Evernote Penultimate

The good bits:

  • Instead of requiring sign up, Penultimate allows the new user to sketch to his heart’s content inside of a single default notebook, storing his renderings locally on his device until he creates an account. This free sample allows new users to experience the value proposition of the product much earlier.
  • The app provides a lightweight user guided tutorial, where hints are triggered as the new user explores, at the moment help may be needed. The new user is invited to create his first note, choose a paper type, and is then told how to close the note when he is finished. This introduces him to the less familiar controls of the new interaction space, without wasting time training him on obvious actions like sketching or drawing. Once he exits from his first note, the new user receives a gentle reminder to log in with Evernote to keep future notes organized.
  • The app prompts for log in after delivering on value. For example, it prompts for sign up after the new user finishes creating his first note, instead of before it. Other prompts are the result of a user’s action (like creating additional notebooks) and each sign-up prompt is tied to the action that propagated it.
  • Penultimate offers a robust help section for users to reference later if they need help. This offloads the app from having to tell the new user everything in his first moments in the product.

To be improved:

  • The hints accompanying Penultimate’s user guided tutorial are modal, requiring the user to tap a specific button to close the message. This can be a jarring interruption of flow.  The app could consider allowing tapping outside the note to dismiss it, or allow the note to be modeless so that the user can still interact around it until it disappears.
  • The intro tour screens for the product seem unnecessary (as they are very simplistic and obvious), and may delay the new user from jumping in to this quick sketching app.
  • The user guided tutorial introduces the new user to the space within its starter notebook, but does not introduce him to the top level where notebooks are added. This can lead to confusion because the new user may close the app, return to it, and find himself in this unfamiliar top-level view with another prompt to sign up.