A while back, I heard something that wasn’t really new or earth shattering, but up till that point, I honestly hadn’t really taken the time to consider it. Every time you say “yes” to something, you are implicitly saying “no” to something else. If you say “yes” to working late, you’re saying “no” to family game night. If you say “yes” to getting up early and exercising, you’re saying “no” to sleeping in. Again, not earth shattering, but an incredibly important life principle to wrap your arms around.
We’ve been thinking a lot about our Notes feature in Informant over the past several months. At its core, Informant is an app all about helping people be intentional about planning and prioritizing their time throughout the day. At the core of that mission, we firmly believe that in order to manage your time properly, you need an integrated view of all your events (appointments, etc) and your tasks (your to-do list). That has always been one of the defining features of Informant: events and tasks are both first-class citizens.
Over the years, we’ve had a ton of ideas for Informant. A lot of them were really great (like being the first app to give you location-based alerts for your tasks). But along the way, we said “yes” to a few things we should have said “no” to. Not because they were bad ideas, necessarily, but because saying “yes” to those things meant we would have to divert our attention away from the core thing that makes Informant great. What we’ve come to realize over the last several months is that Notes is one of those things we should have said “no” to.
Currently, the App Store has some really great note-taking apps. Apps that let you use Apple Pencil to draw in your notes, that let you collaborate on notes with someone else, and ones that even let you search your own handwriting! Those are all amazing features – but they are coming from apps whose sole focus is Notes. As we look at our roadmap, we don’t see Informant’s greatest innovations happening with Notes because that’s not the core of our mission. Consequently, you can also see it in the numbers – the vast majority of people who use Informant on a daily basis never touch the Notes feature.
The current reality is that for every improvement, bug fix, support case, or UI consideration that we have to make for Notes, we implicitly have to say “no” to improving the “core” features of Informant. Because of that, we’ve made the hard decision to admit out loud that we’re going to have to intentionally phase out the Notes feature so that we can say “yes” to things that will truly be exciting to the vast majority of you who rely on Informant daily. That doesn’t mean Notes will disappear overnight. We realize there are a small handful of you who use the Notes feature and we’d like to make a the transition as smooth as possible. We’ll be taking a phased approach over the next few releases of Informant:
Phase 1: Add the ability to export all of your notes to RTF / Plain Text files (you should be able to export notes in a “one-off” fashion, but also a convenient way to export all notes at once).
Phase 2: Add some announcements within the app to encourage people to start exporting their notes immediately.
Phase 3: Create a section within Informant (most likely in Settings) that will show up only if you have any notes stored in Informant. This section will allow you to export all your notes and then delete them from Informant.
Phase 4: Remove the notes view & syncing options for notes and, for the time being, simply keep that Export option available so people have time to export all their notes.
The majority of you out there aren’t using our Notes feature today and aren’t affected by any of this. But we understand that there are there are some who do and we want to honor all of you with this phased approach. We are excited for our future and the things we’ll get to focus on as a result of this decision. As always, we’d also love to hear your feedback.
Update: Based off feedback we’ve received, we will be adding the ability to attach documents to Events and Tasks in the next month or two.