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dunner87

android [Suggestions] New notes: keyboard and notebook selection

Idea

I have a couple suggestions that would significantly improve the usability of Evernote on Android, at least for my usage style.  I mainly use it to archive links to articles I've found interesting, and so will very often share to Evernote from other applications, such as Twitter clients, news readers, etc.  The vast majority of the time, I just save the notes as they were generated, and do not mess with editing them at all.  However, the keyboard still pops up every single time, and I have to WAIT for it to pop up every single time.  This adds at least 2-4 seconds onto how long I have to just sit there and wait before I can do anything with the note.  I have seen in other applications (such as Notif) the option to choose whether the keyboard activates upon opening or not, and such an option for Evernote would be a huge time-saver.  It would seem to be straightforward to fix this by simply not making the "Title" text field active automatically, instead letting a user tap there IF they need to edit it at all, since the extra time required to do that would be markedly less than the time saved when editing is not needed.  This would also have the added benefit of not automatically scrolling down past the header that lists the notebook, saving a user from having to always scroll back up in order to show it and select the proper notebook.  If anything ought to be popping up automatically, it would seem to make more sense for it to be the notebook selection list than the cursor in the title.

 

The other suggestion I have is to use the same notebook selection list in the note editing view as is used everywhere else in the application. Currently, in the note editing view, the font and spacing in the notebook selection list is absolutely huge, only allowing 7 notebooks to be displayed at a time (at least with my screen/resolution).  In contrast, everywhere else in the Evernote app this list uses much more reasonably-sized text, allowing 10 notebooks to be seen at a time, and looking MUCH nicer and cleaner as well.  This latter view also seems to load much faster than the former; when bringing up the former, a "Processing, please wait" box usually pops up for a couple seconds before the notebook selector comes up, while this is not seen with the more compact list style.

 

Overall, I absolutely love Evernote, and find it indispensible.  If these small suggestions could be implemented, it would just make the Evernote Android app just that much more polished and refined.

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I agree with your suggestions. I also agree with your general sentiment about Evernote; It has become an integral part of my business and life.

 

To expand on this general subject, I want to push for some additional refinement of the keyboard interfaces for Evernote. Of course everyone is going to have different ideas about exactly how the keyboard interface should work and there is probably no way to please everyone. However, we developers should try to come to as much agreement as possible on some general principals about keyboard interfaces. Having said that, I don't know of a good reference for what these principals are or would be, so I am sort of making them up as I go!

 

Suffice it to say that generally it is "power users" or at least users who use some aspect of an application a lot, who choose to use the keyboard interface rather than the mouse. These users want to be able to do some action faster. To do it faster, they need to do the entire action using the keyboard *exclusively*. A keyboard interface that requires a few mouse clicks here and there, interspersed with mouse clicks, can quickly become almost useless. It's helpful to provide visual feedback on what's happening, but it's best if the visual feedback is not required for the user to pay attention to, especially if he's doing some repetitive action that he's done many time before. In addition, if the action requires a lot of hand-eye coordination to pick specific items off of a list, or answer unexpected questions, or do things differently after adding "too many" tags (depending on the text length of the tags chosen), then it starts to get difficult to use. It should be a very predictable process. Incidentally, I recall 25 years ago, as a new software developer, being very surprised to learn that the keyboard entry operators using my program didn't even look at the screen when entering forms! Obviously, the Evernote engineers do pretty well with these principals, especially the primary ones, but there is always room for improvement. I also understand that knowing how the interface should work and getting it to work that way are two different things; it's not an easy job!

 

A couple of cases in point...

 

When I'm in Outlook and I want to add an email to Evernote, I first have to right click the email and click on "Add to Evernote". I haven't found a way to assign a hot-key, but maybe it's possible. This may be a problem in Outlook anyway, so I can live with that much if I have to. But now the evernote box pops up and I switch to the keyboard. I can enter a few tags by entering the tag, pressing enter, entering another tag, pressing enter etc. Even if I enter "too many" tags, so that they can't be displayed, it still lets me continue this pattern and even manages to give me some visual feedback (more would be better) about the tags I'm selecting. This is pretty good. But now when I want to select the Notebook, it always takes the key that I enter as the first letter of the notebook. If I have several notebooks starting with "C", I need to type C to get to the first one and then use the down arrow key to get down to the one that I want. It would be better if I could type the first couple of letters of the notebook name or at least see more than one item of the menu at a time. This seems more logical to me, especially since there is little value in typing "C" to see the first notebook starting with "C" and then immediately press "O" to see the first notebook starting with "O". Why would someone do that? If I type "CO", I would expect to see the first notebook starting with "CO", not "O".

 

When I'm adding a new note in Evernote, I can open a new note with the keyboard. I can add tags using the keyboard, but the keyboard interface is quite different from the one used when adding notes from Outlook. I understand how this occurs when developing software, and probably the newer Outlook interface is better overall with more visual feedback about the tags being selected, but in the long run it would be better to have a common keyboard sequence that works the same in all cases. Then there is the "click to add tag..." interface which not only requires a mouse-click, but it's also different from the other two interfaces. On this one, you can enter multiple tags with great visual feedback (better than either of the other two interfaces), but if you enter "too many" tags, a popup appears which accepts a single tag, but the enter key closes the popup and drops the user out of tag entry altogether, requiring a new click to get in.

 

I realize these are fine points, but I have been using Evernote for a couple of years and I have tried all three of these tag entry interfaces as wells forwarding emails to Evernote with subject line tags, and find that each one is just short of being great. Of course I will continue to use Evernote and try to find the best way of using these interfaces; after all, there is no other product that comes close. But I hope you will take these comments into consideration and work toward a common, predictable keyboard interface that will work even better.

 

Sorry for the wordy note. I don't know how to say it with fewer words.

 

Rick.

 

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