Evernote promises a less forgetful app in future

The popular note-taking app has suffered after it went after growth at the expense of user experience, according to its CEO.

Phil Libin, the CEO of popular note-taking app Evernote, has promised major improvements to the product after conceding it had suffered quality declines while pursuing growth.

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Startups more naturally think of growth and new features than improving the experience for existing users, according to Libin writing in a blog post over the weekend.

"Starting last November, our first priority was to drastically improve the stability and performance of our main apps, especially for long-term users with many notes. We've made significant progress, and Evernote is measurably less buggy than it was two months ago," wrote Libin.

The problem for Evernote is that users' perception of its stability lags actual stability, according to Libin, who outlined Evernote's plans for improvements in response to a critical post from tech journalist Jason Kincaid, a power-user who had lost audio files captured on the iPhone version of the app.

Kincaid said that while none of the negative experiences with Evernote have been earth-shattering, consistent bugs in Evernote that corrupted files went against its main purpose — to be an extension of the user's memory.

The key problem with Evernote, according to Kincaid, is that it pursued growth at the expense of reliability.

"Instead of building a product that is secure, reliable, and fast, it has spread itself too thin, trying to build out its install base across as many platforms as possible in an attempt to fend off its inevitable competition."

According to Libin, Kincaid's summary of Evernote's woes was partially right, but he insisted the product's stability issues began with the rollout of its new app for iOS 7 and the company has been working since late last year to improve them.

"We gained many new users, but rushing to completely rebuild the app for the new platform resulted in stability problems that disproportionally hit longer-term customers, including ourselves."

The company now plans to overall its app in coming months with new versions of all of Evernote's apps, such as Skitch and Penultimate, said Libin. Additionally, over the next few weeks all apps will be getting "significant improvements and simplifications to the user experience", targeting note editing, navigation, search, sync and collaboration.

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