Dismissing Evernote Announcements

Screenshot of Evernote for iOS 7

Evernote quickly released a beautiful iOS 7 update, and it makes their mobile application much more usable: It’s faster, simpler to navigate, and easier to quickly add notes. It incorporates the best parts of the current flat design trend and the iOS Human Interface Guidelines. It’s 90% perfect.

Their misstep, however, is in adding an announcements category to the home screen (something they’ve also done on the Mac platform). I see three major problems with this:

  1. This targets all the wrong audiences. Power users will have already read this content elsewhere–via RSS or Twitter or Facebook. Casual users will ignore the announcements and never think twice about them. (How many times have you seen an iPhone/Android phone with 10+ pending app updates?)
  2. Prime screen space is lost to promotion. Even in an app I know well, I read from top to bottom. I can’t rearrange this content, so whenever there is a new announcement (which I already saw on Twitter or via RSS or in the Mac app), I have to dismiss the notification.
  3. The announcements are a pain to dismiss. I have to click the announcement link, click the notification to load it, press the back button, repeat the loop for each announcement, and then return to the main menu.

I understand that Evernote wants to share the great work they’re doing. This is, however, the entirely wrong way to approach that sharing. If they must include an Announcements section, at least let the user rearrange or remove the content quickly. A major appeal of Evernote is the platform’s flexibility and extensibility. Such rigid design decisions (especially on a platform where pixel space is at a premium) undercut that core strength.

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