Harry Richardson

The Apps I Use: Evernote

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I use Evernote for almost all of my note taking - especially on desktop. I find the Mac app to be really great: it’s well designed, easy-to-use, and I’ve had few to no bugs with it.

With that said, I find the iOS app to be lacking in a number of areas that the Mac app just happens to excel at. On the Mac app there is a sidebar with all of your shortcuts, and a vertical list for access to Notes, Notesbooks, Tags etc. This is great - it is always visible, no matter where you are in the app. You can easily go from one part of the app immediately to another part.

On the iOS app everything happens on the main screen, and I find it just so… cluttered and noisy. It’s completely full to the brim with stuff and, honestly, it’s quite overwhelming. There’s just nothing to separate the different parts of the product. The tabbar is one of the best controls in iOS - especially for these products that can have so much going on. It allows the user to easily see where they are and where they can go to, from a very quick glance. It would also have the added benefit of de-cluttering that front view in the app.

Another thing I like about the Mac app - and don’t like about the iOS app - is the complete lack of transition animations. Sure, it’s not fancy, but it works damn well. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I love it when a view-transition gives you context as to what’s going on. In an iOS app, a modal transition (pushing the view controller up from the bottom) means something the user has to focus on (the tabbar is hidden, for example). Contrast this to a navigation controller push, which allows the user to still navigate to other parts of the app via the tabbar, and go back through the navigation stack. So what I find quite irritating in the Evernote iOS app is that the Shortcuts and Notebooks view controllers use a custom push transition - along with different look and colour scheme on the navigation bar - to that of the Notes view controller (which is a standard navigation push transition).

The good parts: I really like the note editing view - I find the toolbar easy to use and all icons natural; I haven’t experienced any bugs at all anywhere within the app; creating notes is front and centre on the main view, which is great, and finally, the number of settings available to the user is impressive. I’m not a huge fan of having a bunch of different themes, but I can appreciate that a lot of users would be, especially in something like a note-taking app.

My overall feeling for the Evernote iOS app is that it’s just trying too hard. I still find Evernote, in general, really great to use, I just find myself using the basic Notes app on my phone because I can very quickly and easily create a note - I don’t have to hack my way through the green jungle just to be able to write something.