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windows (Archived) Easy, no-brainer improvement to Windows UI

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I'm an Evernote premium user, mostly because I support the vision of Evernote.  But I can never recommend Evernote to a friend, and am considering canceling my premium membership, simply because the Windows client is SO poorly designed.  Using it honestly feels like pulling teeth, especially compared to the smooth experience I get with other programs like OneNote.

 

It seems like very little thought has been put into even the most basic, expected features. Examples:

  • I create a new note, and fill out the title.  Now, I want to fill out the body of the note, so I press "tab" to go to the next field.  Instead of that bringing me to the next field, as EVERY OTHER text editor I have EVER used does, the Evernote Windows client deselects everything!  And when I press tab again, it brings me back up to the window to select notes! This makes absolutely no sense.  When a user fills out the title of something, the next thing they will want to do is fill out the body.  Not to mention, when the user presses tab, they expect to be brought to the next field.  This is very basic.
     
  • I search for a note in the search box.  When the search results come up, what will I want to do? Select from the search results, of course!  Not to mention, the search results are directly under the search box, which you would expect to be the "next field."  So I would assume that when I press "tab" to go to the next field, I will be brought to my search results.  Instead, "tab' brings me BACKWARDS, to Notebook selection!  This doesn't make sense whether you look at it from the perspective of the user's workflow, or from the perspective of the layout of the page.  I have to press "Shift+Tab" to go from the search box to the search results, which is completely backwards, and honestly makes me wonder how much thought went into basic user design.

These are very basic UI issues, and it's really shocking to me that Evernote has not addressed them.  I wish the team would put more thought into these very basic issues.  It's crazy to me that the team puts so much time into all these new features and extensions, yet hasn't bothered to focusing on basic issues, like making NOTE-TAKING on your computer a fluid and pleasant experience.

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Hi. Welcome to the forums!

Am I correct in saying that the behavior of the tab key is why you are not recommending the app and planning to cancel your subscription? Although I sympathize with your concerns (the tab key on the iPad doesn't take me down into the body of the note either), it seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Have you tried using a shortcut key to create a new note and then using the tab key? I wonder if that would be a possible workaround in your workflow.

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"Basic issues" are a matter of perspective. I am strongly against the location of the search bar, which I find to be quite annoying, because the drop downs block my note content and the notes I am searching through show up on the other side of the screen. Yet, this placement was very carefully considered and Evernote developers had clear reasons for placing it there. We had lengthy discussions about it overt he course of several weeks, as I recall. I don't agree with the conclusions, but that doesn't mean it was done thoughtlessly.

It helps to narrow things down, I think. Statements about the entire UI are broad -- perhaps worth discussing, but it will be difficult to drill down into the matter to generate specific improvements that will help the OP. If it is the tab behavior, then let's focus on that, because it may well need work.

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The tab key is just one aspect of the UI implementation. If it's that important to a user, then it's probably important enough to stop paying for the service. It's not such a big deal for me (even though I've had some experience building in tab paths through complicated / busy UIs); I don't tend to tab though entire application UIs at all (though sometimes specific dialogs, a more constrained space), but even so, it's never been quite right in Evernote since I've been a user, and should be fixed up. I wouldn't say that I'm shocked that they haven't, though -- I think it's of low interest to most folks, but the flip side is that tabbing is something like black licorice; not everyone likes it, but the people that like it, like it a lot...

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The tab key is just one aspect of the UI implementation. If it's that important to a user, then it's probably important enough to stop paying for the service. It's not such a big deal for me (even though I've had some experience building in tab paths through complicated / busy UIs); I don't tend to tab though entire application UIs at all (though sometimes specific dialogs, a more constrained space), but even so, it's never been quite right in Evernote since I've been a user, and should be fixed up. I wouldn't say that I'm shocked that they haven't, though -- I think it's of low interest to most folks, but the flip side is that tabbing is something like black licorice; not everyone likes it, but the people that like it, like it a lot...

True. We all have our thing. I guess I figure that, as far as the operation of the app goes,unless it is a critical feature (data loss, search broken, sync failing) then I can work around just about anything.

Of course, I have my own quibbles. The tabbing on iOS has bothered me for years now and I am frustrated by the lack of information density (Windows actually does remarkably well with this).

Dumping the app for any of these interface quirks, though, seems like too much to me.

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IMO, if this is what causes OP to leave Evernote, then he/she really doesn't use it all that much anyway. Some things are deal breakers for sure. But these fall under annoyances, in my book. Hope he/she finds something that works better for them.

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Fixing the tab order to match standard UI behavior seems like an easy and obvious fix.

I see not reason not to do this.

Every Windows, Mac, and Web app that I have developed provide easy control over tab order.

 

Given Evernote's new commitment to fixing bugs and improving the core user experience, I would think this would be an obvious fix on this list.

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Thank you for the replies and suggestions.  @GrumpyMonkey, thank you for the workaround.  I do use the shortcut to create a new note.  But it still doesn't make sense to me that you can't tab from the title field to the text field.  I'd be curious to know what the rationale for that is.  It would be extremely, extremely easy to implement, and would be rapidly adopted by most users since it's a standard feature in software.  I don't see any downsides, since right now pressing [TAB] from the "title" field does nothing.

 

I'd also be curious to know the rationale of why tabbing from your search box brings you to the notebooks, instead of your search results.  It just doesn't make sense to me.

 

@GrumpyMonkey, I know you said a lot of thought is put into these things, but really find it hard to believe that these aren't just oversights.  It just feels as if Evernote is focused on other features ("Evernote Market," "Evernote Hello," building an app for every platform in existence, etc.), as if the team is focused on growth opportunities in other areas rather than improving the core user experience of note-taking (at least on Windows--I can't speak to other desktop clients).

 

One quick example that popped up right before I responded to you: Evernote's shortcut for bullet points is Ctrl+Alt+B.  Evernote just set the shortcut for Skitch to also be Ctrl+Alt+B.  So now I can't set bullets via the keyboard unless I log out of Skitch.  The most basic thing you would do when assigning a shortcut / hotkey would be to make sure it doesn't conflict with an existing one.  Sure, I've seen developers accidentally make conflicting shortcuts, when they forgot about existing shortcuts in OTHER common applications...but overlooking shortcuts in *your own application*? It just doesn't seem like a lot of thought is put into these decisions.  I'm sure Evernote has a great team, so I'm guessing this is because their minds are focused elsewhere.

 

It's just disappointing to me that, after all these years, the Windows desktop client still doesn't feel mature.  I've loved Evernote's vision ever since the service launched.  I've given Evernote an honest try many times, but it's never managed to become a core part of my workflow because of the poor note-taking experience.  Evernote's feature-set is great, but at the end of the day, the most important thing for me is that *taking notes* is easy and fast, and Evernote lags far behind its competitors in this respect.  Whenever I try to make Evernote a regular part of my workflow, it inevitably becomes a bottleneck in terms of speed.

 

The Evernote team is clearly very capable--it's extremely impressive what they've accomplished in other aspects of the service.  So it doesn't make sense to me that they would be lagging behind their competitors here, unless it's simply due to oversight.

 

Anyway, I figured rather than keep wondering why Evernote kept adding bells and whistles and seemingly de-prioritizing the core user experience, I should vote with my voice.  

 

Great job to the team though!  Evernote is nevertheless extremely useful, and does a lot of things that other tools do not do nearly as well.  Even if I'm not happy with the state of the Windows desktop client, I'm amazed at how far Evernote has come as a whole in the past 6 years. Unfortunately for me, the speed bottleneck continues to preclude it from being my primary note-taking tool.  I know the team has a lot of priorities to juggle, but I hope this is something that is looked into in the future.

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I received a private message agreeing with me, but essentially saying that this has been brought up before and not to expect Evernote to do anything about it (which again makes me think that Evernote just has its sights set elsewhere).

 

So maybe this will be a more productive tact:

I'd strongly recommend that the Evernote developers who are working on Evernote Business observe how investment bankers use Microsoft Excel.  Inputting and manipulating data is extremely quick and easy, and completely navigable from the keyboard.  In a lot of professional settings, this is the standard and is what is expected for productivity software.  The other (admittedly very cool) features of Evernote would not be nearly as important as efficiency in inputting and manipulating data.

 

Thanks for listening, best of luck on future development!

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I received a private message agreeing with me, but essentially saying that this has been brought up before and not to expect Evernote to do anything about it (which again makes me think that Evernote just has its sights set elsewhere).

 

So maybe this will be a more productive tact:

I'd strongly recommend that the Evernote developers who are working on Evernote Business observe how investment bankers use Microsoft Excel.  Inputting and manipulating data is extremely quick and easy, and completely navigable from the keyboard.  In a lot of professional settings, this is the standard and is what is expected for productivity software.  The other (admittedly very cool) features of Evernote would not be nearly as important as efficiency in inputting and manipulating data.

 

Thanks for listening, best of luck on future development!

It has been posted on the board numerous times that Evernote does not publish their roadmap or ETAs. Will they change what you & Mystery Man want changed? Will they add any feature you request? No way to know. But it's also been said many times on the board that if feature x is missing & it's a deal breaker for you, that you should find an app that better suits your needs. For the record, EN has implemented many things requested by users over the years.

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Thank you for the replies and suggestions.  @GrumpyMonkey, thank you for the workaround.  I do use the shortcut to create a new note.  But it still doesn't make sense to me that you can't tab from the title field to the text field.  I'd be curious to know what the rationale for that is.  It would be extremely, extremely easy to implement, and would be rapidly adopted by most users since it's a standard feature in software.  I don't see any downsides, since right now pressing [TAB] from the "title" field does nothing.

 

I'd also be curious to know the rationale of why tabbing from your search box brings you to the notebooks, instead of your search results.  It just doesn't make sense to me.

 

@GrumpyMonkey, I know you said a lot of thought is put into these things, but really find it hard to believe that these aren't just oversights.  It just feels as if Evernote is focused on other features ("Evernote Market," "Evernote Hello," building an app for every platform in existence, etc.), as if the team is focused on growth opportunities in other areas rather than improving the core user experience of note-taking (at least on Windows--I can't speak to other desktop clients).

 

One quick example that popped up right before I responded to you: Evernote's shortcut for bullet points is Ctrl+Alt+B.  Evernote just set the shortcut for Skitch to also be Ctrl+Alt+B.  So now I can't set bullets via the keyboard unless I log out of Skitch.  The most basic thing you would do when assigning a shortcut / hotkey would be to make sure it doesn't conflict with an existing one.  Sure, I've seen developers accidentally make conflicting shortcuts, when they forgot about existing shortcuts in OTHER common applications...but overlooking shortcuts in *your own application*? It just doesn't seem like a lot of thought is put into these decisions.  I'm sure Evernote has a great team, so I'm guessing this is because their minds are focused elsewhere.

 

It's just disappointing to me that, after all these years, the Windows desktop client still doesn't feel mature.  I've loved Evernote's vision ever since the service launched.  I've given Evernote an honest try many times, but it's never managed to become a core part of my workflow because of the poor note-taking experience.  Evernote's feature-set is great, but at the end of the day, the most important thing for me is that *taking notes* is easy and fast, and Evernote lags far behind its competitors in this respect.  Whenever I try to make Evernote a regular part of my workflow, it inevitably becomes a bottleneck in terms of speed.

 

The Evernote team is clearly very capable--it's extremely impressive what they've accomplished in other aspects of the service.  So it doesn't make sense to me that they would be lagging behind their competitors here, unless it's simply due to oversight.

 

Anyway, I figured rather than keep wondering why Evernote kept adding bells and whistles and seemingly de-prioritizing the core user experience, I should vote with my voice.  

 

Great job to the team though!  Evernote is nevertheless extremely useful, and does a lot of things that other tools do not do nearly as well.  Even if I'm not happy with the state of the Windows desktop client, I'm amazed at how far Evernote has come as a whole in the past 6 years. Unfortunately for me, the speed bottleneck continues to preclude it from being my primary note-taking tool.  I know the team has a lot of priorities to juggle, but I hope this is something that is looked into in the future.

The developers read these forums, even if they don't always join the conversations. I think you have given a lot of detail about the specific issues, and you made some good points. Perhaps your rationale for the changes will persuade them to change the app. This year is supposed to be dedicated to focus on improving the user experience over adding new features. At least in that regard, I think your suggestions couldn't have come at a better time! As BNF said, though, they don't release roadmaps, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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Thanks GM, that's very helpful, and quite welcome news.  I've definitely had the distinct impression that Evernote has traditionally been more concerned with adding new features rather than improving existing / core ones.  
 
That's understandable. I'm sure it's much more exciting and interesting for the developers to innovate in the mobile space, or pioneer novel features, than to work on basic features in the desktop client--features that are "old news" and have already been done many times in the past by other companies.  Probably better for the resume, too =P.
 
But if there's a real top-down focus on improving the user experience & core features, then I'm heartened, and glad I've stuck with Evernote all these years =).  Hopefully I'll finally see improvements in the areas that I care most about =).
 
 

The developers read these forums, even if they don't always join the conversations. I think you have given a lot of detail about the specific issues, and you made some good points. Perhaps your rationale for the changes will persuade them to change the app. This year is supposed to be dedicated to focus on improving the user experience over adding new features. At least in that regard, I think your suggestions couldn't have come at a better time! As BNF said, though, they don't release roadmaps, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

 

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Thanks GM, that's very helpful, and quite welcome news.  I've definitely had the distinct impression that Evernote has traditionally been more concerned with adding new features rather than improving existing / core ones.  

 

That's understandable. I'm sure it's much more exciting and interesting for the developers to innovate in the mobile space, or pioneer novel features, than to work on basic features in the desktop client--features that are "old news" and have already been done many times in the past by other companies.  Probably better for the resume, too =P.

 

But if there's a real top-down focus on improving the user experience & core features, then I'm heartened, and glad I've stuck with Evernote all these years =).  Hopefully I'll finally see improvements in the areas that I care most about =).

 

 

The developers read these forums, even if they don't always join the conversations. I think you have given a lot of detail about the specific issues, and you made some good points. Perhaps your rationale for the changes will persuade them to change the app. This year is supposed to be dedicated to focus on improving the user experience over adding new features. At least in that regard, I think your suggestions couldn't have come at a better time! As BNF said, though, they don't release roadmaps, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

One good thing about these forums is that you know you will be heard by the developers. You might not agree witht heir decisions, but at least they listen and take feedback i to account.

Here is a blog post from the CEO to kick off the year.

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/01/04/on-software-quality/

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UI design is meant to create as little user overhead as possible. Good UI design cuts across platforms and is a framework that we can all bring prior experience to bear, even with a new application so we can focus on functionality. EN really doesn't get UI. Not sure they ever have (v 5 for Windows and the new Chrome clipper prove this lack of basic understanding), but the fact that sooo many users persist with EN is because of the value of the basic offering vs things we are willing to ignore with a real lack of alternatives to jump to. When real competition comes to this niche it will be things like that that will determine how EN survives. 

 

I'm curious about EN's future, but waiting for the competition to really heat up and see how things evolve. MS thought they had a lock with OneNote, and then EN upset that apple cart. The same can happen here. 

 

Disclosure: Former Pro User running out/cancelled his annual sub (for a host of reasons, UI, UI lag, V5, and Chrome Clipper among them). Wants to be hopeful but unwilling to pay to be disappointed. Once I am a free user, will slip away from the forums again! (but likely to give Office 365/OneNote a retry at that point and use this budget for that). 

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It just feels as if Evernote is focused on other features ("Evernote Market," "Evernote Hello," building an app for every platform in existence, etc.), as if the team is focused on growth opportunities in other areas rather than improving the core user experience of note-taking (at least on Windows--I can't speak to other desktop clients).

 

 

I think part of your frustration here arises from your notion of what the core feature of Evernote is. Evernote seems to have been pretty clear that their core feature is being able to store and search for data across multiple platforms. They've never, anywhere that I've read, indicated that note taking, creating text, is their core feature. Seen from that perspective, working on building an app for every platform makes sense as a higher priority than tab paths. 

 

It's pretty well acknowledged that, as a text editor, Evernote is a good bicycle. That's why many of us (though certainly not all) don't use it for much beyond basic text entry. When using my iPad or iPhone, I generally use the app Drafts, which allows me to transfer my text with about two taps. When using my Mac, I often use SimpleNote. However, I'm more inclined to be writing from my iPad. 

 

Best of luck. 

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I have to say I agree entirely with the original gripe.  I'm a pretty heavyweight user (>3000 notes at the moment) and I STILL am thrown by tab not working as expected: the action is so embedded in my fingers from the behaviour of other Windows apps that I do it unconsciously every time, even though I know it doesn't work - and then am mentally pulled up, every time, thinking 'Ach, bl00dy tab key!'.  Evernote is not a great app to navigate from the keyboard and I doubt I'm the only user who would rather not touch the mouse if at all possible... the same grumbles apply to the search functionality and other navigation aspects in the UI

 

And to Kitty Treat Dispenser: Come on, note-taking was all Evernote originally existed for! It's not the most important aspect for me, but it's really not great for it either: I too adopt workarounds with companion apps, solely because it's never been a great experience using the app for its original purpose.  If I could trust En to give me the control of even a simple rich-text editor (Wordpad or similar) I would use it directly and more often too - but it simply doesn't have the features and reliability that makes that worth the effort (I see someone else - again! - is asking questions about how to re-order embedded pictures in a note...)

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I agree with this sentiment. In all the other applications I work with the tab key moves you to the next field and in almost all cases I know using shift+tab moves you to the previous field.

 

Wherever possible I use the keyboard, it is much faster and much more productive than taking your hand away to move and click the mouse every time. The idea behind Evernote as I understand it is to remember everything and enhance your productivity, odd behaviour like illogical uses of the tab key and the interface jumping about IMO is unhelpful to the speed of navigation. Attention to this type of detail would be welcome I am sure by the majority of Evernote users, especially those who use Evernote Business and pay an enhanced premium. 

 

I am a heavy EN user with 10,000 plus notes and I am likely to carry on using it for the foreseeable future but I always think it rather arrogant of Evernote (not only Evernote) when they do not even acknowledge to their users (many of whom pay good money) that issues like this will be addressed in due course. 

 

I do hope the CEO when acknowledging recently that his company had taken their eye off the ball is not just paying lip service and users actually start to see some improvements to the little annoying bugs that impair day to day usage of what is an incredible piece of software but could be so much better.

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Original gripe sounds reasonable. One of the risks of "make what we use" is that it gives you a potentially distorted set of use cases.

 

Now persuade them that your use case is something THEY would like to adopt and... :-)

 

(I actually LIKE their "make what we use" way of doing things, by the way. It's just that sometimes use cases like this get lost.)

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It's more than just use cases though - this is a gripe about a failure to accord to conventions which users may not be aware of consciously, but they sure expect to be acknowledged. These niceties are more than just conventions in many case, they're clear components of the MSDN guidelines for developing applications for Windows.  They're not exactly a secret either.  I'm very much in agreement with atangel's views on this: Evernote has never built solid UI for Windows - they don't really seem to get it.  I can't say that I've been hugely impressed with iOS and Android offerings either (although the latter is, in many respects, the best of them). 

 

From the MSDN Guidelines:

 

"The order in which a user moves, or navigates, through the elements of a UI must be logical and consistent with the natural language in which the UI is written. In a well-designed UI, the navigation order starts with the most commonly used control and flows in the direction in which the language is read. For example, in a dialog box in a UI written in English, the navigation order moves from left to right and top to bottom.

In Windows applications, users navigate by pressing the TAB key to move the input focus from one UI element to another. They press the SPACEBAR or ENTER key to choose the currently selected active region or to activate a control or command. Pressing the SHIFT+TAB key combination reverses the navigation order, moving the input focus backward through the elements, and pressing the arrow keys moves the input focus in specific directions within a group of elements."

 

From the Title field of a note, pressing the Tab key does nothing. By anybody's measure, that's a bug - unless the En devs have decided that MS UI guidelines can be ignored (I sometimes wonder...).  I'm interested in an earlier allusion that some of these interface decisions were subject to much discussion in Beta; the guidelines generally provide very clear direction on most of these issues.  It doesn't take much playing around with keyboard navigation to conclude that they had little bearing on the decision making.

 

It's a UI.  First and foremost, for USE. Not for admiring from a distance :-)

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I'd say I qualify as a heavy EN user with 62,000 notes in my main account. And I'm very computer savvy having worked on them for over 37 years, including all versions of Windows except Vista. Yet this is something that not only does it not bother me, I never even noticed. So...different strokes & all that jazz, which may be one reason this may not be high on EN's priority list.

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We all get that you're a very heavy user and that you're not bothered by this foible.  Good for you. However, your use case of one is hardly compelling and, actually, isn't relevant to this particular gripe.

 

This is a Windows application we're talking about, designed to run on Microsoft's Window's OS. For which, Microsoft provide clear guidance on the functionality of, and interaction with, the interface. This guidance exists precisely so that developers do not need to second guess every aspect of the user's interaction with the application and in order to promote consistent expectation amongst users.  Compliance with these guidelines should be a high priority for any interface developer, because failing to do so frustrates some - perhaps many - users, depending on how common any particular interaction approach is. I'll wager quite a few people are annoyed by this, even if you aren't - not least because the convention is observed strictly in Outlook and lots of people have no choice but to be a power user of Outlook.

 

Creating a mail in Outlook is a lot easier than creating a note in Evernote. This should not be the case.

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We all get that you're a very heavy user and that you're not bothered by this foible.  Good for you. However, your use case of one is hardly compelling and, actually, isn't relevant to this particular gripe.

 

This is a Windows application we're talking about, designed to run on Microsoft's Window's OS. For which, Microsoft provide clear guidance on the functionality of, and interaction with, the interface. This guidance exists precisely so that developers do not need to second guess every aspect of the user's interaction with the application and in order to promote consistent expectation amongst users.  Compliance with these guidelines should be a high priority for any interface developer, because failing to do so frustrates some - perhaps many - users, depending on how common any particular interaction approach is. I'll wager quite a few people are annoyed by this, even if you aren't - not least because the convention is observed strictly in Outlook and lots of people have no choice but to be a power user of Outlook.

 

Creating a mail in Outlook is a lot easier than creating a note in Evernote. This should not be the case.

 

IOW, since I don't agree with you, my use case is useless while yours is.  I love that double standard kind of stuff. 

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Look folks, can we all agree that cleaning up Evernote's tab navigation is a good idea? Despite one's own usage of tabbing (minimal, in my case), it's a usability issue that a can help lot of people use Evernote better, and an accessibility issue for those who cannot otherwise interact with all Evernote features, something that I think that we all would like to see. I disagree with the notion that this is "easy, no-brainer" (setting tabs in a static dialog *is* dead easy, but setting tabs across an entire application that isn't fixed, and which contains at least one control that consumes the tab keep, is harder), but I believe that it's just one of those things that you are supposed to do.

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"I'm very much in agreement..........Evernote has never built solid UI for Windows - they don't really seem to get it.  I can't say that I've been hugely impressed .....and Android offerings either"

 

+1.   I use it for the major concept/features but am constantly annoyed by the interface.   This tab thing repeatedly comes up but like most users, I don't identify the detail or come to  comment, I just get a growing sense that EN windows is cantankerous to use but if I poke at it enough, it will probably let me do what I want.   I sometimes cringe at the blocky workflow but, again, few options so we'll  see if somebody does get the basic EN feature set  with a Windows consistant and quick-moving interface.

 

Oh well, the most important thing is that it works, that my notes don't disappear and are secure.  The rest won't matter if those aren't the case.

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We all get that you're a very heavy user and that you're not bothered by this foible.  Good for you. However, your use case of one is hardly compelling and, actually, isn't relevant to this particular gripe.

 

This is a Windows application we're talking about, designed to run on Microsoft's Window's OS. For which, Microsoft provide clear guidance on the functionality of, and interaction with, the interface. This guidance exists precisely so that developers do not need to second guess every aspect of the user's interaction with the application and in order to promote consistent expectation amongst users.  Compliance with these guidelines should be a high priority for any interface developer, because failing to do so frustrates some - perhaps many - users, depending on how common any particular interaction approach is. I'll wager quite a few people are annoyed by this, even if you aren't - not least because the convention is observed strictly in Outlook and lots of people have no choice but to be a power user of Outlook.

 

Creating a mail in Outlook is a lot easier than creating a note in Evernote. This should not be the case.

 

IOW, since I don't agree with you, my use case is useless while yours is.  I love that double standard kind of stuff. 

 

Both your and my individual use cases are irrelevant, because they're individual. As is how many notes you have, how many years using computers (less than me as it happens) or how many forum posts you've made. What isn't irrelevant is that it doesn't comply with the MS guidance for a Windows application UI, along with other aspects of the interface.

 

I don't get why you are so defensive about it, nor see the need to wave comments about double-standards around. 

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Both your and my individual use cases are irrelevant, because they're individual. As is how many notes you have, how many years using computers (less than me as it happens) or how many forum posts you've made.

I'm a pretty heavyweight user (>3000 notes at the moment)

You seem to be the one focused on the numbers, since you're the one bringing them up.

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Both your and my individual use cases are irrelevant, because they're individual. As is how many notes you have, how many years using computers (less than me as it happens) or how many forum posts you've made.

I'm a pretty heavyweight user (>3000 notes at the moment)

You seem to be the one focused on the numbers, since you're the one bringing them up.

 

<rolls eyes> You're one of those people who self-validate in online victories aren't you? OK, I give in. I apologise for my double-standards, point scoring and unsupportable desire for applications to behave as they're meant to. You can sleep soundly now.

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timfg, welcome to these forums.  Rest assured your insights and comments are appreciated by some of us.  Don't be deterred by one or two users who seem to have nothing better to do than oppose and nick pick other users they disagree with.  Any attempt of a rational discussion with these combative users is usually a waste of time and bandwidth.

 

If you find any particular forum user excessively noisy and/or consistently off-topic, you can set then in "Ignore Mode" in your forum profile preferences.  This hides all posts of that user, and really helps clean up a lot of threads.

 

Good luck and keep on posting your suggestions for improvements to Evernote.  It's great product, but can certainly be improved.

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Thank-you JMichael. Wise counsel!

 

 

If you find any particular forum user excessively noisy and/or consistently off-topic, you can set then in "Ignore Mode" in your forum profile preferences.  This hides all posts of that user, and really helps clean up a lot of threads.

 

 

I wasn't aware that the forum had this facility. And will be making use of it :-)

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I came  back to this topic to declare a more positive impression of EN Windows than I may have.  I really do like 85% of how Evernote looks and works and I suppose it's the large user base and high profile of this software that makes me expect it to work really well, when it really, it does have a complex feature set that works.  Miracle tool, free and 85% perfect.  Gotta keep that in mind! 

 

In the same light, I've struggled to find an email client I like to use that has needed features and works well with Yahoo mail.  There are dozens out there.  So, we can get picky and expect a lot, overlooking all that is there.  Half full and all that.

 

Still, +1 to original post comments which were noted here too.

 

Cheers.

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I came  back to this topic to declare a more positive impression of EN Windows than I may have.  I really do like 85% of how Evernote looks and works and I suppose it's the large user base and high profile of this software that makes me expect it to work really well, when it really, it does have a complex feature set that works.  Miracle tool, free and 85% perfect.  Gotta keep that in mind!

That's very much where I am on it. There is nothing else out there that provides such a wide variety of ways to capture everything important to me and then allow me to access it on every flavour of device I might happen to carry with me. But earlier comments about its cantankerous nature ring true as well - I have no doubt I can make it do what I need, but it sometimes feels like a struggle I really shouldn't need to have. I'd love to see some real focus on useability and a pause in the introduction of new features. It's easy to make good PR from the latter, but I think you can actually tell a much better story around the former, it just needs more thought and effort.

 

In the same light, I've struggled to find an email client I like to use that has needed features and works well with Yahoo mail.  There are dozens out there.  So, we can get picky and expect a lot, overlooking all that is there.  Half full and all that.

One of the best decisions I ever made - and it wasn't even a contributing factor - was buying my own domain. 20 years ago this month, wow I am getting old! The important side-effect, subject to you being prepared to do the occasional bit of config, was in not being tied to a particular mail client or provider, behind the scenes. No-one envisaged, back then, that so many services would move to the cloud, presented over http!

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So I did a little Googling, and figured out how to write a script that makes the tab function work in a logical fashion, using the scripting language Autohotkey (http://www.autohotkey.com/).  I figured I should be a good citizen and share it with you guys =P.


 


I've included two attachments.  The easiest thing to do would be to just run Evernote Tab Fix.exe.  Alternatively, if you don't want to run a .exe file, I've included the full code in Evernote Tab Fix.ahk.  If you want to look at the code, you can open up that file in Notepad or any text editor.  To run Evernote Tab Fix.ahk, you will have to install Autohotkey (www.autohotkey.com).


 


I have zero background in computer science, this is just something I did in my free time, so don't expect anything fancy.  Also note that in Evernote, I use List View (Menu -> List -> "List View").  I didn't check if this would work for the other views because I never use them, and I was really just doing this to improve my own workflow.


 


Here's what this should do:


 


  • As you would normally, open Evernote, hit {Ctrl+Alt+F} to go to the "Search Box"
  • As you would normally, type in your search, press {Enter}
  • Press {Tab}.  This will bring you to the "Search Results"
  • As you would normally, use the arrow keys {Up}/{Down} to select which search result you want
  • Press {Tab}.  For the selected search result, this will bring you to the "Title" field of the note.  You can edit the "Title."
  • Press {Tab}.  This will bring you to the "Bodytext" field of the note.

 


In addition, {Shift+Tab} should move you to the *previous* field, in accordance with standard window behavior that @timfg noted.


 


This should also work in Single Note View (when you open a single note in a New Window).


 


Exceptions


 


While {Shift+Tab} will generally move you to the previous field, I specifically made it NOT do this in the "Bodytext" field.  Instead, if you are in the "Bodytext" field and want to move UP (to the "Title" field), you will need to use a different keyboard shortcut: {CTRL+Shift+Tab}.  I designed it this way so that you could still use {Shift+Tab} to decrease indent (ex. iIf you have a bulleted list, you can press {Tab} to increase the indent, and then {Shift+Tab} to decrease it).


  • PLEASE NOTE: While {Shift+Tab} works to decrease indent for bullets, it does NOT work to decrease indent for numbered lists, checklists, or normal paragraph text.  Instead, it will INCREASE the indent (basically, another {Tab}).  This is NOT because of my script.  I was going crazy trying to figure out what I did wrong…and then I disabled my script, and realized that this is EVERNOTE's normal behavior.  Another example of an oversight that really should be fixed.

 


I know this thread was about tabbing behavior from the "Search Box" -> "Search Results" -> "Title" -> "Body," and not the "Side Panel."  But I figured while I was at it, I would enable tabbing functionality from the "Side Panel," too, so that {Tab} would send you from the "Side Panel" to the next field ("Search Box,"), and {Shift+Tab} would send you back.  For some reason I couldn't get that to fully work.  {Tab} works in sending you from "Side Panel" to "Search Box."  But {Shift+Tab} will not send you back.  It's off topic and not a functionality I use, so I didn't want to waste more time trying to fix it.  If there are any *real* programmers that want to tackle this, be my guest =).


 


Hope this is helpful!


Evernote Tab Fix.zip

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I came  back to this topic to declare a more positive impression of EN Windows than I may have.  I really do like 85% of how Evernote looks and works and I suppose it's the large user base and high profile of this software that makes me expect it to work really well, when it really, it does have a complex feature set that works.  Miracle tool, free and 85% perfect.  Gotta keep that in mind! 

 

In the same light, I've struggled to find an email client I like to use that has needed features and works well with Yahoo mail.  There are dozens out there.  So, we can get picky and expect a lot, overlooking all that is there.  Half full and all that.

 

Still, +1 to original post comments which were noted here too.

 

Cheers.

 

It's funny, I've been going back and forth on that.  Your sentiment was exactly how I was feeling for a few days.  But then I wrote this script to fix tab behavior.  And I remember thinking, "Okay, I want to make {Shift+Tab} move you to the *previous* field, EXCEPT in the note bodytext field.  Because, in the note bodytext field, the user is going to want to use {Tab} to increase indent, and {Shift+Tab} to decrease indent.  So I'll make a separate hotkey for the bodytext field ({Ctrl+Shift+Tab})."

 

And it worked fine for bulleted lists, but it wasn't working at all for numbered lists, paragraph text, and checkboxes!  I would press {Tab} to indent the list item, but then when I pressed {Shift+Tab}, instead of decreasing the indent, it would INCREASE it again.  I was sure I had broken {Shift+Tab} functionality.  It was driving me crazy.

 

And then I figured out that this is how EVERNOTE works.  It's a bug on EVERNOTE's side.

 

And that's when I swing back to the other side of the pendulum and think that Evernote really has neglected its Window's desktop client and core note-taking features.  Or, as their CEO himself said, focused too much on growth at the expense of details and quality (link).

 

Because here's the thing: I'm not a paid Evernote employee, I have no experience in programming, software development, or user design.  I have no illusions about my ability to build software.  So it's crazy that somehow *I* was being more conscientious about debugging and making sure basic functions worked.

 
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Look folks, can we all agree that cleaning up Evernote's tab navigation is a good idea? Despite one's own usage of tabbing (minimal, in my case), it's a usability issue that a can help lot of people use Evernote better, and an accessibility issue for those who cannot otherwise interact with all Evernote features, something that I think that we all would like to see. I disagree with the notion that this is "easy, no-brainer" (setting tabs in a static dialog *is* dead easy, but setting tabs across an entire application that isn't fixed, and which contains at least one control that consumes the tab keep, is harder), but I believe that it's just one of those things that you are supposed to do.

 

On a similar note, @Jefito, after going through this exercise, I'm still not convinced this wouldn't be a very "easy, no brainer" fix for Evernote to implement.  I'm open to changing my mind, and it sounds like you know much more about this than me (I don't even know what "tab keep" or a "static dialog" is).  But I just feel like if a biology major with no engineering background could figure out how to get this to work in an evening of Googling (at least it works on my computer), Evernote with their 140-150 engineers should easily be able to implement this.  It still seems like neglect / oversight.

 

Having said that, I agree that Evernote is an incredible product and vision, and getting 80 million users in 5 years is an INCREDIBLE feat.  I guess bottom line, my feeling is this: Evernote has done INCREDIBLE things in the past 5 years, and clearly has an incredible team…but I feel like in certain basic areas, they are severely underachieving.

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I'd say I qualify as a heavy EN user with 62,000 notes in my main account. And I'm very computer savvy having worked on them for over 37 years, including all versions of Windows except Vista. Yet this is something that not only does it not bother me, I never even noticed. So...different strokes & all that jazz, which may be one reason this may not be high on EN's priority list.

@BurgersandFries, I appreciate that you have 62K notes and have been using computers for 37 years.  But if someone told me that they had two-finger typed for 50 years and written thousands of pages of text, that would not convince me that touch-typing is not still faster, better, and core to productivity.

 

As @ianfm said, keyboard navigation is just faster and more productive.  My first job after college was your classic shark tank environment--huge emphasis on productivity. My boss would actually stand over some employees to make sure they did not use the mouse, to force them to learn proper keyboard navigation.  That's how much faster it is.  For a lot of business professionals, especially in fast-paced industries, proper keyboard navigation is a must.

 

Evernote markets itself as productivity software (especially Evernote Business).  By the standards of productivity software, these things are important and basic issues.  I'm pulling for Evernote and really hope they address them.

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@andrew_evernote Agreed. What seems lost sometimes is that as users we want to invest as little time as possible in learning and bury ourselves in functionality. Many of us have been in IT or design (traditional or otherwise) and frankly the same rule of thumb applies to everything--that which is noticed least works best. No one notices the network that is up 100% of the time, no one notices great design but immediately gets the message it is helping to convey, no-one notices the perfect seating arrangements because they are too busy enjoying the company. Evernote, at this stage, is clearly attracting far too much attention to itself. I NEVER (almost never?) visited these forums before the whole v5 and chrome clipper changes. 

 

Also, EN is a little different. There is a strong fanbase that is extremely loyal. I see no need to pay to be loyal, I see no need for any user to be loyal to software in general (otherwise I would still be using Word 1 or Wordstar).  I'm too busy for that.  I expect that many people are. I pay to be treated with loyalty (I don't care whether it is $5 or $50000)

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@atangel, you said earlier that "Good UI design cuts across platforms."  Interestingly, I was talking about my difficulties with Evernote's UI with my sister, who uses a Mac, and she showed me that the tab functionality works fine on the Mac desktop client (at least for tabbing from title to note--I didn't check the rest).  Odd that they would enable it in one desktop platform, but not the other.  I hope the team focuses some more attention towards Windows.

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Cross-platform is difficult, actually: Each platform has its own standards - and it's best to try to stick to them. But not everything is prescribed by the platform so there IS some latitude to get it right cross-platform.

 

I think it good Evernote has separate teams working on each client, where different things can get tried out. I'd just like to see more evidence of the teams cross-pollenating.

 

Which is a long way from talking about tabindex. Now back to my irregularly-scheduling programming., :-)

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Cross-platform is difficult, actually: Each platform has its own standards - and it's best to try to stick to them. But not everything is prescribed by the platform so there IS some latitude to get it right cross-platform.

 

But in this case, tab order, the UI standards are the same for Win, Mac, and Web.  So there's really no excuse to not follow this standard.

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I wont deny that the UI order could be better arranged, but this is what I believe is currently the way it works (At least for me)

Using Tab:

Search Bar -> Note Title -> Left Panel -> Note List -> Back to search bar

(Reverse for shift Tab)

So, I think the order that people may look for is to go to Search -> Note list -> Note (Title or body)

I guess that would be done (in the fewest key presses):

Search -> Shift Tab (to Note List) -> Find note ->

- F2 (or Tab x2) for note title

- Enter for note body.

EDIT: It seems that hiding panels cancels them from this cycle. So, I wonder (with no real programming knowledge on this particular subject) could this be a factor in how the interface reacts to tab?

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EDIT: It seems that hiding panels cancels them from this cycle. So, I wonder (with no real programming knowledge on this particular subject) could this be a factor in how the interface reacts to tab?

Generally speaking, if a control is hidden (we do this sometimes for dynamic dialogs), then it's wholly ignored, and you skip to the next one. Similar behavior for disabled controls. A little trickier for controls in a separate dialog as I've indicated before (panels, toolbars, etc. are examples of separate dialogs; tabbing is very easy to do inside a single dialog, but messier to coordinate across separate dialogs, a common behavior is to loop to the start control when you tab off the last control in a modal dialog, but with separate dialogs, you need to tab out of one and into the next one), but the principle would be the same -- just skip to the first control in next visible panel or other UI component.

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