We take a big approach to redesigns. We think that as devices become more powerful and operating systems change, our apps should follow suit. A week ago, we released an update to Penultimate, our handwriting app for iPad, that was meant to demonstrate our vision of where digital handwriting is headed. We did not do a good job.
Simply put, we released this version too soon. Our big ideas were overshadowed by usability issues and incomplete features. The complaints from the community have been loud and justified.
Here’s what we’re doing about it.
This week, we are submitting an update to Apple with the following improvements:
- The drift feature returns with scroll speeds that match your writing speed
- The zoom box will be resizable
- Introduction of a sliding tray within a note to let you jump to specific sections easily
- The ability to insert a page above or below
- The ability to clear and delete a full page
- Adding page breaks and page numbers
- Note titles will be turned on by default (you can turn them on manually now)
We have heard complaints of missing notes and notebook. As far we know, there is no data loss associated with this update. In this new layout, each Penultimate notebook became its own long note. Scrolling through the note displays the notebook’s content. The sliding drawer that we’re introducing will let you easily navigate to any part of a note. Learn more about notes in Penultimate in our knowledge base.
We’re continuing to apply your feedback and enhance the experience. In the coming weeks and months you’ll see improved functionality and new features that will make Penultimate better than it’s ever been.
As a company grows, a common external perception is that it loses touch with the needs of its users, and events like this only further that feeling. This is fundamentally not true at Evernote. We’re sorry. We screwed up. We’ve heard your feedback, and are going to make things better. Once we’ve solved the immediate issues, we’ll change our process to make sure big new releases go better in the future. We do believe that we’re taking Penultimate in the right direction, but this was not the way to unveil our vision.
Redesigns are important, especially for an app like Penultimate. As technology races ahead, activities like handwriting are in danger of becoming nostalgic. We think Penultimate can play a significant role in keeping handwriting a vital part of our lives.
Thanks for your feedback. Keep it coming.
Vice President, Mobile Products