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(Archived) Evernote Ver 5 Does NOT Adhere to "Form Follows Function"

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I have posted in various thread concerning the design of Evernote Ver 5 (Mac and iOS) that, IMO, Evernote does NOT adhere to the age-old design best practice that "Form Follows Function".

Based on both Evernote employee response in these forums, as well as statements by the Evernote Chief Designer, Gabe Compodonico, is seems clear to me that Evernote either just doesn't get it, or has chosen intentionally to not follow this best practice.

So, I want to present some very specific examples, starting with EN iPad Ver 5, that clearlly illustrate that EN has chosen to have a "beautiful, cool, world renown" UI over providing the basic functionality that their users need and depend on each and every day.

Example #1: Display of Note Lists/Results

EN has chosed to provide ONLY Note lists as large thumbnails, which limit to showing only about 12 Notes per screen.

This is the view for either "All Notes" or "Search Results".

I get that these big iconic pictures of your Notes looks cool from a pure aesthetic POV, but functionally they are a serious hindrance to finding/selection the note of interest if you have more than 100 notes. IOW, this puts form OVER function.

They chose this view for Ver 5 even though many, many long time users have been requesting for years that EN provide a vertical list of notes that would show 25 or more notes per screen.

For new users, or those that choose to have only a few (< 100) notes, the new thumbnail screen works OK.

But if you have thousands, or tens of thousands, of Notes like most long time users, then 12 Notes/screen is virtually useless.

Here's a screen shot of EN iPad Ver 5.0.0 Note List View for All Notes or Search Results

EN_iPad_v5_Search_Results.PNG

Example #2: Browsing/Selecting Notes

In EN iPad v4, EN provided a scrollable list of Notes in snippet view on the left panel, while showing the Note contents in the right panel. This made it very easy to scroll through a large list of Notes, selecting the ones of interest.

But with EN iPad v5, there is NO multi-panel view with scrolling Notes. Just the large iconic list of Notes, which, when you select one, it displays a smaller window popup of the Note contents. This may look cool, and even display like some Apple apps, but it definitely puts form OVER function. The main point here is that while the Ver 5 view may be arguably "cooler" than Ver 4, it clearly does NOT offer any improvements in functionality.

Here are the issues with EN iPad v5 Note display:

  1. Does NOT take advantage of the larger iPad screen size, causing the user to have to scroll more to see longer notes
  2. Does NOT support the standard iOS "double-tap" to zoom in on text to make it larger and more readable
  3. Requires more clicks than Ver 4 to view the next Note, or other Notes in the list
  4. When you return to the iconic list of Notes, the user's eye has to scan both left-to-right and down to find the Note is interest. Scanning left-to-right is much harder (for me at least) than just scrolling and scanning down.

Below is a screenshot of EN iPad v5 Note View:

EN_iPad_v5_Note_Popup.PNG

Now view the EN iPad v4 Scrolling Note List and Note View with much better functionality:

EN_iPad_v4_Search_Results.PNG

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Example #3: Access to App Settings

Most iOS apps have followed Apple's lead in using the gear icon to denote access to app settings.

EN iPad v4 followed this iOS design standard.

But for some reason, EN iPad v5 does NOT use the gear icon. In fact, they hid access to App Settings that it took me quite a while of random tapping to find it. It is hidden behind the User Name. This one I really don't get. I don't see anything "cool" or "beautiful" with this design. Oh, I just remembered: EN has this extreme fetish with simplicity. So removing the gear icon "unclutters" the screen. Really?? Hiding the App Settings is yet another example of putting form OVER function.

Here's the EN iPad v5 Settings screenshot:

EN_iPad_v5_Settings.PNG

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These are just 3 examples out of many more for EN iPad v5. I will post some example for EN Mac v5 later.

I truly hope these examples will help Evernote designers understand the high importance of always making sure that "Form FOLLOWS Function". EN, if there is any doubt in your collective minds, please do some research on this topic. There are lots of examples today with both web site design and app design where this best practice is NOT followed.

Too many UI designers today get hung up on creating the next greatest, coolest, most beautiful UI, when they should be putting their energy and talents into creating the worlds most intuitive design. Even some Apple designers have fell into this trap.

Thanks for reading and considering this suggestion.

EDIT: Change link for Chief Designer statement

Edited by JMichael
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JM, I agree with most of what you said but something that I wanted to add:

"I get that these big iconic pictures of your Notes looks cool from a pure aesthetic POV, but functionally they are a serious hindrance to finding/selection the note of interest if you have more than 100 notes. IOW, this puts form OVER function"

Card view is great for browsing images and videos, it's not just aesthetically cool, for IMAGES it actually works much better than a snippet view.

Here are some examples

My video diary/log, I have several thousands of notes like this, yet card view is actually preferable

8235454573_48c14615ea_b.jpg

Some images

8236511312_7759d9ba6b_b.jpg

8235446009_cb687d7f7d_b.jpg

Note how much easier it is to see images in a card view compared to a snippet view.

But if you have thousands, or tens of thousands, of Notes like most long time users, then 12 Notes/screen is virtually useless.

Again, I have over 10 000 of notes with photos and videos and card view is actually very useful.

The problem is that we have ONLY card view. It works great for images but snippet/list view is better for text notes.

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Now view the EN iPad v4 Scrolling Note List and Note View with much better functionality:

EN_iPad_v4_Search_Results.PNG

There are several things here that I like. I don't necessarily want it to look exactly the same as v4, but I would like the functionality, in whatever form the developers decide is best.

(1) A large search bar. It just makes sense.

(2) Information density. Snippet View + the content of the focus note is OK, but List View + content of the focus note would be better.

(3) Immediate access to notes: (if this could be made into the home screen) one tap to open the app, one tap to begin editing.

(4) Navigation. The index bar is there (between the Snippet View and the note content) so we can jump to the bottom of the list.

This is good stuff that emphasizes the stuff I want: searching, information density, and easy navigation.

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I want to highlight that I really like both views, I.e. SPLIT screen snippet/list view to browse text notes (snippet is preferable for me) and FULLSCREEN card view to browse image/video notes. If they could provide an option to switch between those views exactly like that then that would perfect.

If I had to choose between fullscreen or split screen then I'd go with split screen but it'd be a compromise, I'd hate to loose fullscreen card view for images.

Btw the example with wallpapers i posted above might look a little silly but I don't feel like posting tonnes of my personal photos in this thread. Trust me, card view is hell of a lot better for browsing tonnes of photos.

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JM, I agree with most of what you said but something that I wanted to add:

. . .

The problem is that we have ONLY card view. It works great for images but snippet/list view is better for text notes.

Good point May. I agree the large card view is better for image notes.

But you hit the nail on the head: "The problem is that we have ONLY card view"

So I am NOT suggesting that the Card view be removed. Only that both a true vertical list view and snippet view be added.

A great example is Apple email. You can control how many lines are displayed in the list of msg in the left pane.

Here is the Apple iPad EMail screen UI -- would love for EN iPad to offer this UI:

iPad_Email_UI.jpg

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Mail app is a perfect example of simple and efficient UI. I agree that Evernote seems to be reinventing the wheel for no real reason.

Here are some examples:

8236660396_0772930f1f_b.jpg

8236660678_0cf37b18a5_b.jpg

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I was taught to never offer criticism without also offering a solution.

So, here is my very, very, rough EN iPad UI design.

It is incomplete and definitely needs polish, but the main purpose is to illustrate how to provide intuitive, easy-to-use functionality in the UI.

It is modeled after the Apple EMail app, and the EN iPad Ver 4 app.

Two big points I would like to make with regards to readability:

  1. COLORS --

    1. careful, thoughtful, limited use of colors can really help.
    2. Our brain can quickly associate specific colors with specific products/actions
    3. TEXT SIZE & CONTRAST --
      1. Please keep the text size reasonable. Very small (<10 pt) can make it hard/slow to read
      2. Text Contrast -- please use high contrast between text color and background color. Low contrast like grey on grey really, really, makes it hard to read quickly.

Here's my very rough mockup of EN iPad UI:

EN_iPad_UI_Mockup.jpg

BTW, just thought of a cool UI feature: tapping on the NB or Tag in the Snippet list would filter the list to that NB or Tag.

I hope the Evernote team finds this useful. I'm not asking that you adopt this exact design, but that you consider the design points that it illustrates.

Thanks.

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Here's a clean version without all the comments so you can better see what it would look like:

EN_iPad_UI_Mockup_Clean.jpg

EDIT: Added "Sort" button per comment from GM. There's probably a better way to do this, but added it as a reminder that we definitely need full SORT capability on EN iPad.

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Thanks JM and May. These are nice ideas, and hopefully they will give the developers some food for thought. I'd like to see sort options and list view, though :)

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@May: I'm with Dumber. Hope springs eternal. :-)

If not Evernote, then who knows, maybe some other enterprising person will get inspired and generate some real competition for Evernote.

Chances of Evernote being a 100-year company if they don't adapt to the changing user needs is slim to none.

Remember IBM used to own the computer world

Remember Microsoft used to own the PC world.

Remember RIM used to own the business mobile phone world.

Remember the Romans use to rule the world.

Need I go on?

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I'd like to see sort options and list view, though :)

Good point GM -- I completely forgot about sort options. We definitely need those. Should be room for a Sort button.

You and I have been asking for a vertical List view on Mac and iOS for a long time now. Many others as well.

I just don't see why EN resists providing that so much. It's probably the easiest view to implement.

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I'd like to see sort options and list view, though :)

Good point GM -- I completely forgot about sort options. We definitely need those. Should be room for a Sort button.

Yep. I think we agree about the stuff that is needed. I like your ideas, and I hope they lead to some improvements. I don't care how they do it (they are the developers, and I trust they'll figure out the best way), but I really think a more productivity-oriented UI would be nice. Here are the four things I think should be considered.

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. I don't care how they do it (they are the developers, and I trust they'll figure out the best way), but I really think a more productivity-oriented UI would be nice.

I'm not sure I understand why you would "trust" the developers at this point, given the designs that have been produced for Sketch, Mac Ver 5, and iOS Ver 5.

I'm not sure "trust" is even the right word here. There has always been a struggle between software developers and end users. The very hardest thing for a developer to do is to truly put his/herself in the shoes of the end user. They are too close to the product/design, and, in most cases, just don't think like many/most end users.

This is what is fundamentally wrong with the Evernote approach of "we design for ourselves". They are group of nerdy, techy, very smart developers. I have been on both sides of this, and I have always been surprised by how users have used my software. Rarely is the best design for me the best design for the end user, when I'm the developer.

Frankly the computer hardware/software world is full of examples where the end user should not just trust the developer and accept everything they put out.

I remember my first (and the first for many others as well) surprise with Microsoft. Previously, whenever MS released a Service Pack, we always just applied it to our servers without any real testing. Then MS released NT Server SP2, which was a disaster, and even caused many user (system admins) servers to crash and lose data.

Since then, few experienced people blindly trust MS. Funny how we (meaning me) forget our lessons.

I recently blindly applied an Apple Mac update for Java that completely broke several critical web apps I use that depend on Java.

Worst part was, that there was no "undo" for the update, except to completely restore your full system from a backup made prior to the update.

For me, trust is something earned. I trust Evernote to a certain extent (like in privacy & security matters), but I can't say that I trust them to provide a great UI that always puts function before form.

Let's see how Evernote responds to the many complaints about Ver 5. If they restore the functionality that was removed from Ver 4 (Mac and iOS), and add the key functionality that so many have been asking for (like vertical list view), then I will start to trust them. When the EN Mac has full parity with EN Win, then I can begin to really trust their UI design judgement.

Just my 2c.

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GrumpyMonkey is IMHO irrational in his trust in developers because it's obvious that they don't actually go in the direction we would like them to go...

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Here's a video I recorded about how I want search to work in all Evernote clients:

All that's really necessary is a Search Bar at the top of the screen which lets you conveniently filter Notes by Tags, Notebooks, Dates and all kinds of other attributes via auto suggestions and drop down menu similar to what we have in Evernote Web Client.

Instead of manually typing search operators like "tag:" or "created:" and etc. there should be a universal Search Bar which auto suggests you stuff. Also it should be possible to easily add and remove multiple Tags from a search expression.

Then we need an ability to sort the results in different ways, e.g. Sort by date(created and updated), title, use Ascending and descending order, etc.

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@JMichael I agree with much you have said. I have grown to like the card view so we need to keep this and add at least two other views (list and snippet). You ought to update your missing features page Mac vs PC but I guess it would almost double in size!

I note the developer videos stress how they agonise over changes and how they may affect millions of users.... We also know that apparently internally, some staff thought the new Mac and iOS client were going to be challenging with a huge increase in support calls and reduced accessibility issues!

@May that 'office' video appears to have been pulled from YouTube too (following deletion here) so I guess that confirms it was real!

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The developers have delivered a great product with an unconventional design. Does it work well for my use case? No. And, maybe it does not work for yours either.But, they never promised that it would.

They chose not to adopt many of my suggestions (list view, etc.). That's their prerogative. They have a lot more factors to consider than just making a list view. I'd rather support them their work where I can

There are a lot of elements I like in it (especially on the iPhone), from searching shared notebooks to the design elements shared with OSX. I trust that they know what they are doing, and the new design is the best thing for the platform, though I still do hope they will reconsider my suggestions.

In the meantime, I have been working more on my Mac through Parallels with the Windows app. I am so much more productive that way, and when I want to use the iPad, I use a remote desktop app. This is a workaround to meet my needs. I'm just happy that the option exists.

Again, I want to say that there is nothing at all wrong with the iOS app. It simply isn't designed for a certain kind of productivity (my use case). These things happen, and neither of is is right or wrong. It is what it is, and rather than trying to push my agenda onto the developers, I'll figure out ways to work with what they have given us. It isn't a matter of trust but rather one of different visions and expectations. That's all.

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Again, I want to say that there is nothing at all wrong with the iOS app.

Sorry but frankly the app has tonnes of bugs and performance issues and crippled functionality for no real reason other than poor design decisions. It has nothing to do with our use cases. It is what it is.

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The developers have delivered a great product with an unconventional design. Does it work well for my use case? No. And, maybe it does not work for yours either.But, they never promised that it would.

They chose not to adopt many of my suggestions (list view, etc.). That's their prerogative. They have a lot more factors to consider than just making a list view. I'd rather support them their work where I can

There are a lot of elements I like in it (especially on the iPhone), from searching shared notebooks to the design elements shared with OSX. I trust that they know what they are doing, and the new design is the best thing for the platform, though I still do hope they will reconsider my suggestions.

In the meantime, I have been working more on my Mac through Parallels with the Windows app. I am so much more productive that way, and when I want to use the iPad, I use a remote desktop app. This is a workaround to meet my needs. I'm just happy that the option exists.

Again, I want to say that there is nothing at all wrong with the iOS app. It simply isn't designed for a certain kind of productivity (my use case). These things happen, and neither of is is right or wrong. It is what it is, and rather than trying to push my agenda onto the developers, I'll figure out ways to work with what they have given us. It isn't a matter of trust but rather one of different visions and expectations. That's all.

Hey GM I was about to fall on my knees and say sorry I thought you were about to knock EN. But you pulled it back at the last minute well done :)

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The developers have delivered a great product with an unconventional design. Does it work well for my use case? No. And, maybe it does not work for yours either.But, they never promised that it would.

In the meantime, I have been working more on my Mac through Parallels with the Windows app. I am so much more productive that way, and when I want to use the iPad, I use a remote desktop app. This is a workaround to meet my needs. I'm just happy that the option exists.

You'll be arguing black is white next?

Putting our quite understandable desire and documented general aim of EN themselves to have ever improving parity between platforms -

The lastest iOS and Mac Apps have some stupid bugs, both visual and functional.

A significant number of features have been removed - Has anybody produced a full list? (perhaps its too big a job :))

We need to keep the pressure up as although I'm encouraged by the return of note counts in the Mac client, they could have easily added back the back/forward icons for notebook links so WHY NOT? Grumpy having to abandon two EN clients for lack of features and move, in affect, to just the Windows client is the funniest/contradictory solution to this!?#

Perhaps throw your iPad & Macbook Air away and get a nice light Toshiba Ultrabook http://www.dabs.com/...ltrabook&src=16

Grumpy please stand up for what's clearly right or perhaps keep quiet :excl: (no chance or see May's vid)

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Grumpy please stand up for what's clearly right or perhaps keep quiet :excl: (no chance or see May's vid)

LOL. I didn't know we were arguing "right" or "wrong." The designers have made their decision about their vision for how the app ought to be used going forward. I can only evaluate the app that is, not the app I think ought to have been, and to my eyes it does a good job of accomplishing a certain vision that favors casual use.

As you all know, I've offered plenty of suggestions for things I think are simply fundamental to productivity for some users like myself.

http://discussion.ev...or-all-clients/

http://discussion.ev..._20#entry171291

http://discussion.ev...ios-419-now-44/

Some of these ideas were implemented in earlier versions, and this gave me some hope that the new update would align with my use case. However, in this major revision to the app they decided not to go this direction after all, and actually stripped out some of the "productivity" elements from the app. This suggests that the designers are headed somewhere else after all. To conclude from their decision that they were "wrong" and we ought to pile on against the app seems a mistake to me.

As I see it, it just isn't the app I wanted it to be. That doesn't make it bad by a long shot. I've got an analogy to interpersonal relationships in mind here ("he's just not that into you (and your use case)"), but I'll restrain myself :)

Hey GM I was about to fall on my knees and say sorry I thought you were about to knock EN. But you pulled it back at the last minute well done :)

Hahaha. I only knock EN for stuff I think deserves knocking. The developers have heard an earful from me in person and on these forums about bugs and problems with the app. If a developer comes on the forum and tells me that "we designed this to help productivity," then I'm going to have something to say, because they clearly have a kind of productivity in mind that I have not yet encountered in my life :)

They haven't said what use-case they designed the app for, but the reduction in features like sort choices, the reduction in views, and the increase in actions / time needed to accomplish tasks suggest it is about appealing to a more casual user. That isn't what I am, by a long shot, so I am thinking that they hit the mark after all, I just didn't happen to be it.

GrumpyMonkey is IMHO irrational in his trust in developers because it's obvious that they don't actually go in the direction we would like them to go...

I think this gets to the heart of the matter, in a way. Form follows function in the current app IF you don't assume that the developers were aiming to make a design for the casual user. IF you think they were aiming for productivity as well as casual users, then I would have to agree that there is a problem. It isn't trust that is at stake, but different visions of what an app like Evernote ought to be doing on the iPad.

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They haven't said what use-case they designed the app for

GM you keep implying that there is some special mysterious use case that developers have in mind and we simply have a different use case. Frankly, this kinda frustrates me.

Even if that's true... Why even develop for some special mysterious use case in the first place?

Yes, there are differences in how people use the app, but in general we all use it in the same way, to capture and retrieve information. What we are suggesting here is not related to some niche use case. what we are suggesting in this and other threads would benefit the app overall without compromising anything. What Evernote developers are doing is crippling the functionality for no apparent reason. Your use case argument is IMHO really irrelevant.

Again here is another example with the Mail app. People use email differently, some people search for emails, some don't. Some people use labels, some don't. But let's just say Apple starts to develop their Mail app with a use case of someone who has only 5 emails and doesn't use search, labels or anything really. So they cripple the search, remove all kinds of features but make the Mail app look stunningly good. Do you think this is a smart move?

This seems to be what developers of Evernote are doing. What they're doing is crippling the functionality for no real reason. I see the lack of functionality in the app as a bad thing overall, regardless of any use cases.

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As concluded elsewhere it's perfectly possible to radically simplify something without losing function/features. MS Word ribbon being a good example (thanks thorrrr).

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Yep, exactly. It's not like they have to develop for either this or that use case. They can make a good looking, easy to use app which also has some good functionality and pleases people with different use cases.

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I would just like to get back to being able to recommend EN to clients and friends. Which is an interesting point, do you grow users by their first impressions of the interface or through recommendations from existing users.

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They haven't said what use-case they designed the app for

GM you keep implying that there is some special mysterious use case that developers have in mind and we simply have a different use case. Frankly, this kinda frustrates me.

Sorry.

Even if that's true... Why even develop for some special mysterious use case in the first place?

Yes, there are differences in how people use the app, but in general we all use it in the same way, to capture and retrieve information.

Obviously, I would also like to have more functionality and customizability, but that isn't what we have. So, we have to ask: why? JM thinks it is that the developers value form over function. Maybe. Maybe not.

ASSUMPTIONS

I come at it from a different perspective, starting with some assumptions. First, the developers are competent and capable of designing apps. Second, the developers have read, comprehended, and thought a lot about the suggestions we have made over the last few months / years. Third, the developers aim to design the best app they possibly can.

FORKS AND SPOONS

If these assumptions are accurate, and we just had a major overhaul of the app that gave the developers a chance to express their vision of what it ought to be, rather than simply making modifications on the one that was designed for the original iPad so long ago, then I think we have an answer to the question. The app is designed for a different function / use case than we have in mind. That is the conclusion I have reached. This means that it isn't "wrong" or "right," just like it wouldn't be "wrong" to use a fork instead of a spoon.

Personally, I'd prefer it if the developers gave us more options (forks and spoons) or even a mix of functions that address several use cases at once if they don't want to incorporate customizability (a spork). But, right now we just have a fork.

DESIGN = STATEMENT OF A VISION

I think design makes a statement. Someone with my use case in mind simply could not imagine making the search field smaller, removing it from the home screen, removing note counts, not including at least a Snippet View (I'd prefer a List View), or reducing the number of sorts (I have long been asking for more -- see the links above). It would be inconceivable. The lack of basic features like note links, batch editing, and so forth would be one of the very first things I would be trying to tackle. Unless, of course, you have a different vision of the app, a different vision of your users, and a different vision of what is best for Evernote.

WE HAVE TO SHOW THE MERITS OF OUR SUGGESTIONS

If they have decided that their vision for the app simply cannot accomodate multiple views (Snippet, Card, and List), then so be it. I'll support them in their decision, though I'll have to come up with some other workaround to address my particular needs. Maybe, they will change their mind in the future (I am hoping my posts have been persuasive -- see the links above), but I don't think it will be because they have suddenly begun favoring function over form as this thread suggests. Rather, it will be because we have somehow convinced the developers that making these changes is in the best interests of Evernote.

I hope we can do that, but I kind of doubt making attacks on the developers for not understanding how to do their job is the best way to go forward. I think JM and May have given us excellent mock-ups that would fulfill a certain vision for the app, but I am also sure that the developers are well-aware of how the Mail app works :) The question isn't showing them what "can" be done, but finding a way of convincing them that it ought to be done.

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Yeah, that's exactly the point. Developers do know how the Mail app works and they already have a full featured Evernote client on windows or web version, for example. So obviously they know what can be done. Maybe they have a different vision for the app. I agree with this possibility.

I disagree that developers always know what's best...

Particularly, their decision to cripple functionality doesn't make sense to me because you can have both form and functionality. There is no reason to choose between one or the other. Hence the decision to cripple functionality seems kinda plain wrong to me. Yes, you could argue that there is no wrong or right, but that's a moot point.

"Again here is another example with the Mail app. People use email differently, some people search for emails, some don't. Some people use labels, some don't. But let's just say Apple starts to develop their Mail app with a use case of someone who has only 5 emails and doesn't use search, labels or anything really. So they cripple the search, remove all kinds of features but make the Mail app look stunningly good. Do you think this is a smart move?"

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I disagree that developers always know what's best...

Well, I know what's best, of course :)

There is no reason to choose between one or the other.

Actually, I think this is a crucial point. If you agree with the assumptions I made above, then the developers clearly believe it is better to make choices for the interface rather than leave the options up to the users. That is their vision. It makes perfect sense, but as a result, I have to use the same interface as a schoolchild, even though we have radically different use cases.

To take it one step further, keeping my assumptions above in mind, if you were designing the app, and you concluded that Card View was the best one to use, what kind of users would you be designing it for? It simply could not be for me.

(1) I work almost entirely in text,

(2) I have many thousands of notes,

(3) I need to see the titles of my notes -- the Card View shows me almost none of the relevant information I need to do my work, and the titles get cut off so that I have no idea what the note is about

(4) I browse -- now I have to open them one at a time to see what is inside, so it has effectively ended my browsing days on the iPad.

(4) I search a lot -- the search field is difficult to find and shrunken down to a fraction of its former size.

These things didn't happen by chance. They happened by design. So, the "average" user you have in mind when you are desiging an app like v5 would have to be working with images (web clippings?), maybe a few dozen notes, the titles don't matter much, and they only use basic, one-word searches. They probably rely on mobile primarily to capture things with a camera, or jot a few notes, but not for any serious content creation or account management. If I am right, then the iOS team did a great job. This may well be exactly the app Evernote needs to grow and develop.

I don't know if it is a "smart" move to do this, but (with all of these assumptions I have made in mind) it makes sense. Sadly, it doesn't fit my workflow very well, but again, that doesn't imply that the developers are incompetent. We simply disagree.

I am thinking about emailing Tufte and having him weigh in on the issue :)

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What I don't understand is why Evernote's Mac and iOS teams are pulling in the opposite direction of the Windows and Android teams, away from business/power use and towards casual use. It contradicts what's going on in the world. According to every statistic I've seen, Apple's market share among corporate users is steadily increasing, so either EN's customer base is atypical in that its Mac and iOS users are trending away from business use, instead of towards it, or EN's vision for Mac and iOS is simply wrong.

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I mean look... Let's just put it another way. You can add all of the functionality we ask for without compromising the app in any way. I don't see it conflicting with whatever vision they might have. So why not do it?

If they really did, as you say:

Second, the developers have read, comprehended, and thought a lot about the suggestions we have made over the last few months / years. Third, the developers aim to design the best app they possibly can

Then there's no reason to not do it.

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I mean look... Let's just put it another way. You can add all of the functionality we ask for without compromising the app in any way. I don't see it conflicting with whatever vision they might have. So why not do it?

If they really did, as you say:

Second, the developers have read, comprehended, and thought a lot about the suggestions we have made over the last few months / years. Third, the developers aim to design the best app they possibly can

Then there's no reason to not do it.

Well, you and I agree :)

But, what if part of your vision was trimming the fat from the app, and whenever possible, choosing how the UI should look rather than designing in options?

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But, what if part of your vision was trimming the fat from the app, and whenever possible, choosing how the UI should look rather than designing in options?

This is not fat, it's lean muscle :)

Again, here is how you can improve functionality, keep the app looking just as good, and also make it actually EASIER to use for an average user:

Searching is so important that I personally think there should be a big Search Bar right at the top of the Home screen. Besides, It's not going to clutter or overcomplicate anything and it's probably going to be also pretty easy to place it there...

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about

8168526234_12900d2b92_b.jpg

8168498383_b1c87fe92b_b.jpg

Here's a video I recorded about how I want search to work in all Evernote clients:

All that's really necessary is a Search Bar at the top of the screen which lets you conveniently filter Notes by Tags, Notebooks, Dates and all kinds of other attributes via auto suggestions and drop down menu similar to what we have in Evernote Web Client.

Instead of manually typing search operators like "tag:" or "created:" and etc. there should be a universal Search Bar which auto suggests you stuff. Also it should be possible to easily add and remove multiple Tags from a search expression.

Then we need an ability to sort the results in different ways, e.g. Sort by date(created and updated), title, use Ascending and descending order, etc.

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So basically improve search, add ability to batch edit multiple notes, add snippet/list view, add more sorting options and ascending and descending order. The app is still going to look just as good and be as easy to use, if not even easier.

I don't see any good reason to not do it. If you have one, please let me know...

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So basically improve search, add ability to batch edit multiple notes, add snippet/list view, add more sorting options and ascending and descending order. The app is still going to look just as good and be as easy to use, if not even easier.

I don't see any good reason to not do it. If you have one, please let me know...

Obviously, I think my ideas are the best and there are lots of reasons to do them.

But, a reason not to do it? The developers disagree with my (our?) vision for the app.

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The developers disagree with my (our?) vision for the app.

Simply disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing?

I would like to see some actual reason why they disagree. I don't see how our visions conflict.

Especially when you consider that all of the requested features are already available in windows client and developers supposedly strive to achieve feature parity across all clients .

Maybe they disagree with their own vision? Or are they going to dumb down windows and web clients eventually too?

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The developers disagree with my (our?) vision for the app.

Simply disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing?

I would like to see some actual reason why they disagree. I don't see how our visions conflict.

Especially when you consider that all of the requested features are already available in windows client and developers supposedly strive to achieve feature parity across all clients .

Maybe they disagree with their own vision? Or are they going to dumb down windows and web clients eventually too?

Different teams, different visions. And, if you consider multiple sorts that don't get used as much as others to be "fat," then it makes sense to trim it. I don't agree, of course, but it is a valid point of view. No one wants feature bloat.

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How do developers determine what is feature bloat and what is not?

Why do different Evernote teams have different visions?

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What about search auto suggestions, is this also feature bloat?

Why not get rid of "places" view?

How do developers determine what is feature bloat and what is not?

Why do different Evernote teams have different visions?

I don't know the answers, of course, but I'd guess that search suggestions within the text field may be difficult to accomplish. I've only ever seen it in Safari. We already have suggestions now, based on our past searches, but those come at the bottom of the search screen. I imagine that eventually they will base the suggestions on the content of our accounts (a feature introduced in August to the API).

Places? It's not my thing, but I imagine it works well for others.

Feature bloat? I think we are very, very far away from such a thing, as you can probably guess by all of my suggestions. The developers might have a different threshold. There are actually some people I talk to (really) who think that Evernote has way too many features. I actually do feel that bundling cameras, movies (only the Japanese Android app), and recordings into one app isn't so great. I'd prefer to separate those out and focus on text / speed myself, with Evernote Photo and Evernote Recorder apps providing more functionality, without cluttering up the main app. It's just a suggestion, though, and it might not be a good one at that. At any rate, I want more features for note taking and management / organization/ navigation of my account.

Different teams and different visions? In part, this is the philosophy of building the apps to suit the platforms without trying to make one that just fits the lowest common denominator. I think that's a good idea. However, I also think you can have different UIs, and some different functionality tailored to the strengths/weaknesses of the platform, but still aim to provide as much functionality as possible on each device. However, that's just me :)

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I have just watched the first developer video in full and I have got to say, it speaks for itself. Listen to Evernote’s Chief Designer, Gabe Compodonico at 20:30

head.pnghttp://bit.ly/QYXFEw

So the aim was to make the Apps 'feel simpler without removing anything' & 'Simpler and do more' which is what the MS ribbon was all about and no doubt something we would all generally agree with!

So I think either we need help finding the features we are 'apparently' missing or they have failed?

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I'll have to watch the whole video. I've been a bit busy this month. The iOS app might well "do" more, if we count up the number of features, and Angry Birds might do more as well (counting stuff), but they certainly will not help me to do more!

I think I pretty much agree with that quotation, but it doesn't imply anything about productivity. I am fine with a simpler interface, but in order to get my work done I need a bit more complexity if you count List View, search bars on every screen, sort options, and navigation buttons as "complex" :)

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I think we have the same vision pretty much...

I have just watched the first developer video in full and I have got to say, it speaks for itself. Listen to Evernote’s Chief Designer, Gabe Compodonico at 20:30

head.pnghttp://bit.ly/QYXFEw

So the aim was to make the Apps 'feel simpler without removing anything' & 'Simpler and do more' which is what the MS ribbon was all about and no doubt something we would all generally agree with!

So I think either we need help finding the features we are 'apparently' missing or they have failed?

I think they have simply failed, or rather keep failing because Evernote ver 4 on iOS wasn't great to begin with. It had even less functionality in some ways. We have the same vision. The whole assumption that they dumb down the app by design and develop for some mysterious user with only 5 notes is probably wrong.

I think the actual idea and intent behind the desing is very good overall.

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I just have to agree with you guys. It just beggars belief what is going on with EN.

When I saw the post above about the iPad app, I did not believe that that is the way notes are displayed - but it's true!

I suspect that this is what has happened: The EN team has looked at their users user-profiles and put them into a giant spreadsheet. They have seen that 70% of the paying users only have around 100 notes, 10 tags and no saved searches. So they've thought "let's just care about these guys". Result: apps that look like toys.

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Nah... Again, I think that's totally not the case. The actual intent behind the design is good, it just needs more refinement.

For example we actually get to see more notes on the screen in v5 compared to v4. (15 instead of 5)

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Nah... Again, I think that's totally not the case. The actual intent behind the design is good, it just needs more refinement.

For example we actually get to see more notes on the screen in v5 compared to v4. (15 instead of 5)

?

We could see (I think) 12 in v4. I forget. The home screen was card view. Nothing has changed there (as far as I can tell) except that we lost the split screen snippet and note view.

I agree, though, that the intentions were good, the design is solid, and it meets the needs of some use cases. It would like to see some tweaking, though, before it is something I would consider for productivity. Only a few things, but they are big ones, and I have been requesting them for a while, so I won't hold my breath.

In the meantime, I am putting together some workarounds for people who might have workflows similar to mine. For example, as I mentioned elsewhere, saved searches that return fewer results help a lot with the navigation. Another tip is to put summaries at the beginning of your notes. These show up in the card views and it helps ameliorate the problem of having lots of cards that have to be flipped over to find out what is inside.

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We could see (I think) 12 in v4. I forget. The home screen was card view

Yeah but that wasn't the screen you actually used most of the time. You could not actually work with your notes at all in that view. Once you tapped on any note, or searched for anything, etc. it swtched to split screen and stayed that way.

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We could see (I think) 12 in v4. I forget. The home screen was card view

Yeah but that wasn't the screen you actually used most of the time. You could not actually work with your notes at all in that view. Once you tapped on any note, or searched for anything, etc. it swtched to split screen and stayed that way.

Indeed. I'm saying that they haven't increased the number from 5 to 15. The number is the same, but they just removed a screen. As you said, we all have to work with this one view now.

Just to be clear, I have nothing against card view. I don't use it, but I can definitely see it as something that people would like to use. For my use case, though, it is less than ideal.

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We could see (I think) 12 in v4. I forget. The home screen was card view

Yeah but that wasn't the screen you actually used most of the time. You could not actually work with your notes at all in that view. Once you tapped on any note, or searched for anything, etc. it swtched to split screen and stayed that way.

And in what way the new interface improved the ability to work? What kind of scenario it was designed for in your opinion?

Specifically in what kind of operation the following flow: [tap to open - tap to magnify - tap to edit - tap done - tap close - tap to open another note] is better than switching between notes with one tap?

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We could see (I think) 12 in v4. I forget. The home screen was card view

Yeah but that wasn't the screen you actually used most of the time. You could not actually work with your notes at all in that view. Once you tapped on any note, or searched for anything, etc. it swtched to split screen and stayed that way.

And in what way the new interface improved the ability to work? What kind of scenario it was designed for in your opinion?

Specifically in what kind of operation the following flow: [tap to open - tap to magnify - tap to edit - tap done - tap close - tap to open another note] is better than switching between notes with one tap?

I'll make a video with my thoughts about it.

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And in what way the new interface improved the ability to work? What kind of scenario it was designed for in your opinion?

Specifically in what kind of operation the following flow: [tap to open - tap to magnify - tap to edit - tap done - tap close - tap to open another note] is better than switching between notes with one tap?

But to quickly answer your particular question, here are some examples:

We get almost 20 notes on the screen instead of 5. If those notes are also images then you can clearly see their contents without even opening them. This is A LOT more convenient compared to previous version.

My diet for the past several days, very easy to see everything at glance:

8240519602_6c0c87ec6a_b.jpg

Now for text notes a snippet split screen view would be preferable but card view is still not all that bad:

You can still read quite a lot of content inside notes without opening them

8240527396_07e7bb2fef_b.jpg

Only if you want to fully read notes, then, yes, switching between different notes is slower compared to previous versions.

My suggestion is to add an ability to swipe between notes and also add buttons to switch between notes

8240534590_0faf16a018_b.jpg

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I notice a recurring pattern here in the forums. Certain people repeatedly participate in threads to say

The developers are stupid,

The developers hate and ignore us,

The developers don't have a clue.

(Oversimplified but that's the gist)

Obviously with what, 35 million users, they are doing something right. A lot of us like what is happening and we don't even hear from most of the millions in some other countries so it seems from the vocal minority here in the forums that "everyone is upset". Of course everyone has an opinion but it is interesting to see some with the dogged "do it my way or you are dumb and I'm going to say so... Repeatedly... In the forums". Why not just state your opinions and let EN devs decide what they will and either adapt or leave. Repeating a point over and over by the same people here does little... They listen, but they also listen to other communication channels from other customers and usage stats that we never see.

I think it is easy to think of our own opinion as what everyone thinks but EN is in a bunch of countries with a bunch of different users and different uses. In fact, the most common use case for EN may be something none of us in the forum would ever think of.

I just wonder if you guys hound the companies that make your cars and TVs this much. :)

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Deverill, The point of this thread is not to complain and call developers dumb. The point is to provide our suggestions and discuss things.

We are discussing various aspects of the Evernote iOS app design and anything connected with that because we like this stuff. Of course it's obvious that the vast majority of users can't be bothered to participate in any discussions. So what? What's your point?

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I notice a recurring pattern here in the forums. Certain people repeatedly participate in threads to say

The developers are stupid,

The developers hate and ignore us,

The developers don't have a clue.

(Oversimplified but that's the gist)

Sorry, IMO you couldn't be more wrong. You make it sound personal. Couldn't be further from the truth.

In fact, in another thread, I noted how nerdy, techy, and very smart the developers are, and how passionate they are about their work.

Smart people often disagree. Just look at our politicians debate over the fiscal cliff -- OOPS, sorry, I forgot we were talking about smart people. :P

But even smart people can make mistakes, or actually bad judgements about user needs. Just look at Sketch Ver 2.0. It was pretty much rejected en-mass by the Sketch user community. Evernote has acknowledged this, and has identified 20+ major issues they caused in Ver 2 which will be fixed.

I don't know which threads and people you're talking about, but everyone in this thread is offering constructive suggestions.

If you've been around many product forums, you'd notice that this is pretty common dialog. I've seen the same in Apple Support, Microsoft Support, Google, etc.

If we didn't really care about the product, we'd just dump it and not waste any more time.

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I just started using 5 for the first time and all I can say is wow did they ***** up a great product. Sorry, nothing more constructive to say at this point... it may take a while to wrap my head around everything.

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@deverill I think that EN developers and staff are a highly skilled and passionate group of people, who have made EN what it is today (a very successful brand/solution).

They are however a little poor at communicating their present and near future intentions, which leads to more speculation than is probably necessary. They should also employ more rigorous testing before release and pause for breath now and again to consolidate.

I have had doubts in recent weeks, but I think their aims are good and sound. However they need to build better communications channels within EN and to the wider community. :)

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They are however a little poor at communicating their present and near future intentions, which leads to more speculation than is probably necessary.

It's by Evernote policy that their roadmaps are not published beforehand; you can get a sense of direction by involving yourself in the betas (I understand why some folks would choose not to). Speculation, however fun it is to engage in it, is free for all to choose to do or not, but it ultimately worth its weight in gold.

They should also employ more rigorous testing before release and pause for breath now and again to consolidate.

More testing never hurts. Breathing is good, too.

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Objectively the app is pretty good. Yes, it has horrible performance, lacks functionality, it lacks list view and many other features, so when people are pointing out all of this stuff the criticism might seem a little over the top.

But I think the problem is not in the overall vision developers have, but maybe simply in the lack of refinement. Of course I cant really tell and this could be wishful thinking on my part. I wish developers were more open about what they actually want to achieve. I dont mean an exact roadmap, but to at least describe what user and use cases they have in mind and so on...

GrumpyMonkey assumes that developers are super competent and pretty much everything they do is a design statement. I kind of doubt that everything is the way it is by design. I think some stuff is by design and some stuff is just mistake and some stuff is just lack of refinement.

For example sometimes the card view works pretty horrible because it separates and spreads notes out too much:

8175639541_7e487ab597_b.jpg

Should we assume that we see only 3 notes on the whole screen by design? And that the app is designed for someone who has very small amount of notes? I personally highly doubt it. I think they simply overlooked this.

In the same way they overlooked the inability to type tags in landscape view

Example:

8177957095_bfb681938b_b.jpg

I mean obviously not everything is part of their vision...

I think with the card view their goal was to provide more of a focused fullscreen experience and to let us see as much content as possible at a glance. It kind of gives you more of a birds eye view of your content.

They just need to bring an option to switch between snippet/list/card view and bring multiple ways to sort notes to accommodate for different use cases. I mean... It's not like each person has some single use case, I personally have tonnes of different use cases and I need to review notes in different ways depending on what I'm doing.

My biggest complaint is not even about UI, which i think is fine for the most part. My biggest complaint is that the app is barely usable because of performance issues and bugs.

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I was just using EN iPhone Ver 4, and it really struck me how easy and intuitive it is to use. This is a great example of where form FOLLOWS function.

In particular, to filter your notes by a Tag, or by a Search (Saved or Custom), it is so easy.

For example, to filter by a Tag, it just takes a couple of taps, which you don't even have to think about:

  1. Tap on the "Tags" button at the bottom of the screen
  2. Quickly find your tag by any of the following:

    1. Visually browse/scroll
    2. Tap the alphabetic index letter
    3. Start typing the tag name
    4. In the example below, I wanted "Evernote" tag, and all I had to do was type "ever", and there was "Evernote" at the top of the list
    5. Tap on the Tag to show snippet list of results of filterig by selected tag
    6. Quickly scroll (if needed) to find note of interest


      Here's a screen shot of the two screens.
      Note on the results screen (titled "Evernote") it shows
      • "View Options" -- provide SORT options
      • Shows total number of notes that meet your filter criteris

EN_iPhone_4_Tag_Screen.jpg

This is the kind of intuitive, ease-of-use that we need across the board in all EN clients.

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I was just using EN iPhone Ver 4, and it really struck me how easy and intuitive it is to use. This is a great example of where form FOLLOWS function.

In particular, to filter your notes by a Tag, or by a Search (Saved or Custom), it is so easy.

For example, to filter by a Tag, it just takes a couple of taps, which you don't even have to think about:

  1. Tap on the "Tags" button at the bottom of the screen
  2. Quickly find your tag by any of the following:

    1. Visually browse/scroll
    2. Tap the alphabetic index letter
    3. Start typing the tag name
    4. In the example below, I wanted "Evernote" tag, and all I had to do was type "ever", and there was "Evernote" at the top of the list
    5. Tap on the Tag to show snippet list of results of filterig by selected tag
    6. Quickly scroll (if needed) to find note of interest


      Here's a screen shot of the two screens.
      Note on the results screen (titled "Evernote") it shows
      • "View Options" -- provide SORT options
      • Shows total number of notes that meet your filter criteris

EN_iPhone_4_Tag_Screen.jpg

This is the kind of intuitive, ease-of-use that we need across the board in all EN clients.

JM, how is this any better than what we have in v5?

8242719356_0ea07a93f4_m.jpg

8242719118_dcb652b58e_m.jpg

8242718958_eb27431ce1_m.jpg

The only difference is that Tag, Notebook, All Notes, etc. buttons are moved from the bottom of the screen to a separate Home Screen which saves space and allows you to see more of your content. I think this makes perfect sense on the small screen, It takes one additional tap to switch between screens but it makes the app more focused and gives you more of a full screen experience. Personally, I find menu panel at the bottom of the screen in v4 to be slightly distracting, like Im always presented with some options that I don't really need to constantly see.

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JM, how is this any better than what we have in v5?

8242719356_0ea07a93f4_m.jpg

May, if only the EN iPad screen looked like this. it does NOT have the alphabetic index.

Also, from a readability POV, EN iPhone v4 screen of black text on white background is MUCH more reaable.

This is a small, but important, example of where Evernote has put form BEFORE function. Yes, it may look cooler to have grey text on grey background, but it more functional (easer to read) to have back on white.

And yes, moving the buttons from the bottom to the Home screen gives you one more row, but I find it difficult (on EN iPad v5) to pull down top to get to the Home screen of tabs. Rather than a pull-down, I'd prefer a button at the top for either "Home", or actually 3 small buttons for "All Notes", "Tags", "Search" (you'd only need 2 of these on each screen) would be much more intuitive and easier to use, for me.

EN iPhone v4 and EN iPad v4 are quite different.

I'm running EN iPad v5 on a iPad mini. The flow and easy of use is better (to me) on EN iPhone v4.

Others may differ.

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@JMichael OK so we have issues with the way it now works but also in just a few minutes I have identified/been reminded of missing features?:

1. A count of the notes that match the query

2. Scroll bar on right which allows you to scroll to the bottom of the list in one touch

3. When browsing search results double tapping the top bar doesn't scroll to the top of the list

4. Inability to search TAGs found it!

5. No sort by created, notebook, city or country

6. Missing views - Photo (16+ to a screen), Attachments, Audio files, Place view based on filter.

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And yes, moving the buttons from the bottom to the Home screen gives you one more row, but I find it difficult (on EN iPad v5) to pull down top to get to the Home screen of tabs. Rather than a pull-down, I'd prefer a button at the top for either "Home", or actually 3 small buttons for "All Notes", "Tags", "Search" (you'd only need 2 of these on each screen) would be much more intuitive and easier to use, for me.

If developers were to implement universal Search Bar with auto suggestion at the top of the screen similar to what we have in web client then you wouldn't even need to use those Tags, Notebooks screens all that much other than to manage, I.e. delete/organise Tags and Notebooks which is not a frequent process.

All we really need is just All Notes screen and universal Search Bar with auto suggestion.

Want to find notes from a certain notebook/tag? Start typing the name of a notebook/tag and get auto suggestions. No need to switch between different screens to search for tags/notebooks. This would make the app more powerful, less cluttered and easier to use at the same time.

Example

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@May how are you getting the red letters down the right of the TAG list?

Lol

I don't get it. what red letters?

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@May how are you getting the red letters down the right of the TAG list?

Lol

I don't get it. what red letters?

I've sussed it, they appear when you arrange the TAGS by Name. I didn't recognise it as I don't have enough TAGS to fill a screen without RED letters on the left also. LOL

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If developers were to implement universal Search Bar with auto suggestion at the top of the screen similar to what we have in web client then you wouldn't even need to use those Tags, Notebooks screens all that much other than to manage, I.e. delete/organise Tags and Notebooks which is not a frequent process.

All we really need is just All Notes screen and universal Search Bar with auto suggestion.

Want to find notes from a certain notebook/tag? Start typing the name of a notebook/tag and get auto suggestions. No need to switch between different screens to search for tags/notebooks. This would make the app more powerful, less cluttered and easier to use at the same time.

Example

http://discussion.ev..._20#entry174323

Agreed. I really like this idea. On the Mac and PC it seems like a no-brainer.

On the iPhone/iPad, it may be a bit challenging to select what you want by tapping with such a broad pointer as your finger.

@May how are you getting the red letters down the right of the TAG list?

Lol

I don't get it. what red letters?

I've sussed it, they appear when you arrange the TAGS by Name. I didn't recognise it as I don't have enough TAGS to fill a screen without RED letters on the left also. LOL

The "red letters" are the alphabetic index that you can tap to go to Tags that start with that letter.

They do NOT appear on EN iPad v5. The Tag display on the iPad scrolls horizontally, whereas on the iPhone they scroll vertically.

And the iPad tag names are so small and low contrast that they are hard to read, especially the note count which is in very light grey (why????).

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Agreed. I really like this idea. On the Mac and PC it seems like a no-brainer.

On the iPhone/iPad, it may be a bit challenging to select what you want by tapping with such a broad pointer as your finger.

Well, we essentially have this in Safari, right? So, it is possible, and can be done well. I am not a programmer, so I have no idea what kind of processor power this would require, but to be honest, the app is already lagging at the moment (iPad 3), so I don't have much urge to stick in more stuff that will require "thinking." I'm fine if they just give us a list of saved searches and recent ones as we have.

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Agreed. I really like this idea. On the Mac and PC it seems like a no-brainer.

On the iPhone/iPad, it may be a bit challenging to select what you want by tapping with such a broad pointer as your finger.

On the iPad/iPhone they already have quite small UI elements anyway, for example Tags in the Tag Screen are really small but nobody complained so far :)

8243069448_2d200a62f2_b.jpg

And whenever you search you already get a list of saved searches and recent searches:

8243070602_55e68d9659_b.jpg

So adding Tag/Notebook auto suggestions to search on iOS is also a no-brainer IMHO, the UI is already there, it's just a matter of adding the functionality.

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Well, we essentially have this in Safari, right? So, it is possible, and can be done well. I am not a programmer, so I have no idea what kind of processor power this would require, but to be honest, the app is already lagging at the moment (iPad 3), so I don't have much urge to stick in more stuff that will require "thinking."

This feature is already available in Clever and the app is silky smooth...

I have hundrends of Tags and searching for a Tag in Evernote is instant, even faster than opening a Note for me. I doubt it would start lagging anywhere else. Remember it's just a search for Tags and Notebooks which are just plain keywords, it is not a search across the content of all of your Notes.

(it's such a small amount of data that you could easily fit all of your Tags and Notebooks in just a single note)

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May, I am OK with your idea of a smart Search builder, IF it will work well, performs well, and we can easily use it with our finger!!

OTOH, I am very happy with how EN iPhone v4 works -- it is very quick, intuitive, and takes the minium taps. I have no problem with my finger tapping the right button.

Your pics above through really illustrate the issue I have with grey text on grey background. This would seem to be an easy fix.

Sure, some might like the aesthetics of grey/grey better, but why reduce readability for everyone???

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May, I am OK with your idea of a smart Search builder, IF it will work well, performs well, and we can easily use it with our finger!!

I agree, if they are going to implent then it has to work well.

The current solution doesn't work well in the first place though. It's too hard to use. Currently you have to remember the exact name of the Tag/Notebook and then type the full search expression manually, including search grammar like Tag:"" and Notebook:"" which many people don't even know how to use.

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Your pics above through really illustrate the issue I have with grey text on grey background. This would seem to be an easy fix.

Sure, some might like the aesthetics of grey/grey better, but why reduce readability for everyone???

The greyed out text doesn't make much sense. Well, they wanted the app to look as good as possible, I guess. But it doesn't even really look any better than black on white(IMHO), it's just harder to read. Doesn't really bother me personally though.

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Your pics above through really illustrate the issue I have with grey text on grey background. This would seem to be an easy fix.

Sure, some might like the aesthetics of grey/grey better, but why reduce readability for everyone???

The greyed out text doesn't make much sense. Well, they wanted the app to look as good as possible, I guess. But it doesn't even really look any better than black on white(IMHO), it's just harder to read. Doesn't really bother me personally though.

I think it was smart to bring in design cues from OSX. They did a good job closing the gap between the two apps in appearance and usage. However, I don't like gray on gray text at all, and I do hope the developers will reconsider. It is an unnecessary barrier to the visually impaired, and makes quick scanning of information more difficult. I think black on white would be a much better design choice.

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<snip> I don't like gray on gray text at all, and I do hope the developers will reconsider.<snip>

That's a very valid point. I agree.

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<snip> I don't like gray on gray text at all, and I do hope the developers will reconsider.<snip>

That's a very valid point. I agree.

From now on, all of my posts that mention font and text display issues will be in Comic Sans (one of the tiny number of fonts we have available), in gray, on gray background as a silent protest (unless you are using Clearly, of course) :)

Oh yeah, and like a drinking game, if anyone mentions "dates" or words related to them, then you have to put in this link :)

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2299430400/tt1231583

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I think it was smart to bring in design cues from OSX. They did a good job closing the gap between the two apps in appearance and usage. However, I don't like gray on gray text at all, and I do hope the developers will reconsider. It is an unnecessary barrier to the visually impaired, and makes quick scanning of information more difficult. I think black on white would be a much better design choice.

I agree, I think. Since I can't read the text or your mind, I'll just have to trust you!

Besides, GM is always right! :D

I'm sure there's some smart-elic 21-yr old that will say: Ah, you old people, get some glasses and change your music and you'll be able to read this just fine. (remember, to a 21-yr old, anyone over 30 is "old") ;)

Just kidding guys. I remember being 21. But I was a boy scout, taught to help old ladies across the street, and give old men text they can read!

So EN developers, have pity on us and please give us black text on white background.

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ATTENTION Evernote design team - May's design suggestions are off the chart brillient -- Please strongly consider these -- all of them !!!!!!! Thank you JMichael for starting this -- the two of you have really hit the nail on the head on the problems with the new design. May's Video on "how search should work" is phenomenally Important.

Quote

Here's a video I recorded about how I want search to work in all Evernote clients:

All that's really necessary is a Search Bar at the top of the screen which lets you conveniently filter Notes by Tags, Notebooks, Dates and all kinds of other attributes via auto suggestions and drop down menu similar to what we have in Evernote Web Client.

Instead of manually typing search operators like "tag:" or "created:" and etc. there should be a universal Search Bar which auto suggests you stuff. Also it should be possible to easily add and remove multiple Tags from a search expression.

Then we need an ability to sort the results in different ways, e.g. Sort by date(created and updated), title, use Ascending and descending order, etc.

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ATTENTION Evernote design team - May's design suggestions are off the chart brillient -- Please strongly consider these -- all of them!!!!!!! Thank you JMichael for starting this -- the two of you have really hit the nail on the head on the problems with the new design. May's Video on "how search should work" is phenomenally Important.

Thanks! Yeah, hopefully ios devs would check this thread. :)

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Hopefully all of the Evernote Design Teams will read this thread to see if there is useful user feedback and design suggestions.

My fear is that, like most smart people, they will just ignore this thread because they think:

  • They already know what we will say
  • They discount the main assertion because they believe that they do follow the design principle of form follows function.

I have been in organizations full of smart, confident people. Most find it very difficult to accept or entertain criticism about their core functions, especially if they perceive it comes from a source less intellligent, less experienced, or less talented than they are.

Evernote designers, we really are trying to help, and trying to communicate our concerns to you in a constructive way.

We don't claim to be perfect or have the ideal solution.

I'm sure you can find many holes in my suggestions.

But maybe, amongst all the imperfect suggestions, you can find a few that will inspire you to designs that are more useful to the multitude of your users.

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Hopefully someone on the team will help push towards simplicity of design over feature glut.

IMO, it is not (at least it need not be) the feature set that causes the feeling of UI having "an overload of complexity. The design seems very cluttered and messy - not intuitive and effortless.".

Rather, it is just poor UI design. EN Mac v5 actually removed some critical core features.

A great design can combine a very intuitive, clean UI with a healthy set of features. One of the elements of such a design is providing the user with Preferences and customizable UI. The EN Win client does this much better than any of the recent EN Mac versions. EN Win allows the user to show/hide, via KB shortcuts and menu, various parts of the UI. The EN Mac v3 Toolbar was great! You could show/hide it as well as customize the buttons and locations on the toolbar.

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Thanks for the good discussion, all. I just want to add my vague 2pence-worth...

Basically, I'm using EN less since the v5 updates, on all my devices.

I find the new note and notebook navigation confusing and difficult. Tasks like moving a note from one book to another are much harder or require more steps now. Adding a new notebook to a stack is confusing - when I attempted this today, my new notebook was added at the root level and not the stack I'd selected.

Perhaps EN are trying to guide me towards a more tag-based search and retrieval paradigm, or to simply use search more. I can understand how this might be a reasonable strategy, but I spent a long time deriving my current notebook structure. The structure helps me find my information very quickly. The new tools provided which, in theory, should have sped up my retrieval, have actually slowed it down to the point of frustration.

I apologise I've not described my frustrations in as much detail as others' ... but if I did, I'd mostly be echoing what's already been said.

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Thanks for the good discussion, all. I just want to add my vague 2pence-worth...

Basically, I'm using EN less since the v5 updates, on all my devices.

Same here. It's almost become just a reference database - and maybe that's exactly how they want us to use it.

I still scan all my stuff and chuck it in here and then look for it every few weeks as and when I actually need anything. That's mostly out of habit and due to the fact I've now got Premium for 2 years ahead due to various offers. It did occur to me the other day how startlingly infrequently I actually look for stuff in EN any more.

But for general note taking etc (which used to be a huge part of my EN use), Dropbox and plain text is my friend. And my new found love of Moleskine notebooks. Somewhat ironically, and very much related to this discussion, I absolutely love the EN integrated Moleskine, but have hardly done any of the EN scanning - I just use it as a bog standard notebook! That, I think, says a great deal. I paid over the odds for the EN integration and use in the same way I'd have used a $1 notebook.

Shame, really. It was my most used app across all of my devices, but no more.

This is an interesting read. I'm not quite at that stage yet, but i'm close. I have set up a CloudHQ account to try EN --> Dropbox and it's working very well.

What makes me most worried, I guess, is that there's nobody (so far as I know) standing up from EN and saying "Okay guys, we screwed up. We gave you what we thought you wanted, but what we actually gave you is what we want, not what you want", which makes me think they're really just interested in bringing in as many punters as possible, for which they need to dumb it down as much as possible to attract a larger audience. Fair enough, it's a business and they need to make money. I don't recommend EN to anyone any more, though.

As has been said many times before, the EN power users are right out there on the fringe. They likely already have our money, so we're not likely to be targeted and provided with the stuff we want when there's money to be had from the new folk.

Happy days! :)

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As a side note, I'm on the beta of Penultimate for iPad. There's a dedicated forum for it here. I've posted a couple of times this year, and nobody else has. Not even the chap from EN who started the discussion. I did ask him if I was posting in the correct place, as there was no activity other than mine, but so far, no response. And that, unfortunately, seems to be a common theme.

For the time being, that's my last post in that section. No point me posting bug reports, suggestions, questions etc if nobody appears to give a hoot. Maybe I'm just posting in the wrong place, but if so, why not tell me?

Have EN maybe become so wrapped in the feel-goodedness of having a successful company that they've forgotten about those who got them there? Okay, a cliche, I know, but rings somewhat true.

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Hopefully all of the Evernote Design Teams will read this thread to see if there is useful user feedback and design suggestions.

My fear is that, like most smart people, they will just ignore this thread because they think:

  • They already know what we will say
  • They discount the main assertion because they believe that they do follow the design principle of form follows function.

I have been in organizations full of smart, confident people. Most find it very difficult to accept or entertain criticism about their core functions, especially if they perceive it comes from a source less intellligent, less experienced, or less talented than they are.

Evernote designers, we really are trying to help, and trying to communicate our concerns to you in a constructive way.

We don't claim to be perfect or have the ideal solution.

I'm sure you can find many holes in my suggestions.

But maybe, amongst all the imperfect suggestions, you can find a few that will inspire you to designs that are more useful to the multitude of your users.

Definitely not ignoring the thread or the feedback! There are some great ideas in here, a lot of which we've already discussed the feasibility of internally.

In general, we're very happy with a lot of how v5.0 turned out. We solved a lot of the user issues that we set out to tackle in a way that (a good number of) people are excited about using. That said, this was our first release of a major redesign -- it is, by no means, the end-all-be-all of what we want the application to be. There are interactions in the UI about which we're unhappy. There are use cases that we don't feel we're solving as well as we could (easily scanning mostly-text notes on iPad being a big one). I can't promise that we'll solve all of your issues immediately -- or even in exactly the way that you suggest -- but they're on the radar.

I can say, for sure, that a snippet view is coming back to Evernote on iPad in our next release. An easier method to navigate between notes once they're open is also coming soon to all devices (possibly next release... but if not, shortly thereafter). We're looking at a bunch of improvements to search to make it easier to do both simple and complex queries, but that's a bit farther down the road.

That doesn't cover all the comments here -- but hopefully gives some useful info. As always, keep the feedback coming. Even when no one is able to post, we are reading!

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I find the new note and notebook navigation confusing and difficult. Tasks like moving a note from one book to another are much harder or require more steps now. Adding a new notebook to a stack is confusing - when I attempted this today, my new notebook was added at the root level and not the stack I'd selected.

Perhaps EN are trying to guide me towards a more tag-based search and retrieval paradigm, or to simply use search more. I can understand how this might be a reasonable strategy, but I spent a long time deriving my current notebook structure. The structure helps me find my information very quickly. The new tools provided which, in theory, should have sped up my retrieval, have actually slowed it down to the point of frustration.

Unfortunately, the Evernote iOS app has never had support for adding notebooks to / removing notebooks from stacks. This is definitely something we'd like to enable in the future though. We're not intentionally trying to push anyone towards a particular structure -- stack support just hasn't been implemented yet.

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I can say, for sure, that a snippet view is coming back to Evernote on iPad in our next release. An easier method to navigate between notes once they're open is also coming soon to all devices (possibly next release... but if not, shortly thereafter). We're looking at a bunch of improvements to search to make it easier to do both simple and complex queries, but that's a bit farther down the road.!

That's most excellent news :)

A little hope goes a long way!

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I'm totally with psionmark on this. It's a terrible, terrible shame that EN has been stripped of so many powerful functions. e.g.: the way tags are now handled is crazy, and don't get me started on saved searches. I run a co-working centre, and have around 100 small business in my office. I used to recommend EN to all of them, and I used to have links on my member's network for folks to download it. No more, I don't recommend EN to anyone, not least of which because there are so many bugs. I'm still on 3.3.0 and will be staying there.

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For me EN on iOS is in the workshop.... waiting to be lovingly restored or crushed?

I don't think historically dumbing down has worked even for subscription based products.... my feeling is this situation has just been handled very badly, perhaps due to time constraints and poor inter-team communication. It looks like many features will be returning :) but having to wait 2-3 months is totally stupid. :wacko:

The intentions were good, but the reality was/is out of control. We all make mistakes, so I'll give EN the benefit of the doubt for another 6 weeks before giving up!

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For me EN on iOS is in the workshop.... waiting to be lovingly restored or crushed?

I don't think historically dumbing down has worked even for subscription based products.... my feeling is this situation has just been handled very badly, perhaps due to time constraints and poor inter-team communication. It looks like many features will be returning :) but having to wait 2-3 months is totally stupid. :wacko:

The intentions were good, but the reality was/is out of control. We all make mistakes, so I'll give EN the benefit of the doubt for another 6 weeks before giving up!

If you're only giving them 6 weeks, I think you may as well throw in the can now and get it over with. They're something of an oil tanker now, so quick turnarounds are probably a thing of the past.

To be honest, the only reason I'm hanging around is because I've invested quite a bit if cash and time with EN and I've got a premium account for the next 2 years or so, so I may as well hang on to it and see if they do what's right, or what makes money. However, it's purely a reference tool for me at the moment, allowing me access to the thousands of scanned docs I now have in there. It's certainly not a tool I use day in, day out as I used to before it all went pear shaped.

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@psionmark my point re 6 weeks referred to seeing significant progress in the next release, as suggested here -

But yes you could be right and this release might be months away!?#

In my short experience here, I think we will see it by the end of February. :)

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@psionmark my point re 6 weeks referred to seeing significant progress in the next release, as suggested here -

But yes you could be right and this release might be months away!?#

In my short experience here, I think we will see it by the end of February. :)

Ah, sorry Mike, hadn't seen that. Let's hope for good news, then.

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Hmmm, I chose the easy way: Also not liking EN5 Gui in the days after I installed it, I just stepped back to EN 4.xx. Haven't looked back to V5 ever since. When EN5 UI gets as good as the old EN4, I may start to think about it, but only if my iPAD 2 can run it without problems.

 

Bernie

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@alba63 on the iPad I  would now say that EN5.2.2 is better than EN4.xx! Try it, if you disagree let me know.... :)

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@alba63 on the iPad I  would now say that EN5.2.2 is better than EN4.xx! Try it, if you disagree let me know.... :)

 

High Mike, when I have some time, I will try it, but basically this will be the case when snippets and list view are back. The strong thing about EN4.xx is that it just does what I want to do. Except a few things like ceating Notebooks and sub notebooks. I also mostly use my iPAD as a reader, and I tend to write notes on my PC (V 4 as well).

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@alba63 on the iPad I  would now say that EN5.2.2 is better than EN4.xx! Try it, if you disagree let me know.... :)

 

High Mike, when I have some time, I will try it, but basically this will be the case when snippets and list view are back. The strong thing about EN4.xx is that it just does what I want to do. Except a few things like ceating Notebooks and sub notebooks. I also mostly use my iPAD as a reader, and I tend to write notes on my PC (V 4 as well).

 

Well snippets are back and better! we have a sort of list view too.... (hence my recommendation to try it).

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Well snippets are back and better! we have a sort of list view too.... (hence my recommendation to try it).

 

Unfortunately there still seem to be a number of BUGS in EN 5.2.2 that cause it to crash.

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@JMichael Have you found anything in particular? I've not noticed its any worse than previous relatively stable versions.

 

I note I'm still using 5.2.2 is 5.2.3 the problem?

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