Honestly, I tried to love it, but I couldn't do it


#1

I initially thought I was going to love this app, so I proceeded to buy it straight after checking for a couple features first. I found the existing protocols/templates and example documents provided pretty fascinating and cool. I found the concept of having timers, tables, templates, date records as toggles, and timestamps as something super useful. I began to start transferring my experiments over from messy, indistinguishable stickies (IOS app) to findings to find out that I paid all this money for nothing. Here are the things that forced me to switch to Excel…

I tried to use this app to hold my data for personal experiments, but making tables and recording data was hellish.

Main Issues
1. The tables are so hard to format.
Before you read this, I’m well aware that the space was limited in order to fit size requirements for PDF export and printing.
Initially, I couldn’t figure out the logic behind the width changes of the columns. I found it annoying I had to click on the edit button of the table in order to make changes, and when I made changes in the editing section and hit ‘done’, the table measurements snapped into different places and I had to redo the spacing again and again. Then, to my dismay, when the spacing was correct. I found out that the copy to clipboard button was broken as well. Selecting the entire table and copying and pasting had the same result. It copied the table and it’s contents, but the spacing was messed up again! Then when I sought to enter data into the table, I realized that the character length would mess up the spacing again!
Then I also found out that the table’s were way too small and limited to allow my experiment data to fit. I made every column as tight as I could and I changed my system for documentation to get more space but nope. After you stretch it too far to some limit that is literally indeterminate b/c I have to switch between edit and one, the table fks all the spacing up again! Also, you guys interchangeably use the words templates and protocol on your website and app. It wasn’t too huge a deal since I figured out they were the same thing in a couple minutes, but I also realized, that inputting a protocol holding a table (or idk what went wrong) into my experiment also screwed up my table spacing as well. And the spacing for the table in the template/protocol than in the normal document are different. Also, maybe this is just me, but it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to delete the ‘Day 1 of 1’ part from the protocol. Most of the time it just wouldn’t ever get deleted and then everything else I couldn’t delete.

This tables thing is a really big deal for me and I don’t really mind putting my self out here. Every science and every form of experimentation regardless of being a part of a natural science requires a large breadth of criterion and an easy way to record.
I’m disappointed because after I had to alter more than 10 and remove 5 of my titles because of the lack of space, I just didn’t want to try anymore.

Honestly, if I wanted my report to look great and perfect every time, I wouldn’t even use Findings I’d use LaTeX or VIM or some other citation styling language and make my ‘protocols’ from markup.
5. Why making every page printer compatible wasn’t a valid idea (Below)

2. Can’t create hyperlinks
I was looking to do a couple experiments which involved putting URL’s into the table as part of the data set since I would be accessing a plethora of them. Again spacing, but I thought no problem I’ll turn these links into hyperlinked text. But I found out I couldn’t highlight some text and then attach a URL to it.

3. Editing my data and using timers takes twice as many clicks than if i were to use 2 separate apps
Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I couldn’t find any shortcuts that controlled the timers and a bunch of other little things. So I went to go put my own shortcuts in, but then I realized there weren’t even any menu buttons for those functions. So I literally couldn’t even use my own comp to create keyboard shortcuts. The buttons are in nonintuitive places (I’ve tried over 30 "notebook, study, journal, experimentation apps before this one so trust me when I say that 75% of the buttons I looked for I failed to find within the first 5 clicks. Part of the reason for that is b/c 50% of the buttons I assumed that would be there, failed to even exist.

4. Why are the 2 sidebars not collapsable.
i know what you’re thinking, “We gave you the ability to pop out the window.” I know, and I’m glad you did. But popping out the window doesn’t mean anything if everything has to stay the same size or when you pop it back in the alignment of everything gets screwed again. I don’t understand the point of the pop out and pop back in window.

5. Why making every page printer compatible wasn’t a valid idea
Obviously it was a great idea to take into consideration the sizing of paper and whatnot, but you did not advertise your software properly. I was under the assumption that we now lived in an era where computers and phones are not unlike each other anymore and possess the same accessibility or near it of nearly every tool. Since the invention of the personal computer and the advent of its extraordinarily lower price, we have been burning boxes and boxes filled with cards with tiny holes punched in them. The things that could not be represented on paper are finally accessible to the general public in neat little packages and they do marvelous things. So why in gods name would you create a program that helps tidy up some students lines to mimic PAPER? The entire point of a computer is to start doing the things that paper never could as well as the things paper does very well.

6. Your support and FAQ pages don’t even show the same versions of the app
This is just dead wrong. You only have a single platform/operating system to cater to. I don’t understand why there is so much ambiguity, vagueness, and lack of specificity in your site and program which was designed to help simplify things while not sacrificing specificity. I can see why this app failed miserably at this goal now.

7. Math is just as hellish as tables
This app gave me 2 buttons. 2 buttons to denote mathematical and scientific concepts. Yet you were able to supply me with some very nice resources and other graphics of the sort.

This app seems like it was built by a bunch of chemists and biologists who only knew how to use the commands copy & paste to inject code into random areas. I thought this app was going to get better and better as time moved on but it turns out that this app is so useless that I couldn’t wait any longer.

I thought the Journal button in the top right corner was really cool and I couldn’t wait to get some quality data into it. Until I realized that it was impossible to get in any data at all, let alone make it look right.

8. Why is there a totally distinct button whose sole purpose in the world is to copy to clipboard when clicked?
Wouldn’t the intuitive way of highlight -> then Cmd + C to copy then V to paste been the way to go. Every time i clicked on a bloody photo, it cleared my clipboard. Well why was I clicking on the images so many times? Well I’m not sure, maybe because I have to hit the edit button thats rriiiiigggghhhhtttttt next to the clipboard button, every single goddam time I want to enter some fucking data because your tables are too goddam small. Compatible with Excel and Page my fucking ass.


#2

Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback, and for taking the time to express the issues you ran into. Given that you have decided not to use the app anymore, I appreciate you still went ahead and explained what went wrong for you. I want to distinguish below between bugs and limitations, and I’ll try my best to answer all of it, so you at least get some information back. I also hope it can help other users who may come upon this discussion.

when I made changes in the editing section and hit ‘done’, the table measurements snapped into different places and I had to redo the spacing again and again
Selecting the entire table and copying and pasting had the same result. It copied the table and it’s contents, but the spacing was messed up again!
And the spacing for the table in the template/protocol than in the normal document are different.
inputting a protocol holding a table (or idk what went wrong) into my experiment also screwed up my table spacing as well

By default, the column width adjust automatically to the content, unless you manually drag the column, at which point it become fixed width… and that is probably part of the frustration. That said, the specifif issues listed above look like bugs, and I will investigate to fix them in a future version.

Then I also found out that the table’s were way too small and limited to allow my experiment data to fit.
Compatible with Excel and Page my fucking ass.

These comments definitely fall into the ‘limitation’ bucket. We did not reimplement the full range of Excel or Numbers functionality, as tables in the app are really meant for quick entry of a relatively small amount of data. You can copy-paste content between those apps, but Findings does not recognize all the text formatting allowed by Excel or Numbers. For more complicated needs, the idea is that you can insert an Excel or Numbers file right inside your entry, and it’s just one click away from being edited.

This tables thing is a really big deal for me and I don’t really mind putting my self out here. Every science and every form of experimentation regardless of being a part of a natural science requires a large breadth of criterion and an easy way to record.

In that case, using Excel as the main entry point for your lab notebook is indeed probably a better idea. I am sorry if you were misled into using Findings, and please contact feedback@findingsapp.com (private email) so I can issue a refund.

you guys interchangeably use the words templates and protocol on your website and app. It wasn’t too huge a deal since I figured out they were the same thing in a couple minutes

I am glad you quickly understood the words were interchangeable, because this is exactly our goal in the way we present this part of the app. We made protocols completely optional (you hardly see them mentioned if you don’t create any), as they are more typically used in the biology field. But we think this can be useful for other cases as well, and we debated calling them templates for that reason. In the end, we kept the word ‘protocols’ because of their very important role in biology, and yes, the majority of our users are biologists.

Also, maybe this is just me, but it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to delete the ‘Day 1 of 1’ part from the protocol. Most of the time it just wouldn’t ever get deleted and then everything else I couldn’t delete.

That’s a good point: the idea is that a protocol/template can potentially span more than one day, in which case the ‘Day 1 of X’ line makes sense. The problem is that in many cases, protocols are just one day, and the ‘Day 1’ header becomes more confusing than useful. It’s something I’ll add to my list for tweaking in the future.

Honestly, if I wanted my report to look great and perfect every time, I wouldn’t even use Findings I’d use LaTeX or VIM or some other citation styling language and make my ‘protocols’ from markup.

Yes! The idea is not for your lab notebook to look perfect like a book, but to be legible, clearly laid out and still good looking. I am afraid to achieve something that is fully customizable in terms of looks would take too much complications and would require something heavy like LaTeX, but would take away a lot of the simplicity that we try to achieve … though I realize you probably don’t think we achieved that goal anyway :wink:

  1. Can’t create hyperlinks
    I was looking to do a couple experiments which involved putting URL’s into the table as part of the data set since I would be accessing a plethora of them. Again spacing, but I thought no problem I’ll turn these links into hyperlinked text. But I found out I couldn’t highlight some text and then attach a URL to it.

If you paste a URL, Findings detects it and makes it clickable. At the moment, though, you can’t change the URL text into something else. This can be a bit annoying for larger URLs. On the other hand, for a place where you are writing down long-lasting records of your work, having the URL appear in full can be considered a plus. This is also something we have been ambivalent about: hyperlinks do hide information, and we feel like our solution is a good compromise (but we may change our minds!).

  1. Editing my data and using timers takes twice as many clicks than if i were to use 2 separate apps
    Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I couldn’t find any shortcuts that controlled the timers and a bunch of other little things. So I went to go put my own shortcuts in, but then I realized there weren’t even any menu buttons for those functions. So I literally couldn’t even use my own comp to create keyboard shortcuts. The buttons are in nonintuitive places (I’ve tried over 30 "notebook, study, journal, experimentation apps before this one so trust me when I say that 75% of the buttons I looked for I failed to find within the first 5 clicks. Part of the reason for that is b/c 50% of the buttons I assumed that would be there, failed to even exist.
  1. Why is there a totally distinct button whose sole purpose in the world is to copy to clipboard when clicked?
    Wouldn’t the intuitive way of highlight -> then Cmd + C to copy then V to paste been the way to go. Every time i clicked on a bloody photo, it cleared my clipboard. Well why was I clicking on the images so many times? Well I’m not sure, maybe because I have to hit the edit button thats rriiiiigggghhhhtttttt next to the clipboard button, every single goddam time I want to enter some fucking data because your tables are too goddam small.

Fair enough. We can do better with the timer buttons and keyboard shortcuts, and with the ability to select an image (it might look easy, but there are in fact some technical complications with this last part, because of the web view we use for the text editor). I’ll put this on my list…

  1. Why are the 2 sidebars not collapsable.
    i know what you’re thinking, “We gave you the ability to pop out the window.” I know, and I’m glad you did. But popping out the window doesn’t mean anything if everything has to stay the same size or when you pop it back in the alignment of everything gets screwed again. I don’t understand the point of the pop out and pop back in window.

Do you mean the alignment of tables? Otherwise, the alignement of the text is not fixed. And to jump a bit ahead on your point 5, the idea is that an entry is not formatted based on paper, but based on what’s on screen and the window size (we still put a limit to the width it can grow to, for readability). You can still use the tab key to do some basic alignement, though on narrower widths, content can be forced on the next line and visually break things (same with print/PDF), so it’s not super reliable, and one should instead use tables.

  1. Why making every page printer compatible wasn’t a valid idea
    Obviously it was a great idea to take into consideration the sizing of paper and whatnot, but you did not advertise your software properly. I was under the assumption that we now lived in an era where computers and phones are not unlike each other anymore and possess the same accessibility or near it of nearly every tool. Since the invention of the personal computer and the advent of its extraordinarily lower price, we have been burning boxes and boxes filled with cards with tiny holes punched in them. The things that could not be represented on paper are finally accessible to the general public in neat little packages and they do marvelous things. So why in gods name would you create a program that helps tidy up some students lines to mimic PAPER? The entire point of a computer is to start doing the things that paper never could as well as the things paper does very well.

Not sure I get your point on this one. Printing or PDF export is just a possible output of your content. The app in fact works very differently from a linear paper notebook. It’s more like a super-binder, where you can reorder and arrange sheets instantly any way you need.

Another thing we did not do is to make the content forced to some paper size, like Word or Pages would do. Again, the premise of the text editor is not to make it compatible with a printer.

Given the emphasis on tables in your commments, I can see where the limitation we put on table width can be interpreted this way. And on this point, it is true that part of the thinking was to make things reasonably sized on paper (though it’s scaled down significantly at this size). But it was also an issue of getting tables to fit into the width of the screen without too much trouble. After all the above discussion, I definitely see your point, and maybe we should make table editing happen in a separate window in fact, so the user would feel more like in Excel, where the canvas feels infinite.

  1. Your support and FAQ pages don’t even show the same versions of the app
    This is just dead wrong. You only have a single platform/operating system to cater to. I don’t understand why there is so much ambiguity, vagueness, and lack of specificity in your site and program which was designed to help simplify things while not sacrificing specificity. I can see why this app failed miserably at this goal now.

The support for Findings 2 has moved to a new system, more akin to a forum: http://community.findingsapp.com

And yes, we still need to build up more documentation/help from that place.

We have also kept the support pages for Findings 1 around, because they are still relevant for those users. They are not directly accessible from the new site, or from the app. I suppose we should make clearer on those pages that they apply only to Findings 1 (and I just realized now you can still access those from the iOS page, so I need to change that).

  1. Math is just as hellish as tables
    This app gave me 2 buttons. 2 buttons to denote mathematical and scientific concepts. Yet you were able to supply me with some very nice resources and other graphics of the sort.

I don’t understand what you refer to? We have no support for equation a the moment, but it does not sound this is what you mean.

This app seems like it was built by a bunch of chemists and biologists

Not a bunch, mostly one…

who only knew how to use the commands copy & paste to inject code into random areas.

I tried initially, but that did not work :smiley: