There are a lot of cool services and applications on the internet- no doubt about it. I use a lot of them, and they make my life easier, more organized and more fun. But they can be better. And I’m going to tell you how. This is part 2 of the series. We’ve already made Google better.
I am an everyday user of Evernote, a web service and software application that lets users collect, organize and access notes and information. I gladly pay $45 a year for the Premium version and have written about Evernote extensively. My affection for it is well known. But not unlimited.
There is one feature Evernote absolutely must add, and several that it should add.
Let’s start at the top.
Folders. Why in the name of Elvis, Jesus and Coca Cola won’t the Evernote developers add the ability to group your notebooks in folders!? This is a mind boggling omission. And don’t talk to me about tags. Tags are poor man’s folder, but why do we have to settle for that? It does not have to be an either/or equation- we should have both. The fact that I can’t organize my rapidly expanding number of notebooks into folders is a nagging irritation that simply should not exist.
If you have a few notebooks, you probably don’t miss folders. If you have been conditioned to dutifully tag everything you add so you can pull the right sock from the laundry pile, good for you. But if you are a power user, you need folders. Or at least the ability to have them.
I have teens and teens of notebooks. For work, home, family, tech, this blog, songwriting, and everything in between. I want 5-6 top level folders, with subfolders underneath. If you, like me and 99% of the rest of the computer using world, are coming from the land of Microsoft where folders are abundant, the lack of folders is a real drag. A big, stinking, unnecessary and annoying drag.
Thus, the Evernote developers should stop all other projects and devote all of their time to implementing folders. In fact, here’s a deal: I’ll buy 5 Evernote Premium 1-year subscriptions and give them away to Newsome.Org readers if Evernote adds folders by Thanksgiving. How’s that for putting my money where my feature request is? Want to win a free Evernote subscription? Email Evernote (via this page) and demand folders. Tell ’em Kent Newsome sent you. Tell them we won’t rest until this wrong is righted. Give us folders or give us OneNote. And all that.
After we win that battle, there are a few more improvements to put on the to do list. Oh, like a full featured “to do” list function, with email reminders. While a “to do” list is a little different from a standard notebook, it would be intuitive and convenient to manage your to do list within Evernote. Currently, you can manually create a to-do list, but it would be much better to have ready made “to do” list functions built in. With that, we’ll need a calendar. It doesn’t have to be a Google Calendar equivalent; it would be fine if it just showed your upcoming “to do” deadlines. Or perhaps a Google Calendar widget that would show your Google Calendar in a side bar, with the ability to automatically add “to do” deadlines to your Google Calendar.
You can currently drag notes from one notebook to another. What you can’t do is change the order of notes within a notebook. We need to ability to drag notes both between and within notebooks.
The Evernote desktop software is elegant and, except for the aforementioned lack of folders, almost perfect.
The web version, while completely functional, is not as elegant. It would be better if the web version looked, felt and operated identically to the desktop version. This is not a huge issue, since I have Evernote’s desktop application on all my computers, but it would be nice.
The Evernote Web Clipper makes it easy to grab all or part of your screen and send it to Evernote. I want the clipper to be more robust, with the ability to edit and annotate the clip before sending it. One mandatory improvement: all web clips should go to your default notebook (“Inbox” in my case) rather than the most recently accessed folder. Emailed content works that way already, so it should be easy to have clips work the same way.
From within notes, I’d like the ability to right-click on photos, PDFs and similar files and send them to destinations (i.e., PhotoBucket) with a single click. Perhaps Evernote could facilitate third party created plug-ins to do this sort of thing.
The Evernote iPhone app is well designed and allows easy access to your data. Like the desktop and web applications, however, it needs folders. Screen space is limited on a phone, and it would be helpful to group your notebooks in folders to allow faster navigation and retrieval.
Now let’s dream for a moment.
If the Evernote developers wanted to send Evernote into another plane of awesome, how about the ability to embed all kinds of media in a note? Zoho Notebook, a fine application in its own right, has allowed this for a long time. Imagine the ability to embed, access and play YouTube videos, audio files and the like- from within a notebook. Below is a test notebook I created months ago in Zoho.
I’m not holding my breath for this to happen, but to paraphrase David Wooderson, it’d be a lot cooler if it did.
What I very much want (in case you can’t tell) are folders. Folders, folder, folders. So Evernote- get to work.