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ahilborne

(Archived) Web clipper gets progressively worse

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[[ Note: I've been using Evernote in various ways for over 4 years. I've got more than 3,500 notes. I like it. ]]

 

The web clipper is surely still the heart of EN, yet it's getting progressively harder to use. One of the principal joys of using EN is the "see it, clip it, forget it for now" cycle. It helps stop information overload, it reduces filing time (and hence requires less brain work to save information) and, typically, EN will help you find the information when you next want it, if you ever do.

 

The Windows client had a great clipper. It would do the clipping in the background, then it would pop up an information window (the New Clip dialog) which had just the right user interface for editing the title, maybe adding some tags and then sending the clip away. I used to use the keyboard a lot for this and I would typically type something like:

 

    A title<TAB>initial string for a tag<RETURN>another tag string<RETURN><TAB><RETURN>

 

.. and that was it. Absolutely wonderful. I could close the web page after I had taken the note and get on with the next thing. Sadly, a few versions ago, the pop-up UI for the Windows client clipper stopped working. I tried to explain the problem to EN support, but got nowhere. So I reluctantly switched to the Javascript web clipper. This already has two problems: it takes too long to start up, and I have to sync manually if I am to manage the resulting note in the Windows client within the next 10 minutes. But the real problem is a subtle change in the UI which makes using the keyboard much harder. It's still possible to tab between fields and into the tags, but typing an initial string for a tab, followed by a return, creates a new (unanted!) tag! This is a disaster. It's also not how EN used to do it and it's not, if you want another counter-example, how Google does it for its tag creation. For the record, it's what the EN iOS client also does, and it's broken there too.

 

But the problem I have described above isn't why I am writing this. I'm writing this morning because even more breakage has now reared its head. There's a new version of the clipper that pauses at the end of a clip and requires a mouse click to send it away (not even just a return.) It is useful to see the pop-up, but in previous versions it slid away after a few seconds. I can understand keeping it in place for new users, but there should be an option to change this for experienced users.

 

In short, experienced users just want to get things done fast, and you are constantly making changes which get in the way of this. You are damaging the user experience and you need to fix this.

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It's a big step backwards - I sat and hardly used Evernote for a year, and using the web clipper caused me to start using Evernote routinely instead of the desktop app that I was using to keep notes. For the last week its been getting worse as you mention, and also it keeps losing my name and  password and its a pain having to type them in again and again. Trash the extra pop window at the end, it's wasting time without adding content.

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Thanks for the feedback, a few follow up questions:

- What browser extension are you referring to as getting worse? We have extensions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox & IE and one bookmarklet that can clip (no new development on that one)

- What browser version?

- What OS version are you using?

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Evernote webclipper 5.6 [updated April 11  [and I guess that's the date the problems started] - Firefox 20.0.1

 

Windows XP

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I want to reiterate ahilborne's frustration with the tag interface on the web clipper. jbignert, I'm using the extension on Chrome, on the Mac. 

 

It's really very, very helpful to be able to enter keywords without having to use the mouse. I find I'm able to do this with the clipper, but it's cumbersome. Here's my process:

 

A title<TAB>initial string for a tag<Evernote suggests two tags><ARROW DOWN TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE> <RETURN><Continue...>

 

The arrow down is awkward, but it's not a deal-killer. The real problem is that when there's only one tag suggestion (for example, if I type enough so that Evernote is suggesting only one tag), I'm not able to just hit return to choose it.If I do, I get the incompletely-typed word as a new tag, as ahilborne describes. So I *still* have to use the arrow, and that's really annoying. 

 

So how do you give people the ability to add a new tag that's a shorter version of a longer tag that's in the database? For example, "food" instead of "foodsafety"? Maybe a shift-return to do that. Or, make the default <RETURN> the key to add a new, shorter tag, and allow a shift-return to enter the longer tag that's being suggested. Or <TAB> to accept the full suggestion. Both <SHIFT-RETURN> and <TAB> are much easier to type than the down arrow. 

 

Thanks for listening.

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Thanks for the feedback, a few follow up questions:

- What browser extension are you referring to as getting worse? We have extensions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox & IE and one bookmarklet that can clip (no new development on that one)

- What browser version?

- What OS version are you using?

 

Hi jbignert,

 

I am referring to the Firefox browser extension.

FF version 20.0.1.

Windows 7

 

Many thanks!

 

Andrew

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I want to reiterate ahilborne's frustration with the tag interface on the web clipper. jbignert, I'm using the extension on Chrome, on the Mac. 

 

It's really very, very helpful to be able to enter keywords without having to use the mouse. I find I'm able to do this with the clipper, but it's cumbersome. Here's my process:

 

A title<TAB>initial string for a tag<Evernote suggests two tags><ARROW DOWN TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE> <RETURN><Continue...>

 

The arrow down is awkward, but it's not a deal-killer. The real problem is that when there's only one tag suggestion (for example, if I type enough so that Evernote is suggesting only one tag), I'm not able to just hit return to choose it.If I do, I get the incompletely-typed word as a new tag, as ahilborne describes. So I *still* have to use the arrow, and that's really annoying. 

 

So how do you give people the ability to add a new tag that's a shorter version of a longer tag that's in the database? For example, "food" instead of "foodsafety"? Maybe a shift-return to do that. Or, make the default <RETURN> the key to add a new, shorter tag, and allow a shift-return to enter the longer tag that's being suggested. Or <TAB> to accept the full suggestion. Both <SHIFT-RETURN> and <TAB> are much easier to type than the down arrow. 

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Akimbo, your suggestion is interesting, but there is already an interface which works well for choosing between new tags, which are leading substrings of existing tag(s), and an existing tag. I even think that this is how the older Windows-based web clipper did it. The solution is to highlight the trailing part of the word you have just typed, leaving the possibly new tag un-highlighted. Now you can choose to create the new tag by typing DELETE, followed by RETURN, or you can choose the old tag simply by pressing RETURN, or if there are multiple available matches, you will have to use the DOWN key, followed by RETURN. I'm sorry if you find the DOWN key difficult to use, but you won't have to do this very often.

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I've had this issue for months. I'm using Chrome on Windows 8 (Version 27.0.1453.94 m) and OSX (Version 27.0.1453.94 m). 

 

Would really like to see this fixed.

 

Thanks.

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"The solution is to highlight the trailing part of the word you have just typed, leaving the possibly new tag un-highlighted. Now you can choose to create the new tag by typing DELETE, followed by RETURN, or you can choose the old tag simply by pressing RETURN, or if there are multiple available matches, you will have to use the DOWN key, followed by RETURN. I'm sorry if you find the DOWN key difficult to use, but you won't have to do this very often."

 

WHAT THIS GUY SAID

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It turns out that the web-based editor, which can be launched from the Web Clipper, already behaves as I suggest it should (above.) So the Windows Client does "the right thing" and the web editor does it too. This makes the web clipper the odd one out, which doesn't make for a comfortable overall user experience. Since our user experience is what you are all about, doesn't this suggest that the behaviour of the web clipper should be reverted as soon as possible?

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We're aiming to conform the Webclipper in the next major release. Sorry for the inconvenience. 

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"The solution is to highlight the trailing part of the word you have just typed, leaving the possibly new tag un-highlighted. Now you can choose to create the new tag by typing DELETE, followed by RETURN, or you can choose the old tag simply by pressing RETURN, or if there are multiple available matches, you will have to use the DOWN key, followed by RETURN. I'm sorry if you find the DOWN key difficult to use, but you won't have to do this very often."

 

WHAT THIS GUY SAID

 

Well, there have already been discussions about a consistent way across all clients (Mac, Web, clippers, ...) to accept the (first) tag suggestion, and I got told (by EN staff if I remember correctly) that the only cross-client way to do this was the return key. When using the clipper, I find myself creating unwanted (partial) tags because neither arrow-down nor return works consistently across clients. UI consistency is very important, particularly for users who use the tools a lot and need a quick streamlined workflow. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_(computer_interface)#Mode_errors

 

@jbignert: Thanks for working on this problem.

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We're aiming to conform the Webclipper in the next major release. Sorry for the inconvenience. 

 

That's definately good news for me - thanks! I would add that, once I got used to it, the new (current) web clipper is pretty good - so a good job there, apart from this nit.

 

One thing I would ask for in the next release: when selecting "edit the newly clipped note," please can you ensure that a new window isn't launched? It will be fine to launch a new tab, but a new window takes significant new resources and takes several seconds to appear. FYI this is using latest versions of Firefox with many tabs already open ...

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