There are many changes coming to Evernote. I don’t see any problem with the app becoming more feature-rich, but I do have concerns about how it is done.

Two recent tweets from Federico Simionato, the product lead at Evernote, have led me to believe that the app is on track to become something different. There is currently a space for files being built, and many new features for Tasks are being discussed. Additionally, he told me in a recent conversation that he sees potential for Evernote to become a personal hub.

I don’t see any problem with the app becoming more feature-rich, but I do have concerns about how it is done. Evernote has a very intuitive structure. Notes, inside notebooks and tags to filter notes in a notebook or across many notebooks. That’s how simple it is to understand and use.

Thus far, each new feature that has been incorporated is layered upon this framework. Here’s an example: tasks and calendar entries are always connected to notes. And thankfully, it doesn’t look like the proposed Files feature is trying to compete with Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. It seems to be just another way to interact with the files we already have in our notes.

Out of Place

But based on the recent image shared on Twitter, it seems like the ‘new Tasks’ will not be aligned with Evernote’s framework anymore. It feels to me that it doesn’t belong there, as if an existing task management app has been implanted in Evernote. If this is the case, it may create some problems.

Some of the new ideas, such as ‘Projects,’ may introduce a new layer of classification and categorization of information, which may break the simple structure that makes the app so intuitive.

The Spaces feature on Evernote Teams is a great example of what I’m trying to convey. Just like a Stack, a Space is a group of notebooks. So when should one use one or another? To further complicate the understanding of how things work there, a note can be created outside a notebook in Evernote Teams. If you are an Evernote user, please tell me if this doesn’t feel like a crime.

To be honest, Stacks and Spaces exist for different purposes and are intended for different uses. But they look the same. So much so that it takes me some time to help my clients understand and assimilate the differences between a Stack and a Space.

There’s no other way to say it: Evernote Teams is not intuitive at all. If you have never used it, I suggest you watch the video below to see how confusing things can get.

Another Tasks App

Evernote was never a task management app. Tasks were elegantly incorporated, respecting the note-notebook system, and that’s what makes Evernote Tasks unique.

To be clear, I’m not questioning the need for or use of “Projects” or any other possible new feature like “Priority”. However, adding them has the potential to create distraction, since Evernote will have to compete with well-established task apps. Think about it: how many new features or variations of a feature are enough? How many colors of Flags do you need? How many types of Priorities? What about “Subprojects” or other ideas people have in the future?

Users will never be fully satisfied because there are too many ways to do things. They’ll start to compare Evernote Tasks to dedicated apps like Things, Todoist, etc. In other words, this will constantly create pressure on the development team to catch up.

Evernote is already lacking basic options and settings for features like Templates, Calendar, and even the editor. The situation is the same when we look at other apps that try to do everything. It’s like the old saying: try to do everything, and you won’t be good at anything.

I believe that using the simple, yet powerful framework of the app would allow people to create whatever innovative tasks system they come up with without having to wait for Bending Spoons to release the desired features.

Notebooks names could be used as a filter for grouping tasks inside a notebook, instead of introducing the new “Projects” layer. And if tags could be added to tasks, it would mean another filter option allowing each person to create their own priorities, flags, and anything else they want. This would make Evernote Tasks a space for users to create their own systems instead of complaining about Bending Spoons not working on new features.

Unfortunately, I believe the short-term easy option will prevail. They’ll just give the users another Tasks app like so many out there and hope for the best. Which seems to me like opening a can of worms. I can even imagine it leading to a dedicated task app. After all, there’s no way to compete on equal terms if your tasks are inside a notes app. It takes far too many steps to create a task.

Can you see how this can lead to an uncontrollable situation?

Loosing Focus

The current simplicity of Evernote results in limitations that serve as boundaries, and as a result, numerous non-tech-savvy individuals can efficiently organize their lives. People frequently tell me Evernote’s simple framework helps them with focus. This is not a small group of people, but they are silent on social media. So, I am trying to be as loud as possible for them.

However, I’m just one voice, and we may be already witnessing the birth of an entirely new experience with many new features and layers upon layers of configurations and categorizations. An Evernote that unfortunately has the potential to make many people’s lives much harder.