Wishing Diigo was a product by Evernote

diigo and evernote
Integrating Diigo and Evernote is possible with a service like IFTTT but nothing beats product ownership

I wish Diigo was a product by Evernote.

Evernote is a brilliant note-taking app. It’s all about getting out of the way of note-taking and being a second, much bigger and efficient brain.

I’ve used Evernote as a premium user for years (including throughout college) and have never felt the need to reconsider my subscription. (Ok, maybe only once or twice, when news of privacy violations leaked, and when they killed the image annotation add-on Skitch.) It’s fast, relatively bug-free, and most importantly, gives someone with the memory of a goldfish like me a superhuman memory.

Diigo is a social bookmarking website that I use to annotate web pages in a buttery smooth way. When I read web pages and want to annotate a page, I can do that with ease and have those annotations both show up on the page when I revisit and appear in my Diigo account’s list of annotations.

I discovered Diigo several years after I started incorporating Evernote into my daily life, and when I did, I struggled for a while to reconcile the fact that Diigo is not by or a part of Evernote.

As a user, I feel bummed out. Although it rarely happens, sometimes we do find a product that feels like a natural extension to an existing product or service, and it’s like magic. That is until you realise the product is not made by said existing product or service. Bummer.

I’ll be more specific:

  • Whenever I annotate a webpage, it’d be great if those annotations get synced to my Evernote account (instead of Diigo) so that I can have one, not two, external brains
  • Ideally, the entire page gets clipped and synced with highlights and worded annotations to my Evernote account (Evernote Web Clipper does this partially, but doesn’t have inline comments)
  • Diigo’s Outliner feature is amazing, and I wish Evernote had something similar that allowed me to create a coherent outline as I read different web pages for information about a particular topic

I realise I may sound a little unfair towards Diigo by saying all this, but I think I mean this as a compliment. Diigo is an amazing tool (and it’s free), and I’ll continue using it for its various killer features. I just wish they would integrate seamlessly.

As I am writing this, I did a quick search for Diigo and Evernote integrations and there seems to be hope after all, in the form of an IFTTT (if this then that) protocol. I know I’ll be trying that!

Hopefully, a team in Evernote is already working on something like this, or perhaps someone in their mergers and acquisitions team is busy… what, a man can fantasise, can’t he?

(Then again, it might add to Evernote’s five percent problem. I’m not sure how to reconcile my selfish want and their business strategy.)

Users expect bug-free software

people using ipad phone and laptop
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Users don’t care how your product works. As long as it works.

A user will accept one or two bugs in your product. They might be taken aback, but they’re likely to give you a chance or two.

A paying user will most likely not accept any.

But neither cares about why your product isn’t working exactly as it’s supposed to. So work hard to think of edge cases and handle them, write tests and if possible, use your own product constantly.

We seldom discover bugs in apps by Facebook, Uber, Basecamp, Medium, YouTube, Google, Slack… these are among the most used apps. And from constant exposure to excellent software, users have come to expect all software to just work (read: be bug-free).

While we know as developers that nirvana lies in 100 percent test coverage, and that nirvana is impossible just like perfection, we must still strive to deliver the experience of bug-free software.

Because users don’t care how it works. As long as it works.

Training users to do the right thing

the dashboard of a Mitsubishi Mirage car with eco mode indicator on

I was in Perth, Australia this weekend with Mei and we drove around in a small blue Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. It had a manual transmission, which did take a day to get used to… but as we drove from cafe to restaurant (food was the one of the main reasons for the trip), I noticed the green eco indicator on the car dashboard. Food was on my mind, so I let that observation take a back seat. You know, in my blue Mitsubishi Mirage.

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