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Wordsgood

TO: Evernote Staff ➡ RE: The Evernote Knowledge Base

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Hi there,

I'm hope one of the Evernote Staff will see this post.  I chose not to send it directly to Evernote as Feedback, because I'd like to hear any thoughts other Forum Member might have about it.

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EVERNOTE KNOWLEDE BASE (KB) REQUEST:

Please read the below (bottom part of this post) and then seem my request after that.  (Will make more sense that way

Also, sorry for the CAPs, but Anroid doesn't show the forum's text editor.

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I'm creating this post as a result of reading a  recent thread where JVM and XiaoA ran into the same problem.  Each had filled up their Evernote Trash - which, since the Trashed Notes are still synced along with all your other Notes - brought them both upto to the Total Allowed number 100,000 Notes per Free and Premium account.

This rendered their accounts useless until they permanently deleted some of their Trashed Notes.  XiaoA discovered that you can only permanently select and delete a *maximum* of 100 Notes at a time.  Needless to say, with a maxed out account, it would take considerable very large amounts of Trashed Notes!

Below is a link to the Thread I'm referring to:

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/55386-unable-to-empty-trash-100000-items/?p=292500/

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I searched the Evernote Knowledge Base about how to handle the Evernote Trash function and came across the below helpful article.

http://evernote.com/contact/support/kb/#/search?query=delete%20notes

However, I noted it said nothing about the "deleting 100 Notes at a time *maximum.*"  So then I tried a few search variations, but still, could not come up with anything about this restriction.

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EVERNOTE KB REQUEST:

Actually, my original request led me think of three requests regarding the Knowledge Base.

1)  Shouldn't the above linked article clearly state the amount of notes you can permanently delete from the Trash at one time?  Sure, it might be relatively rare for people to completely max out their accounts, why not include all feature details in the KB Articles?

2)  I'd like to see everything posted in the KB with a "Last Updated Date" for existing KB material, and  "First Posted Date" on new articles, quick tips, etc. -  until a few months have passed then have it reviewed by EN to ensure it is still current, update if not - and replace the "Posted Date" with a "Last Updated" one.

I believe it would help users see and understand the information they are viewing is current.

3)  I recall Dlu once commenting that most people can't be bothered to search the Knowledge Base.  Several of us vehemently disagreed and/or pointed out that it's why better documentation was needed.

And Evernote has responded.  I've seen quite a bit more documentation in the KB added in recent months.

However, I believe one of the biggest issues stopping users, especially new ones, from fully utilizing the KB is the way it's set up.  You (Evernote) have it set up much the way Evernote itself designed.  The Search function is great, but I think you rely too heavily on it.

When I search it - and I do frequently, both for myself and in attempts to help new users on the Forum - I almost always have to run several searches worded several different ways, to find what I'm looking for. And there are many time I never do find the answer(s), because after several minutes and many attempts, I just give up out of frustration!

I realise part of the problem is that I don't know the rights terminology, phrases and questions to type into the KB Search function. But therein lies the problem, especially for brand new users who may well give on Evernote simply because locating the correct "How To" advise they need is too time consuming and too frustrating.

As well, it seems to assume that anyone searching the KB, first time or not, *already knows* the basic Evernote lingo and that it is intended more as a digital data storage system, not a Note Taking software like most of are used to and expected when first we "discovered" Evernote. That may be the case for some new users, but it certainly wasn't my experience. Or that of any new user I've seen on the Forum in the year or so I've been here!

Unlike many users, I have a lot of time on my hands when I can do little else but go online, as my health permits me to do little else much of the time. So if I get frustrated and want to give up, I can well imagine how frustrating, infuriating even, to busy, able bodied people who simply don't have the time to be super persistent. Heck, once upon a time, I *was* one those people and remember quite well how there were never enough hours in the day!

Further down in this post, is a rough idea of how I'd like to see the Evernote Knowledge Base revamped. I realise it would take a substantial amount off effort and resources to accomplish, but it would pay-off in spades.

Current, "devoted to the *concept* of Evernote," but not yet totally proficient and committed users, would be find the easier navigation more inviting so would use it more, becoming even more dedicated to Evernote if the information they need to speed up and simplify their workflow - ergo futher simplifying their lives & allieviating their stress levels - is easily found with one or two clicks. Which in turn could turn hesitent free users in paying users, who might also commit to sticking with Evernote through any bumps in the road like a particularly buggy release that did not go according to plan.

New users, once directed to a *full and easily navigated* Knowledge Base - *in addition to* the Getting Started Guides already available for all the apps and the IOS - would be more likely to actually spend the time searching and reading through it. This would lead to less complaints about poor documentation and customer service.

In my opinion, current, detailed product documentation covering all areas of product use, laid out in and easy to read *and navigate* format, is part of Customer Service & Support in cyber society. Especially when the product is software.

If the goal is, as Evernote states, that free users will be so happy they will *want* to become paid users to obtain the extra perks and support Evernote as a concept and a company (paraphrasing here), then such a Knowledge Base would greatly encourage free users to do just that!

Many people, myself included, still tend to think in terms of hierarchical

structuring, especially when looking at what amounts an online version. When we use a paper manual, the two most important features are the Table of Contents (TOC) and the Index.

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Here's a rough idea of what I envision as a great KB revamp:

The main Evernote Knowledge Base (KB) page would include (*Note, all Links would be clickable and take you to the first page of what is described.)

➡ A text summary about what the Knowledge Base is, what it consist of - I.E. articles, step-by-step instruction for the more complicated features, functions and abilities of Evernote, screenshots, etc. - and a statement of goals in terms of documentation and user support.

➡ Prominent and clearly labeled links to:

* The Knowledge Base Table of Contents page

* To all the main (*only) pages for each section *major* of the Evernote Website

* In it's own list, libks to the main pages of all related Evernote resources, including - but not limited to - the Blog, the Forum, the YouTube Channel, etc.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (TOC) Page:

➡ Where applicable, items listed in the TOC would be Clickable Links, *including* sub-listings under main headings, i.e.:

EVERNOTE APPLICATIONS (TOC sub-title)

♦Windows Desktop (main heading)

➡ Getting Started with Windows Guide (clickable sub-heading to said Guide)

➡ Articles specific to the Windows App (clickable link to a list of said Articles which are Date, or Topic, or Relevence sorted, etc.)

➡ Other resources specific to the Windows App (sorted by type, i.e. Evernote How To videos made by Evernote and "presiding elsewhere on the site" - then by title - all with clickable links)

➡ And so on for any other applicable to the Windows App resources

♦Rinse and repeat for each App (including Windows 8) and the IOS version

♦Rinse and repeat above, for items that are not app or IOS specific, but *do* relate to the Evernote program itself. *Not* the ancillary apps like Skitch, Food or Hello, etc.

Keep in mind this is just a very rough layout. I know you have your own version of what I suggest here:

http://evernote.com/contact/support/kb/#/product/account/

But that page strikes me as having too many disparate "topics" - for lack of a better word - all smunched together. As in the apps that actually run Evernote on various devices, are overshadowed by everything else you have on this page. That stuff could be moved to another page and just be linked on the main page with a link title that reads "More Great Stuff by Evernote!" (Or whatever. A Jingle writer I am not...

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I recently spent several months helping someone put two knowledge bases together.  There was the customer facing one,  which had a lot of "How do I?" entries so almost all information was filed under H for How (not my choice - honest!);  and there was the Support team version,  which supposedly contained all the knowledge of the universe and answered every question that could possibly be asked of a support person.  Except I insisted that on launch day - after this knowledge base was finally unveiled and working - that we'd start actually building a 'proper' knowledge base from customer questions after that point. 

 

Because the problem with internally brainstorming this sort of content is: you employ people with a certain level of technical knowledge,  which they then reference in framing the suggested questions and answers - using all the correct technical terms and spellings.  Your average customer isn't technical,  possibly can't spell, and doesn't know a notebook stack from a pancake stack.  You may have the answers to 1,000 technical questions in your KB but they just may not be the 'right' technical questions that you'll be asked about.

 

Actual questions are the best way to populate a KB,  because you'll get not only the actual issues people are facing,  but the language they use to describe those situations.

 

I have some experience in setting up knowledge bases where information was made available under as many different headings, tags, categories, tabs and searches as possible and we encouraged our tech support guys to post queries where they couldn't find the information they needed,  so that we could either research and provide it,  or -if it was already in the KB but hadn't been found- make sure it would be found next time around.  In one of those KBs forinstance we had router,  and rowter,  and rooter as keywords for an internet connection device,  because typos and bad spellers made them all search queries.

 

All of this is just to endorse Wordsgood's comments - the existing KB is pretty useless for anyone who isn't Evernote-savvy,  and while I applaud whoever's putting all those YouTube videos together - you're assuming that someone has the time and inclination to brief themselves thoroughly on Evernote's capabilities before committing themselves to whatever project they have involving bulk scanning / meeting notes / sharing notebooks. 

 

Out here in the real world we take a view and then try stuff out,  get stuck and look for help.  And then you need help quickly,  because you either need to sort something out or move on and try another application.

 

If I have a 'sync failed' issue I want all the options for all the OS's I might be using in one place so I can get started on trying fixes.  If someone went through the forums here and condensed all the discussions into "if this happens,  do that" it would translate into a pretty useful KB.

 

So please Evernote - whatever else you might be doing at the moment,  what about a little focus in the customer support area?

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I have no idea whether there is a maximum number of the notes that can be emptied from the trash at one time.

 

It is higher than 100.  I have done over 400 more than once.  I merge a lot.

 

Gary

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Grumpy Monkey, thank you!

Gazumped, thank you for your added comments. You've nicely clarified what I was trying to express. If we're lucky, maybe Evernote will hire you!

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Well that's good news, Gary! ☺ I was going on what XiaoA was experiencing in the first thread I linked to. I did try to find a definitive answer in the KB, but no such luck. I wonder if hitting the absolute max number of allowable notes per account has something to do with the limitations XiaoA is now experiencing trying to delete the Trash excess?

All the more reason I'm pushing for a revamped KB.

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@ Gary

I've done thousands at a time on the desktop. The problem, as I recall, was with the Web, where things work a little differently, and you bump into hidden limits. Ideally, we'd have a user manual for Evernote (we used to) that clearly showed the differences among clients. We don't, though, and we probably won't. It is a real shame, because it is kind of difficult to discover exciting features the developers have included in the apps if you don't even know what questions to ask. 

 

@ Wordsgood

No worries about your posts or your MS. Great contributions to the forums can be pithy or prolix -- I'm always happy to read them.

 

@ Gaz

Documentation is so important. Even longtime users like ourselves would appreciate it. And, it has to be discoverable in many ways, not squirreled away in a rarely updated, sometimes wrong, and rarely exhaustive KB.

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I like the idea of making the knowledge base more usable. 

 

However, I suspect that Evernote is having a hard time focusing on it. 

 

Which brings me to my add on idea: why not convert the knowledge base to a wiki and let users edit it? Same volunteer back up as the forums (maybe a different set of volunteers). Or maybe don't let people edit it until they a certain number of posts and a certain amount of time on the forum. 

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Words cannot express how much I agree with this idea!  My hat is off to you Wordsgood for bringing it up!  Particularly in the manner and detail in which you discuss the issue.  That took a lot of time and energy!  Thank you!

 

@ GM:  A User Manual existed before? For each Client?  How ingenious!  So, why would we "probably not" see one again?  Rhetorical of course.  However, as Wordsgood mentioned, it is what Evernote needs right now.

 

@ Candid:  Great idea.  At the least, it could be a great 'starting point' for a better KB, with an EN employee refining things as they go (if need be).

 

Nonetheless, a better KB is needed for the user's sake as well as for Evernote.

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Words cannot express how much I agree with this idea!  My hat is off to you Wordsgood for bringing it up!  Particularly in the manner and detail in which you discuss the issue.  That took a lot of time and energy!  Thank you!

 

@ GM:  A User Manual existed before? For each Client?  How ingenious!  So, why would we "probably not" see one again?  Rhetorical of course.  However, as Wordsgood mentioned, it is what Evernote needs right now.

 

@ Candid:  Great idea.  At the least, it could be a great 'starting point' for a better KB, with an EN employee refining things as they go (if need be).

 

Nonetheless, a better KB is needed for the user's sake as well as for Evernote.

In answer to you rhetorical question: "time." I think it has been about three years since the last manual was published. In that time I've strongly recommended, requested, urged documentation, but it hasn't happened. Evernote doesn't usually explain decisions or give any indication of what there plans are, so we have to guess based on the limited information we do have. I figure that enough time has passed to call this one a decision against writing documentation. I hope I am wrong! But, I see no indications otherwise.

Personally, I think it would be time well spent by Evernote staff, and I really think they need to employ someone full time who is deeply familiar with each client and the service to work daily on all of the documentation (constant iterations at Evernote necessitate this). In additon, they'd need to make videos, join meetups and so forth to help people work with the apps AND identify problem areas like inconsistent terminology or poor functionality. Finally, they'd need to be regular members of this community as "the face" of Evernote to its users. In other words, a mix of evangelism, customer support, marketing, etc.

Without this, I think we are left with half measures for an otherwise world-class service.

 

[EDIT]: I guess what I am getting at is that if you are asking people to trust you by putting everything important to them into this service, then they also need to know you have their back, and they can go somewhere to get some authoritative answers. For example, "will we get more than 250 notebooks?" I think someone ought to be ready to jump in on the forums (or elsewhere) and say: "We recognize that some users would like to have notebooks, but we are not planning to increase the limit or introduce sub-folders at this time because of scalability issues, so we encourage users to take advantage of the tags -- you can have up to 100,000 of these and 100 tags at a time can be applied to each note. Please see these links (X and Y) for more information on how you can put tags to work for you." A statement, a reason, and a workaround / solution with links to the documentation from someone at the company in answer to requests / questions like this would be immensely more helpful than the current ad-hoc state of affairs in which most users don't even know that there are limits on notebooks, much less that we can have up to 100,000 tags.

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