building it up and extending it deeper into the process where possible, sensible, and workable.

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Not sure how this article relates to this discussion, but is seems somehow not unrelevant, and besides, Rands is always interesting on the topic of workplace dynamics and companies in transition, and usually ends up in my Evernotes: Rands in Repose: Stables and Volatiles.

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gbarry: Many thanks for taking the time to post here and your considered and detailed replies. However, your writings remind me of the unofficial motto of the French civil service: "It's all very well it working in practice; but it will never work in theory". :rolleyes: And yes, I do have it the right way round!

And I would remind you that the American generals in the Vietnam war had plenty of positive "metrics", and all their interviews with the ordinary Vietnamese show that they were winning their "hearts & minds". But we all know what the outcome at the end was. OK, a bit of an extreme comparison :), but valid none the less.

A genius like Steve Jobs - who took an effectively bankrupt company to the position of one of the largest corporations in the world - never really went on metrics. Rather he had total vision, and created hardware and software that the customer never even knew they wanted.

What is your vision for Evernote? If it's just to stay floating around in the consumer market as something to help store your cooking recipes and travel plans with, then you are on the right track. But if you want to create a must-have app for the business market - which is where the real bucks are - then you need to start having a real vision, and belief in what your product is capable of. It needs to have plenty of rich and powerful features; and needs to have an interface that is professional and adheres to modern user interface guidelines. Above all, it needs to be consistent. Eg: whatever you do, don't start removing features and issuing "upgrades" that are full of bugs and missing features.

What is stunning, stunning, about the Japanese folks behind Clever; is that they are not a big team at all - and yet they are able to run-rings around your iPhone and iPad apps.

You need to start designing and developing for your future market - and you can't run metrics on that, because it does not exist yet. It can only exist in your vision.

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But if you want to create a must-have app for the business market - which is where the real bucks are - then you need to start having a real vision, and belief in what your product is capable of.

Evernote are already planning a business version, see, e.g. http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/24/evernote-business-launch/

What is stunning, stunning, about the Japanese folks behind Clever; is that they are not a big team at all - and yet they are able to run-rings around your iPhone and iPad apps.

This is not stunning at all to me; the scope of what they do is quite a bit less than the scope of what Evernote has to do, since the Clever folks are only focused (currently, as far as I know) on the iOS market. Small teams are often very productive in focused areas.

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jefito:

It looks like the biz version is just EN 5.0 with granular user access control. So not much hope there.

And as for the Clever apps; the simple fact is that they are so much better than the EN apps. You are correct that small teams are often very productive in focused areas. So why don't EN have small, productive teams in focused areas!! It's as simple as that.

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jefito:

It looks like the biz version is just EN 5.0 with granular user access control. So not much hope there.

And as for the Clever apps; the simple fact is that they are so much better than the EN apps. You are correct that small teams are often very productive in focused areas. So why don't EN have small, productive teams in focused areas!! It's as simple as that.

Well...because EN states they are striving to have feature parity against all platforms and having the user experience the same (as much as possible) across all the apps. Clever only needs to report to Clever & doesn't have to have any parity feature with any other EN apps.

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And as for the Clever apps; the simple fact is that they are so much better than the EN apps. You are correct that small teams are often very productive in focused areas. So why don't EN have small, productive teams in focused areas!! It's as simple as that.

Sometimes even one person can make a huge difference, while (putting on my Mythical Man-Month t-shirt) adding large numbers of people to a project yields very little if anything. I don't pretend to know what's going on inside the Evernote teams; I know that they have independent teams for the different clients, but I have no idea of their size of organization. Evernote as a whole certainly has a larger focus. Frankly, and I've said this elsewhere, it doesn't matter to me who makes the better clients, since the Evernote clients are free. If someone else makes a better client, and that converts more people to Premium, then how is that a bad thing?

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It looks like the biz version is just EN 5.0 with granular user access control. So not much hope there.

They've been publicly reticent about entering the business market at all, at least in the past. Here's one thread on that topic: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/16842-enterprise/; it's a little dated, but Dave is the CTO, after all.

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If someone else makes a better client, and that converts more people to Premium, then how is that a bad thing?

No bad thing at all. Indeed, it could be a great solution to all these different needs. EN produce the basic structure and host the data; and other folks make the different clients. Great!

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Well...because EN states they are striving to have feature parity against all platforms and having the user experience the same (as much as possible) across all the apps. Clever only needs to report to Clever & doesn't have to have any parity feature with any other EN apps.

Sorry - and I really don't mean to sound rude - but that is just a meaningless argument. There is no reason why Clever could not have their same apps on Android, Windows, or whatever. The only reason that the Clever apps are so much better than the EN ones, is because the Clever folk know what they are doing; and EN have totally lost their way.

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Where is the part of this forum where EN reps interact with users concerning concerns?

There isnt one.

Sugarcoat it anyway U like.

Thats poor.

The 5 or 6 major productivity apps Im involved with have those vehicles...either by way of 'get satisfaction', their own forums, facebook, blogs, google±.

Many have all 5.

That's good.

Evernote representatives regularly interact with users in all of the forums. In fact, there is one who posted a few minutes ago right above you.

http://discussion.ev...nk/#entry173014

I do NOT see REGULAR Evernote employee interaction here.

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The main difference between Evernote official ios app and Clever is that I get the impression that developer of Clever actually uses Evernote and understands the needs of its (serious) users while developers of Evernote iOS official app might not actually use their own app all that much other than to store some recipes maybe every once in a blue moon.

Another problem is that Evernote iOS app had performance issues and search bugs, etc. since it's initial version, maybe they had a made some poor decisions initially in the core design and they don't want to rewrite the whole app from scratch so we're stuck with those issues for good.

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My main comment was lack of a evernote employees on the forum or a bonafide vehicle to communicate with Evernote about issues.

But with completely over-the-top comments like the one above (Browncoat) you can see why they dont. I wouldnt characterize Evernote that way in my worstcase scenario doubled...either would most rational users here.

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But with completely over-the-top comments like the one above (Browncoat) you can see why they dont. I wouldnt characterize Evernote that way in my worstcase scenario doubled...either would most rational users here.

I disagree with May's supposition, but he's welcome to his opinions and thoughts--and he's been an asset to the community from day one. That's what makes the user forum great. Plus we want to hear strong (even negative) feedback--when broached constructively, it's incredibly helpful.

I do NOT see REGULAR Evernote employee interaction here.

That's because this is a user forum first, where users can interact with other users. Evernote employees watch, learn from, and often engage in these conversations, but it is a user forum first, an invaluable tool for bugs, feature requests, workarounds, third party suggestions, support help, use cases, random discussion, and plenty more.

Let's not veer too off topic though. Whether you think we're listening or not, that's not really in the same vein as Nightstalker's original request.

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I don't know about your worst use case. iOS app is barely useable in my average use case. It is slow as hell and freezes, crashes, stutters all the time.

I was recording a video review of Evernote 5 for iOS and it crashed/froze like a dozen of times in the process... So...

There are good things about the app but I can't be mentioning and giving a complete overview in each post just to keep things balanced.

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But with completely over-the-top comments like the one above (Browncoat) you can see why they dont. I wouldnt characterize Evernote that way in my worstcase scenario doubled...either would most rational users here.

If you are referring to the post by May, then I don't think you understand May.

May has made many, many posts advocating the use of Evernote on the iPad, and has offer detailed suggestions and UI designs that would make Evernote much better. Yet, AFAIK, Evernote has not implemented any of May's suggestions.

A while back we got into a discussion with several Evernote employees about their use of Evernote.

It was shocking how few notes most of them have in Evernote -- at the most 2-3 thousand, several much less. It appears that two of the top people in Evernote use Evernote only to store their recipes -- a very limited use case.

So, the point is, if Evernote employees don't use their own product that much, yet they design the product for themselves (or actually for CEO Phil Libin's personal use), how can they come up with a design that works for many of the 40M+ users who have tens of thousands of notes?

It's very clear that the UI design is for users than have only a very few Notebooks and Tags.

  • Look at the layout for display of these entities.
  • Big icons that allow only a few per screen and don't really add any info/value.
  • These can display only about 12 Notebooks and 75 Tags.
  • And, they don't even use the expandable list feature that is so critical when you have lots of hierarchical tags and lots of Stacks/Notebooks.
  • Some users have over 200 Notebooks, many have over 20
  • Lots of users have over 100 Tags, some have hundreds.
  • All the icons look much the same -- so what's the point.

Look how they focus on providing displays of data using icons/thumbnails that greatly limit how much data can be displayed on a screen.

Yet we have requested, even begged, for years (literally) to have a compact, text only, vertical list of Notes that would display 25-30 (or more) Notes per screen. They provided it on the EN Win client, but not on EN Mac and EN iPad.

In an earlier post I stated that Evernote is putting form over function. These are just a few examples of what I mean.

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Ok but that there was at least mentiined specifics (which I'm sure youve done plenty of already;-) ) the other was 'HD uses and cares...En doesnt and just 'collects their paychecks' which isnt specific and borderline collective personal attack....

Doesnt usually lead anywhere....blah blah..

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Ok but that there was at least mentiined specifics (which I'm sure youve done plenty of already;-) ) the other was 'HD uses and cares...En doesnt and just 'collects their paychecks' which isnt specific and borderline collective personal attack....

Doesnt usually lead anywhere....blah blah..

I don't see how that's a personal attack, I'm talking about how I feel about the app, not about people.

So, the point is, if Evernote employees don't use their own product that much, yet they design the product for themselves (or actually for CEO Phil Libin's personal use), how can they come up with a design that works for many of the 40M+ users who have tens of thousands of notes?

I'm afraid that's exactly the problem. It's not specific because the problem is in the general approach, not in any particular feature.

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Hmmm - looks like I started a pretty good debate here. And there have been many really good posts.

But my original suggestion doesn't yet seem to have had much response - that Evernote just STOP NOW, hold that thought, that line in the sand, take a big step back, and give some genuinely critical thought as to just HOW they are moving this thing forward - with my main interests being the Mac and iOS versions.

It happened to Skitch - it went from being a slightly quirky, but REALLY useful app (I had it well before EN bought them out) and Skitch v2 turned into a completely bland almost useless app - for me at least. Yup - I've rolled back on both the Mac and the iDevices.

Now it's happened to Evernote too - the last version was oh so useful. Yes there were little things that could be improved, or added. But incremental evolution should have been the byword. But no - version 5 on Mac and iOS at least, is a HUGE step backwards. Taking stuff OUT, for example - what the heck is that all about? What data did you have that determined that most people didn't use the toolbar configuration? Presumably the same people who don't use it on any other Mac app either.... but most apps still have it there.

And the lack of the List view on the iPad just beggars belief. And that "Premium Features" tab - what a waste of space - it takes up more space than the annoying ads we paid to get rid of as Premium users, and serves no purpose at all.

So - back to my original suggestion: why not just take that step back, admit that things could have been done differently (i.e. better) and go back to the drawing board? Go back to v3.3, and look at how you can ADD functionality to it (like a reverse sort via the column header, for example), even just a few little steps at a time.

Once you have a really good, functioning product - like you did - development should be via baby steps.

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Hmmm - looks like I started a pretty good debate here. And there have been many really good posts.

But my original suggestion doesn't yet seem to have had much response - that Evernote just STOP NOW, hold that thought, that line in the sand, take a big step back, and give some genuinely critical thought as to just HOW they are moving this thing forward - with my main interests being the Mac and iOS versions.

It happened to Skitch - it went from being a slightly quirky, but REALLY useful app (I had it well before EN bought them out) and Skitch v2 turned into a completely bland almost useless app - for me at least. Yup - I've rolled back on both the Mac and the iDevices.

Now it's happened to Evernote too - the last version was oh so useful. Yes there were little things that could be improved, or added. But incremental evolution should have been the byword. But no - version 5 on Mac and iOS at least, is a HUGE step backwards. Taking stuff OUT, for example - what the heck is that all about? What data did you have that determined that most people didn't use the toolbar configuration? Presumably the same people who don't use it on any other Mac app either.... but most apps still have it there.

And the lack of the List view on the iPad just beggars belief. And that "Premium Features" tab - what a waste of space - it takes up more space than the annoying ads we paid to get rid of as Premium users, and serves no purpose at all.

So - back to my original suggestion: why not just take that step back, admit that things could have been done differently (i.e. better) and go back to the drawing board? Go back to v3.3, and look at how you can ADD functionality to it (like a reverse sort via the column header, for example), even just a few little steps at a time.

Once you have a really good, functioning product - like you did - development should be via baby steps.

Aren't these just three tweaks to the apps? These are what you want, right?

(1) Customizable toolbar on the OSX app

(2) List View on the iPad

(3) Removal of the Premium tab in iOS

I think that is probably why it would be difficult for Evernote developers to accept your premise. The actual problems are not so insurmountable as the title of the thread makes them appear.

In my case, there are really not very many things I want to see changed in the OSX / iOS apps either. I've posted lots of suggestions, but I'd say List View, more sort options, and more information about each note would be at the top of my list. That doesn't require a rethink, in my opinion. It's really just a matter of achieving parity with the existing apps (Windows and Android), and this is a commitment Evernote staff have already made.

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Fair points Grumpy - but by adding some of the things back into v5.0.1 that were taken out for v5.0.0 is almost an admission that they got it wrong.

That list of three in your post above is fair enough - but also your suggestions about sort options etc also need to be addressed.

I guess the point of my suggestion is - is it better to blunder on and try to turn ENv5 back into something that is as functional as v3.3 but even more so, or would it be better to take a couple of steps back and go again from the point at which v3.3. build 300201 ended up? That version is still working superbly for me. And the previous version on my iPhone and iPad also work well.

Just adding a few of the things like the List view to the iPad, and the sort options you'd like on the Mac version, for example, would do it very nicely as an upgrade to v3.3 build 300201.

Have Evernote headed down the wrong road from the fork in the road and need to go back to the fork, or can they find a side road that will take them across country to get back onto the right track?

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If you would like some insight in the the Evernote design team and process, checkout this blog/video:

Evernote’s Designers Speak

Lot's of great insights in this blog.

Here are some that stood out to me:

  1. Evernote’s chief Designer, Gabe Compodonico, strongly believes that they can provide both great UI and great functionality, and that they have accomplished this with Ver 5
  2. Gabe also said the previous ver of EN Mac had a good UI, but (in my words) constrained them from doing more.
  3. The way Gabe talks about both the Mac and iOS UI I get the impression that he really wants to design a world renown UI (these are my words, not his)
  4. Gabe talks about having a completely custom UI in iOS that doesn't use/follow any of the iOS conventions because the competition is so great that you have to not copy Apple apps, but be much better.
  5. Gabe also thinks that we use mobile devices in a completely different way than desktop devices, and thus the iOS design is limited by design
    • I don't think he understands how many users use the iPad -- as a replacement for their desktop

[*]In the Q&A session, my impression was that they don't really use/develop traditional "use cases" -- they just talk to a lot of users

[*]All of the speakers seem to think they had a good understanding of users needs, although they didn't really say how they got the understanding

I would make two points here:

  1. Evernote thought they really knew what users needed/wanted with Sketch Ver 2, but badly missed the mark. They have identified 20 major issues from the user uproar that they plan to fix in the near future.
  2. In the view of many users in these forums, Evernote has also badly missed the mark with Ver 5 of both Mac and iOS (iPad particularly)

I'll close with this: All of the Evernote designers/speakers are very passionate about their work, and are trying to do the best job they can. I think most of them, maybe all, think they are doing a great job, and are having a huge impact on millions of people all over the world.

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If they have a good understanding of user needs then why am I using those apps on iOS instead of official Evernote apps:

8231949528_20153bb163_b.jpg

Japanese developers seem to make apps for hardcore users, while Evernote devs consistently make good looking apps with crippled functionality. This trend is very consistent across all of their iOS apps

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If they have a good understanding of user needs then why am I using those apps on iOS instead of official Evernote apps:

I use Evernote in my old and cranky Windows more and planning to buy a android tablet after the 5.0 upgrade of Mac and iOS.

Fancy UI definitely is not everything. The recent upgrades really make me very frustrated. Bring back all the useful features, please.

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I'm using windows for many years.

and i use android in my smartphone.

Evernote is the best application I've ever used

I'm not constantly in the cloud (I mean cloud computing) , my needs are different. Login and find as fast as possible to the information I have uploaded to Evernote.

Evernote makes it very efficiently for me

The Evernote team is making great efforts to Windows users and to adapt to currently popular browsers, firefox in my case.

It's what I think.

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my needs are different. Login and find as fast as possible to the information I have uploaded to Evernote.

Our needs are the same. The difference is that you use windows client.

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I use Evernote in my old and cranky Windows more and planning to buy a android tablet after the 5.0 upgrade of Mac and iOS.

you still get more functionality on iOS, but via third party apps. You can use note links, batch edit multiple notes, use URL schemes, do all kinds of stuff etc.

And btw, if I was really over the top with my comment then why do we have threads like this?

"I could almost cry"

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Gabe also thinks that we use mobile devices in a completely different way than desktop devices, and thus the iOS design is limited by design

I don't think he understands how many users use the iPad -- as a replacement for their desktop

Well, that's the problem right there. Yes we obviosly do use mobile devices differently however this doesn't mean that you should cripple your app by design. Lol

I would argue that Evernote is more important on mobile devices rathen than desktops and laptops because you want to have convenient access to your "external brain" at all times, not only when you're sitting at the desk.

Also:

"The downward spiral of PC sales began as consumers and enterprises moved more to mobile devices and cloud storage, increasing what Reitzes terms “significant ‘task infringement’”. In other words, people discovered tablets and the cloud could accomplish jobs once only possible with PCs.

“After years of denial, most PC industry players still don’t seem to realize what is happening – and don’t have contingency plans”, Reitzes writes.

These analyst reports only confirm what has been happening for some time now. The entire computing industry has shifted toward mobility, with tablets leading the way."

Full article: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/11/13/ipad-affects-pc-replacements/

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I use Evernote in my old and cranky Windows more and planning to buy a android tablet after the 5.0 upgrade of Mac and iOS.

you still get more functionality on iOS, but via third party apps. You can use note links, batch edit multiple notes, use URL schemes, do all kinds of stuff etc.

And btw, if I was really over the top with my comment then why do we have threads like this?

"I could almost cry"

http://discussion.ev...uld-almost-cry/

May, you're responding to yikeouch's quote, but the "over-the-top" reference was from rockky, I think, not yikeouch. Just wanted to make sure that the attribution was clear.

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Yeah, I know, I just mentioned the other thread as a side note.

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I use Evernote in my old and cranky Windows more and planning to buy a android tablet after the 5.0 upgrade of Mac and iOS.

you still get more functionality on iOS, but via third party apps. You can use note links, batch edit multiple notes, use URL schemes, do all kinds of stuff etc.

Thanks. But I use iPad for reading my notes. I need offline notes but no third party apps support it. And the iOS v5 makes it harder to switch between notes. That is quite annoying for me. Android is my best bet so far.

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I see... Personally I'm online most of the time and I usually capture and organize and then review tonnes of notes. For example yesterday I processed about 200 notes, today about 400, all on the iPad. Took only several minutes though because I batch edited multiple notes instead of editing each note one by one.

My workflow would be too painful to even consider without 3rd party integrations on ios. Overall iOS is still more productive environment compared to Android.

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I see... Personally I'm online most of the time and I usually capture and organize and then review tonnes of notes. For example yesterday I processed about 200 notes, today about 400, all on the iPad. Took only several minutes though because I batch edited multiple notes instead of editing each note one by one.

My workflow would be too painful to even consider without 3rd party integrations on ios. Overall iOS is still more productive environment compared to Android.

Frankly, you are an edge case May. I would guess most users don't even have 200 notes, and certainly have little need to batch process them. So, it is going to be tough (I think) to convince Evernote to cater to your needs. However, I think they simply must take your use case into consideration, because it is essentially a question of scaling up. Long-term users of Evernote will need to smoothly go from 10 to 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 notes. This requires options, I am afraid, and multiple approaches. A guy (like myself) who works almost entirely in text is not going to do well with a bunch of cards in the Card View, and a graphics arts designer (not me) is not going to do well with a List View.

As it stands now, a schoolchild and a business professional are currently forced to use the exact same interface. The situation is simply untenable, and I think the developers know it needs to change. I am sure that as this version of the app goes through development over the coming months it will gain more features. I don't think it is a re-think, but simply a commitment to making the app customizable (to some degree) for different use cases. It doesn't have to be a Swiss Army Knife, but it does need more than one view :)

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Frankly, you are an edge case May. I would guess most users don't even have 200 notes, and certainly have little need to batch process them. So, it is going to be tough (I think) to convince Evernote to cater to your needs.

I know I'm an edge case but it doesn't really matter. I don't need to convince developers to cater to my needs.

I use Evernote in exactly the same way as everyone else, I.e. to capture and then retrieve information. I have the same issues as all other users, except those issues are simply more noticeable in my use case, that's all.

I never requested anything extraordinary from Evernote. In fact, my biggest complaint is related to performance and bugs, not any particular feature.

For example standard Mail app on ios works well for users with 10 emails and still works just as well for users with 10 000 emails. It's not the prettiest app with the fanciest design but at least it works reliably, it doesn't lag, it doesn't crash all the time, etc.

Batch editing 5 notes (whenever it's appropriate) is still hell of a lot more convenient than editing 5 notes one by one. You don't need to have 200 notes.

Lots of apps on iPad have this feature, it's not too complex.

Examples: Photos, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mail, Pocket, etc.

This is actually a very common feature across ios apps and batch editing multiple Notes is a pretty common use case in my view.

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I know I'm an edge case but it doesn't really matter. I don't need to convince developers to cater to my needs.

I use Evernote in exactly the same way as everyone else, I.e. to capture and then retrieve information. I have the same issues as all other users, except those issues are simply more noticeable in my use case, that's all....

Batch editing 5 notes (whenever it's appropriate) is still hell of a lot more convenient than editing 5 notes one by one. You don't need to have 200 notes.

It was said partly in jest, because we are both edge cases, and our desire for stuff like batch editing is, as you say, simply more noticeable. I am agreeing with you, but also suggesting that the current approach is understandable, even if it has some unpleasant effects on heavy users of the service.

If you were designing the app with someone who only has five notes (I know of people that just have one and keep dumping stuff into it), I think batch editing, navigation buttons, list view, etc. would not be high on your list. My point was that the app works fine right now for certain use cases, certain account sizes, etc., but doesn't scale up very well. I also wanted to stress that this is not a limit of the device, but a limit of the design, as your Mail analogy makes clear. You "can" deal with 5,000 notes with a very simply designed, snappy, powerful, and stable app. If Evernote wants people to stick with the service over the long haul, then they have to include features and options that make it possible for someone with 5 notes to work in their account as easily as someone with 5,000. They also need to account for the fact that a schoolchild and a business professional need some customizability, even if their underlying use case (capture and retrieve information) is similar.

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If you were designing the app with someone who only has five notes (I know of people that just have one and keep dumping stuff into it), I think batch editing, navigation buttons, list view, etc. would not be high on your list.

If I was designing an app which I don't actually use then nothing would be particularly high on my list. Lol

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I know I'm an edge case but it doesn't really matter. I don't need to convince developers to cater to my needs.

I use Evernote in exactly the same way as everyone else, I.e. to capture and then retrieve information. I have the same issues as all other users, except those issues are simply more noticeable in my use case, that's all....

Batch editing 5 notes (whenever it's appropriate) is still hell of a lot more convenient than editing 5 notes one by one. You don't need to have 200 notes.

It was said partly in jest, because we are both edge cases, and our desire for stuff like batch editing is, as you say, simply more noticeable. I am agreeing with you, but also suggesting that the current approach is understandable, even if it has some unpleasant effects on heavy users of the service.

If you were designing the app with someone who only has five notes (I know of people that just have one and keep dumping stuff into it), I think batch editing, navigation buttons, list view, etc. would not be high on your list. My point was that the app works fine right now for certain use cases, certain account sizes, etc., but doesn't scale up very well. I also wanted to stress that this is not a limit of the device, but a limit of the design, as your Mail analogy makes clear. You "can" deal with 5,000 notes with a very simply designed, snappy, powerful, and stable app. If Evernote wants people to stick with the service over the long haul, then they have to include features and options that make it possible for someone with 5 notes to work in their account as easily as someone with 5,000. They also need to account for the fact that a schoolchild and a business professional need some customizability, even if their underlying use case (capture and retrieve information) is similar.

The design team have thoughts that I don't quite understand. I know they want the app be more attractive to light users. But some light users eventually become heavy users. And it is heavy users who will pay for premium accounts. But the recent design apparently drive some heavy users away. That's not very reasonable.

I think I'm a user between medium and heavy. ( I have only 1900+ notes, all of them are texts or texts with clips from mindmaps and flowcharts. Card view is useless to me. ) I write two or three reading notes a day to help me memorize and slowly building my own wikipedia by adjusting my old notes. I have to say that recent update are USABLE for me, but it SLOWs or INTERRUPTs my workflow a lot. It isn't a big deal but it's very ANNOYing when I have to work for a longer time. If I never use the old versions, I might not be that annoyed. But now I get upset when it occurs to me how convenient old version or other platform is.

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Just to add a comment re May's post about being online the whole time:

I'm in Australia, and I'm also a surgeon. So - no internet in the operating room (the one I work in is shielded by a Faraday Cage structure in the walls to block any incoming RF). Not even a mobile phone signal.

The other thing is that here in Australia, there are very few public free wifi hotspots - not like the USA or the UK. We basically have McDonalds, and that's about it, apart from the very occasional privately-owned coffee shop with progressive owners. So, all those people with WiFi-only models of their iPad can NOT be online all the time. In fact, most of the time away from their home LAN, they are offline. Hence the need for offline storage of the notes. My iPad is the 64GB model so I'm able to have my entire Evernote database - all notebooks - stored offline.

It's just a pity that for some reason CleverHD can't access that database, and has to be online to work. If Evernote were to make their locally-stored database (which I gather is proprietary, or at least blocked in some other way) to 3rd-party developers, such as Clever, then we may see some truly awesome apps that can access and work on those notes, with different feature sets, so that users can choose the 3rd-party client that suits their needs.

Just a thought....

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I agree that offline access is important, but I suspect there's nothing really proprietary about it...

It's probably just a real pain to implement because instead of relying on online API to process everything, you need to somehow manually process stuff locally.

Clever does everything via API and if you add offline access then you need some major additional work, for example, to make offline search results match with online API search results (which take into account stuff like OCR and what not) . Even Evernote official app itself somewhat fails at this, I notice lots of search bugs, both online and offline.

Clever is actually more reliable in terms of search results at this point because it uses purely online API. I haven't noticed any search bugs in Clever so far.

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It's just a pity that for some reason CleverHD can't access that database, and has to be online to work. If Evernote were to make their locally-stored database (which I gather is proprietary, or at least blocked in some other way) to 3rd-party developers, such as Clever, then we may see some truly awesome apps that can access and work on those notes, with different feature sets, so that users can choose the 3rd-party client that suits their needs.

Curious -- do you actually know that Clever is trying to take advantage of the local note database or is that wishful thinking on your part? Have they been officially rebuffed by Evernote? Are you sure that access to it is being blocked by Evernote, or is that an OS restriction? I don't know whether the note database storage is proprietary or not; it's a SQLlite database on Windows (and spelunkable, as I recall), and something else on Mac. I should check my Android device; it's probably different there.

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Btw I have no idea how Clever works under the hood and what limitations it runs into either, just guessing.

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"The additional funds brought in from the primary portion of this round will make sure that Evernote can continue to focus all of our energy on building the best possible products, without being distracted by external market conditions. It’s nice to have this extra peace of mind, even if we don’t strictly need it."

I don't see it as a necessarily good thing for end users. Competition drives successful business. 

You basically have zero serious completion and tonnes of money. That's a recipe for subpar performance.  Not in all cases, of course.

There is an old saying in Africa that goes like this: Every morning a gazelle gets up and knows that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will get eaten. And every morning, a lion gets up and knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

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Hopefully I'm not pissing everyone off with my comments like the one above. Lol

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Hopefully I'm not pissing everyone off with my comments like the one above. Lol

No :)

But, I don't really see gazelles and lions as sustainable models for app development. I prefer to think in more human terms -- work is what you call something that you don't like doing, but when you are passionate about projects, you'll invest yourself into them, and it becomes your career. It isn't something you do in a frenzy of activity (the running animals), but a sustained commitment to something.

I very much have the sense from meeting the folks at Evernote that they are passionate about what they are doing. They think all of this stuff through, they spend months developing it, and they want to create a product people will love. Sometimes they hit the mark with some people, and sometimes they miss it with others.

Any comments we can offer to help them hit the mark more often are good for them and good for us, but we shouldn't mistake their decisions to go one way and not another for laziness or lack of attention to their users. This is a great conversation we have had here in this thread, because I think people have offered a lot of data for the developers to mull over. The more they know about our use cases, the better they can do their job, so keep up with your comments!

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Hi again :) Just re the interaction between CleverHD and the Evernote database of stored offline notes:

These are comments from the developer of CleverHD in an email conversation I had with them - they answered my emails in minutes each time - very impressive:

"CleverHD accesses only the data which was downloaded via the official Evernote API by itself, and does not have the right to access local database of other apps on your device, including the Evernote app"

When I asked for a bit more clarification, I got this:

"Yes, the Evernote app stores their data inside its own app and other apps can't access it. Data of Calendar, Contacts, Photos, etc CAN be accessible even if offline via the iOS official API which Apple offers."

However, Clever DOES download notes into a local cache which persists until they're deleted, an updated version is found, or the device is switched off. But you have to display those notes first - in the Snippet view will do it - to download them to the cache.

So it's not quite the same as downloading and locally storing a database, and it would seem (to me, at least) that the limitation on access to the existing Evernote database is partly due to the way Evernote stores it within its own app, and partly due to iOS restrictions on what information of one app can be accessed by another.

Perhaps the CleverHD developers need to talk to Evernote about that access? Or is it just automatically not able to happen due to iOS restrictions?

I'm not a programmer, so anyone who wants to chip in and clarify this further, feel free :)

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Clever can't access files of the official Evernote client, it's an os limitation, all apps are sandboxed, Evernote developers can't do anything about it either.

But there's nothing stopping Clever from creating its own local database for offline use though.

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@Nightstalker, May: Was wondering whether that was the case -- thanks for the information.

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Thanks May - yes, that's what I suspected.

The only problem with Clever creating its own local database - apart from the cache I referred to above - is that due to the amount of storage needed, one would presumably have to disable local storage in the Evernote client. Otherwise, everything would be stored twice.

But if Clever were to do that, and if they kept the current UI and also fixed a couple of little bugs (note formatting etc), then we wouldn't need an official Evernote client at all - just use CleverHD.

Hmmm - might have to reinforce that suggestion that I made in our email conversation.... :)

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Thanks May - yes, that's what I suspected.

The only problem with Clever creating its own local database - apart from the cache I referred to above - is that due to the amount of storage needed, one would presumably have to disable local storage in the Evernote client. Otherwise, everything would be stored twice.

But if Clever were to do that, and if they kept the current UI and also fixed a couple of little bugs (note formatting etc), then we wouldn't need an official Evernote client at all - just use CleverHD.

Hmmm - might have to reinforce that suggestion that I made in our email conversation.... :)

Maintaining an offline database is a huge task and needs a high level of reliability. File synchronisation is not a simple nut to crack and corruption is a big issue. I doubt the EN API allows this. UPDATE - Actually it does http://dev.evernote.com/documentation/cloud/chapters/Synchronization.php

I have just had a look at the basic EN API options, there are two Cloud & Local. Which sounds encouraging except the Local API relies on the ability of one App to talk to another (the standard EN app in this case) so iOS doesn't feature (Android does). The local API is quite basic and retrieving data generally evokes the EN apps interface. The good news here is you wouldn't need a 2nd offline database and the tricky reliability of syncing etc would be handled by the official app. The bad news is, these two things are very unlikely to happen.

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'Most third-party applications that integrate with Evernote don't need to do this, but in rare cases, you might want to build a synchronizing client'

So I guess the question is how tricky is this in practice and are there any reliable examples out there?

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There is nothing in the Evernote API that prevents you from creating a local note cache. How could there be?

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There is nothing in the Evernote API that prevents you from creating a local note cache. How could there be?

:) Are we saying that all the EN API calls used in the iOS EN App are available to all and that EN aren't keeping some commands or scope to themselves?

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Couldn't tell you for sure, but I'd guess that the various clients do use the Cloud API as documented, without secret commands, since those could be detected by third-parties. The Cloud API is what it is, but there's nothing preventing a developer from using OS-specific facilities or third-party libraries to help with their apps, say for note caching purposes.

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