UX Hero: The Evernote Redesign
Jun 11, 2015
Changing the world one design at a time
I have always leaned more towards super villains because, let’s face it, Mojo Jojo was the best villain ever.
However, if I ever were to suddenly switch sides and become a super hero, I’m pretty sure it would be something around the lines of “The Redesigner” or “UX Hero.” Clearly I’m no Stan Lee but you get the point. Because I’m not all-powerful and do not possess the ability to redesign all products everywhere, I’m just going to write about my opinion of them and how and/or what I’d do to make them better.
I thought about this a lot, but I decided the best place to start is somewhere I started months ago while I was still in college: Evernote. I apologize to all of you dedicated Evernote users, and maybe it’s my own ignorance, but I can’t stand it!
Not only do they have pointless style changes (why give the customer the ability to change the colors? It doesn’t achieve anything or give them a better experience) but the UI is so unintuitive. Can someone please tell me where I add a new note? That’s the purpose right? Why can’t I do it from the home page? Additionally, there’s no simple menu. As a brand new Evernote user, I spent the majority of my time clicking aimlessly around until I saw what each button did. Eventually, I just got flustered and ended up exiting the app.
Not to completely bash Evernote, I think it has a really brilliant business plan. I’m a little OCD with organizing files and thoughts (especially in the UX career) and I love what Evernote is attempting to accomplish, I just think they could do it better.
User research and one high-fidelity prototype later…
This was a huge project in college, we even went so far as to create an EXTREMELY poorly edited app animation to show the new functions and capabilities. Naturally, there were several screens that were revisioned. However, for the sake of time and your sanity (I’m supposed to be a hero here after all) we will limit it to just a few.
Evernote does give the user the option to change the green UI to white or black, but I felt that it was an unnecessary function, and none of them looked as good as I felt it could. So, I started with cleaning up the design to make it more simplistic and modern. None of this complicated pattern and color mumbo jumbo.
Next I focused on the content, what do the users use Evernote for? Well, to make and organize notes. So the redesigned home page is entirely just your notes organized by most recent with some additional functions such as: grid/list view, search notes, new note, and a pull out menu.
Super Awesome Menu
A huge issue I had with Evernote was the ability to find, understand and use all of the features. By simply adding a pull out menu, I can now see all of the functions at my finger tips. Even if as a first time user, if I don’t understand what a “notebook” may be, I can see that it’s an option and explore further. This encourages exploration and ease of use.
Additionally, I can see functions that were not made readily visible in Evernote’s original design (IE: tags and trash). This is not an added function but one Evernote offers, just not very easily accessible.
Adding a Note
After I figured out how to add a note in the Evernote app, I was presented with this page. Granted, I like to consider myself pretty technologically savvy, so the icons didn’t confuse me too terribly; however, it did take some tapping around just to make sure it did what I thought it did. Basically, Evernote allows for adding mixed media in your notes like audio recordings and pictures. Where was this during my two-hour early morning art history classes that I slept through?
Considering that everyone may not be super familiar with the icons and their functions, I changed the media bar up a little bit. Now the media options are contained inside of an expandable menu which both cleans up the screen to help make it feel less cluttered and allows the user to know with one simple button that they can add media to their note. Simplicity is key. Every option is labeled so the user does not have to spend any time having to explore the app, wasting time. No distractions.
Until next time…
We all have products that drive us nuts, what was the last most frustrating user experience you had? What would you change or like to see changed?