How can the data density be improved? [OmniFocus 2.3 added custom columns layout]

I disagree- also on considerably big screens with me it often got really crowded with all the details next to each other! To my impression the advantage with two lines are neglected here:

  • dedicated space for each of the elements- no more fiddling around with column widths and such
  • less density ;-)… for some (and me) this means more overview
  • A column is always there or not there- now you You are seeing the noisy part only for tasks that deserve to be noisy

As I am getting used to the looks I am more and more likely to prefer it for the above reasons- all the more since this wonderful density update!

1 Like

Hmmm. I rather like the more compressed view, although I’d been getting comfortable with the original one. I think the 2-line layout is necessary, unless you go back to a columnar view to display the attributes.

As has been suggested, a user option to define the degree of compression would be nice, although I imagine it’s quite some work


Continuing the discussion from How can the data density be improved?:

Fantastic. Syncing in new data from a week ago (haven’t touched the app since my first launch due to usability issues in terms of data density). Should be fantastic.

Had a play with it, it’s a lot better than before.

I was looking at the interface just now and I was wondering why there was such a large vertical gap as well between each line. I was slightly puzzled and thought about it for a moment before moving my mouse towards the action and seeing the ‘due date’ pop in.

I previously didn’t really understand the request for a ‘one line’ approach (but I agreed with the idea of having it as an option), but now I do.

There’s further increases in data density if there is a switch to a one-line approach.

Improved! as of 2014-04-07 21:41:26 -0700 less white space between vertical elements in the outline pane.
Still twice as much vertical space for the same info as in 1 but now just because context is beneath task and not adjacent. Overall look is much cleaner than columns though.

What about using the 1 line layout on the drop down icon on the toolbar? In OF1 I didn’t find that useful just being able to see that x context had 2 available tasks - however, a mini drop down a la fantastical showing available items for today would be truly awesome - available at all times - realise this might not make 1st release, but sometime?

I moved 7 posts to a new topic: Reduce visual chatter by moving the note icon?

Not sure which build it came through, but agree that the “New Density” is a big improvement. Customisable would obviously make everyone happy, but not sure how easy that is to implement. I would have survived with the “Old Density” but this is great.

Much better. I’d still like to see it narrower though, reducing the size of the circle would help that.

1 Like

I love the second row with notes/project/context/defer/due. I’m finding it very useful when I’m organizing a project, but I do believe there should be an option to hide the second row, so you can focus on going through your list and completing actions.

It’s nice how the row is hidden to some degree until you mouse over it, but hiding the entire row permanently will be the last step to fix the data density.

I don’t see anything wrong with making the circles smaller for this final step. The circles can increase in size as the row expands because I like how the circles are the same size as the row (especially if they are all the way to the right).

I’m not a developer, but I’m guessing a challenge will be to move defer/due up to the first row if the second row is hidden because that information is crucial.

I often print out certain Pespectives, but due to OF2’s problem with data density - and due to our inability to change the default styles - my printout is now twice as long as it used to be for the same amount of text.

I’m really hoping these problems get dealt with, as it’s pretty awful right now.

1 Like

I’m actually kind of disappointed with the Data Density update. The denser layout makes everything more intimidating for me and more difficult to parse. The breathing room supplied by previous versions made all my tasks easier to scan. It’s kind of a psychological thing, but important to me.


@noahread: There’s no way to please everyone, but the VAST majority were very unhappy with the wasted space in OmniFocus 2 and the Data Density update was a godsend to me and the vast majority of people. However, if I was in charge, there would be a Style section under the Preferences, where the user can configure the vertical spacing of entries using a slider from Loose to Tight, so that every possible outlier gets the UI they want to work with and nobody is left out. “One size fits all” is not always possible. Especially not when it comes to clothes.

1 Like

Continuing the discussion from How can the data density be improved?:

The most ideal situation would be a slider (like the text size) options, with the most extreme on the right being the amount of spacing that previously was, in the middle, the data density that we have now, and on the left (with the highest data density), one single row.

Just a note of caution - we’re only seeing this who post here. How many thousands were in the original beta? How many are in this one? You might be right, but …

I agree with that sentiment.

getting used to it, but adjusting the breathing space along with the font size would be helpful.

I have long task descriptions that clash with defer and due dates, I was smiling when I worked with the original spacing, now, not so much.

Maybe density, with more contrast between the task and the metadata might help.

Continuing the discussion from How can the data density be improved?:

I think quite a significant number of us have tested the original beta (propensity for testing betas of productivity software suggests that we were equally as interested in testing the original version when it was first announced last year as well).

Sorry - I don’t think I was very clear. My point was that there are potentially thousands of OF2 beta users out there*, and only a very small proportion of that population is posting in this discussion. So we should be careful in drawing inferences about the feeling of the mass from those who are interested enough and dissatisfied enough to post here.

*Source: @kcase in the Omni blog said that the original beta had 30,000 participants.

Continuing the discussion from How can the data density be improved?:

Right ok.

There is the issue of the vocal minority, which can be bad (e.g. Most people on the MacRumors/official Apple forum are complaining about x issue, hence x issue is prevalent, but on the other hand, the satisfied majority won’t bother to post).

But on the other hand, productivity software is different. The most vocal people tend to be part of the group that will push the software to its maximum, due to their passion for productivity. Data density is a major UX issue that can’t just be ignored. The purpose of productivity software is to help you work, but if you can’t really get an overview of what’s happening because everything’s so spaced out, that’s a major issue.

I’ve mentioned earlier (I also started off the thread with an image of a possible compromise, with inspiration from Gmail) that it would be better if it was an option, like text size. With three major settings – how it used to be (‘comfortably spaced’, in Gmail’s lingo), how it is now (more data dense), and one-line (ultra dense)

Those are fair points, and I don’t disagree with any of them. My original caution was a response to this, from @jbarr:

“… but the VAST majority were very unhappy with the wasted space in OmniFocus 2 …”.

Clearly, Omni have accepted that some thought needs to be given to how to manage data density, so I think we can look forward to more flexibility than we have now (even though a really great solution might be some way off).

1 Like

Let’s try to avoid making assumptions or sweeping statements like “vast majority”. Forum posts are great sources of information, but they by no means should be construed as a representative sample of any population.

The feedback about any given issue is going to tend to skew towards the unhappy side, because unhappy people are more motivated to take action than happy ones. In many cases, the latter population would really rather get on about their day. As another example, this effect is why some developers feel the need to “encourage” positive reviews on the app store by various means.

It’s true that the change we made last week appears to have made more people happy than it did unhappy. We don’t have any plans to reverse it. Still, @noahread and @boldfish aren’t the only folks who feel the way they do; we’ve gotten emails. Their viewpoint is valid. They didn’t argue against the thing you wanted (and got) - they deserve the same courtesy in return.

1 Like