September 27, 2017

google keep UX sucks

At a previous job many years ago I used evernote heavily, but only in a simple way , creating new plaintext notes in notebooks. I figured I could switch to something more simple and that happened to be google keep.

At first it was fine, it was easy to create new notes on the web interface. The site was very simple and lacked virtually any features. For example there was no tagging, reminders, categories, colors or anything. Just plain old notes, which was exactly what I was after. I used it lightly for a few years in this manner.

Over the years they added a few big-ticket features like tags, etc while also making the website slightly more and more annoying to use. These small things slowly but surely grated on my soul to the point where I hated it. Some more recent changes are more gratuitious and make it pretty obvious they dont seem to care about keep's usability anymore.

For example, here is some of the most grating experiences keep has:

  • Notes load in slowly. despite being basic text (which they store as HTML) it crawls.
  • Takes 5 clicks + 2 spinner selections for custom time on reminder (in fact, custom no longer works in firefox)
  • Cant create a note with a title without clicking twice.
  • There is no way to see the FULL DATE of a note. Only month and day regardless of how old.
  • Changing layout of notes clears position, notes and reloads all notes from server everytime you click it.
  • They did add keyboard shortcuts, but they are very bizarre. Sorta like vim, (j+k but j is next) and no key for archive, etc.
  • You can only upload images to a note.

I only used the android application and it had no redeeming qualities as well. Anyway, you get the idea, I'm not a fan. I like to vent about software (just ask any of my few, brave twitter followers) but if they fixed the issues in bold I'd deal with it. Nevertheless, I decided to switch to OneNote and give it a try with its crazy freeform UI and glorified microsoft advertisement for office baked in.

Todo/Note keeping is the epitome of the 'simple webapp demonstration', (even before TodoApp react days), but it goes to show simple human interface to anything is never so simple.

Bonus! If you export your notes from google takeout they get awful, inconsistently named html files, mostly dates, some randomly named other stuff and all in HTML regardless of contents.

I cant help but be tempted to create a simple note taking site, with code snippet support.


complaining keep note-taking


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