Friday Buzz: Evernote Gets Clean and Simple

After taking it on the chin from a user, the note-taking giant learns a thing or two about simplicity. Also: How one association CEO keeps his members focused on advocacy.

Evernote is a legend in the note-taking space, but it’s always had an Achilles’ heel: its web interface, which has long been, in a word, ugh-ly.

While its mobile apps are generally seen as beacons of great design, the web interface tried to replicate the experience of its desktop apps—and did so, but poorly. (Not that the desktop apps get much love, as they’re often seen as buggy.)

Not anymore. On Thursday, the company released a beta version of its new web interface, which includes a whole lotta white space and far less noise.

“It’s built to eliminate distraction,” Evernote CEO Phil Libin said during the company’s fourth annual conference this week. “It’s built for focus.”

What’s notable about this effort is that it seems to have been rooted in a response to a blog post that criticized the software’s bugginess as it’s gotten older. Jason Kincaid discussed the extremely problematic issues he had with recovering an audio file.

In response, Libin made a pledge to the software’s users. “I could quibble with the specifics, but reading Jason’s article was a painful and frustrating experience because, in the big picture, he’s right,” he wrote at the time. “We’re going to fix this.”

Talk about taking changes to heart.

An Advocacy Force

The International Franchise Association’s past few months have been extremely busy on the advocacy front, particularly going on the offensive against a minimum-wage law in Seattle that the association said negatively affected small-scale franchisees.

So what’s the strategy that drives the association’s approach? In an interview with CEO Update‘s David Rehr, IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira talks about the approach the group has taken in handling the issues they’ve dealt with in recent months—as well as how his association keeps both members and the board focused.

“Look, I have a tendency to move fast, but I think in this environment, you need to be nimble and you need to be fast,” Caldeira says in the interview. “But I don’t want to be so fast as to get out in front of my board, so they understand the ramifications of what we may potentially do.”

Watch more highlights from the interview above.

Other Great Links

The latest in restaurant design might prove inspiring for an upcoming event. Get a taste of it by checking out the winners of the 2014 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

A reminder of the internet’s limits: Despite the web being a central part of people’s lives in much of the world, that can’t be said everywhere. The Washington Post highlights a study showing that 4.4 billion people worldwide aren’t online. (Fun fact: That number includes 50 million Americans.)

It’s always good to get a laugh in. The Event Manager Blog suggests cutting loose when planning events.

The writing interface for Evernote's web interface. That's a lot of white space. (Evernote screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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