Suggestions for syncoronisation setup screen

I just discovered the dev mode for starting up an instance of Joplin. I noticed that on my laptop (14", which is small but not freakishly so) the synchronization setup screen is so large that the close button is off screen. Pressing esc or clicking off the modal does not close it. Scrolling did nothing. At first the only way I could fix it was by restarting. Turns out if you hit tab about 5 times eventually it scrolls down.

So I'd suggest either allowing scrolling, esc, or clicking off modal to close. Could be frustraiting for new users since it may be one of the first thing they do.

Second suggestion is to add a notice reminding people not to use sync as a backup option. Something like this:

What version are you running?
Oddly enough it was because of a scrolling problem that this screen was changed as it was possible to leave the settings menu by scrolling whilst the wizard was left open on top, I wonder if your version is pre or post that change.

I just upgraded today.

I understand it is only suggestion but what do you think of dialing down the red font a notch?

I get the importance of the message, yet it feels that it screams "your data is unsafe with any of the clouds, you must have a backup now!".
To a person who just opened up Joplin for the first time and didn't create any notes yet it is kinda overwhelming, scary and weird.
The closest metaphor of similar suggestion would be to show the gore of car crashes in car dealerships: of course that would bring sales down.

I understand that people are clueless and it is frustrating to respond to those who lost their data running without a backup for years. I'm just wondering maybe there's more appropriate place for that note?

It seems there's a certain push towards better new user experience. If it comes to light, maybe it would make sense pasting a link to a good post about importance of backups / guide to setup a backup on the screen with other new-user-related info.

Nerd joke

Have you felt stress when got this for the first time on your local Debian?
Username is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be **reported**


Yeah, that feeling will happen when you tell a person (who doesn't do backups) that their data is unsafe.

Oh, there very well could be. Ideas?

Mine is just a suggestion. I trust the people making decisions to find the best method. I don't remember what the whole sync setup process was, so there may be a better point at the end of the process to remind users to setup a backup.

It seems like people at the point of seeing that screen would be having at least one of two things in mind

  1. This is how I will get my information on two+ devices.
  2. This will be an easy way for me to backup my data.

Since #2 is clearly wrong as well as natural and common, it seems like a good place to put a strong warning. I don't think it creates a feeling that "my data is not safe". And some people may be exclusively thinking #2, so it's important to stop them at that point.

Personally, I think the Simple Backup plugin ought to be in core and have periodic (opt outable) reminders if the user does not have a backup set up. But that's a different discussion. :slight_smile:

Plugins packaged with the app is one of the gsoc ideas and basically could solve all the prompts to user about backups. So, no warning or reminder would be needed ("best code is no code").

Regardless, to summarize the point you've raised:

Things unique to Joplin are best to disclose to new users

It is a broader, long running topic. The forum itself has been serving a place for that kind of information. Thanks to team, we're already getting nice, professional guides and how-to's on the most pressing issues (like Restoring Deleted Notes).

Easing the access to docs (and forum indirectly) is also a one of the gsoc ideas. So maybe the work of linking to them in the app via "learn more" or strategic on-hover-info-bubbles could be a test of the final doc structure.

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I guess what I meant was not that it should be included as a plugin but that it should be integrated into core. It seems like 80%+ of users would want to have an easy way to automate backups.

But that's kind of another discussion.

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The problem is that people don't understand what 2-way sync means. They always see the sync target as the master.

Unfortunately even the safe mode is not helping. How many people did open a topic that they turned off safe mode on purpose and then wondered that their data was gone? Too many.

I think that the red font is great. Maybe makes users try to understand why. We can also add a link to a FAQ entry or a section in the documentation.

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Well, at this point I don't think that my voice would change much but see me try (and fail) making the case

The problem with the red font is two fold.
Firstly, the moment people shoot themselves in the foot is different from when they are setting up things. This screen is encountered exactly once per installation as a finishing step. User is a bit unfocused and mentally strained, wants just to get it done. When the problem will arise, they most likely won't remember the message that made them a bit uncomfortable at the start.

On the opposite, the fail-safe checkbox looks like an innocent dove compared to the message. When you toggle it (just one click), there's no pop-up, no riddle to solve, no frames flashing pink, no nothing. Even though it is supposed to feel uncomfortable.

Secondly, about the design: it doesn't look right i.e. defies rules of design established in the rest of the app.

Here I'm not talking about the text itself, I think it's nicely put. It might be a good start for a curiosity driven post (Top 10 reasons why sync is not a backup). However, we're emotional creatures and the medium is often the message (c).
It looks as if you're running beta and a kind inside soul decided to sneak a note to user that everything may fall apart at any moment. And it's standing right below the "money-making" feature pressing uneven attention, tapping in uncertainty and generally creating a distraction at the place where there shouldn't be one. Of course we can't but it could be very useful to see A/B test on the conversion with or without this message.

Again, I understand it's just a suggestion and it may be revised to be a better version of "red font". But it still would be a warning message, not an asterisk.

— heck you too, so what do you suggest?

How about putting the text above the sync interval dropdown?
Most users will go there and most likely will encounter this page during problems. There we also would have more space to explain two-way sync nature and attach a link to more resources — the page is mostly empty if you don't open advanced settings.

Even if both GSOC docs project and packaged plugins will succeed, this little corner devoted to backup could still nicely educate users about how sync relates to backup showing off extra mile devs took to protect users' data.


I would not say that at all. e.g. I am no expert in interface design. I am not a UI/UX person. I just like the red font to point out that there's something to put one's attention to. That's all. Also, I don't have any say as to what gets into the product.