Evernote iPhone App, Redesigned & Simplified
Unfortunately, I’ve been experiencing a few things in the iPhone app’s UI/UX design that left me scratching my head, so I decided to take a crack at fixing them. See the bottom of this post for a few sketches of the analysis that’s about to follow.
- Since I don’t have access to any of their app analytics to understand how it’s being used, whether by power users or those who use it sparingly
- I typically use Evernote for business purposes so these may not be issues for people who use it for more personal notes
- Please excuse the 2nd grade handwriting and scratch marks, this was all done in one quick pass
User Experience Problems
I have to wait for the app to first notice changes either on Evernote’s server or in the notes I’m editing in the app, and then sync when it feels like it.
What we need is a sync/refresh button that’s always on top on every screen so psycho people like me can make sure everything is saved and synced all the time. If you’ve ever worked on a document for hours, then something crashes, you know the anxiety I’m talking about.
Shared & Private Separation
The other thing that annoys me is that I have to go searching for notes that have been shared with me (i.e., cooperative notes owned by someone else, but shared with me for viewing/editing).
Isn’t it simpler to just show all the notebooks and notes in one list rather than spreading them out into different information heirarchies?
Something I like to do when thinking about a UI redesign and simplifying complexity is to lay out the major actions that a user would want to do in the app. In this case, we have 3 major actions, which apply to 2 pieces of content:
- Create - new note
- Edit - existing note
- Find - existing note
Now, we can go deeper into this, but in order to keep this post short, let’s just assume that this is a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive list and K.I.M., keep it movin’.
For creating a new note, maybe we add another small step before we drop you right into a blank note and give you the option to quick upload a picture, video, or voice record instead of forcing you straight to text first. (This is one area we’d need some help from analytics to see how well this change would play out since it is adding a step).
For editing an existing note, it seems a few things are important, such as showing how long ago it was last modified, whether it’s new (i.e., you haven’t viewed it yet), or if there was some error with syncing the content.
And finally, for finding an existing note, we have 3 options of searching: by name, by tag, or by type (e.g., voice, video, picture, location, etc).
I chose to focus on navigating to a note you want to edit because that’s what I seem to be doing most often and the other two options, creating a new note or finding an existing note, seem rather straight forward.
Please note the sync/refresh button on the top right of every screen ;)
- Put all the notebooks in one scrollable list
- Put them into 3 sections: all, private, and shared
- Show the number of notes in each book (we might want to change this to number of “new”, un-viewed notes)
- Dots represent “new”, un-viewed notes
- Error represents problems with syncing within that note
- m, h, d, w represent how long it’s been since that note has been edited (10m = 10 minutes)
- Editable title on the first line and editable tags on the second line
- Editable content in the body
- Edit bar at the bottom with attachments, navigating between notes, sharing externally, deleting this note, and searching within the note
Sexy Shout Out
Finally, in honor of the new iPhone 5 that was just announced, I gave a little shout out (even though it still irks me that this is technically the 6th iPhone). A post for another day, but Apple should have seen this coming when they used the same naming convention for the 4S and the 3GS. A rare slip in long-term thinking from a corporation that was built on that principle.