How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?

Just a quick mockup to show how (at least in my use case) left side checkboxes and a bit of indentation could make tasks–and especially single items list–much more scannable.


just one more vote for this - constantly scanning right then back left, then back to the middle disrupts concentration.

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I wanted to see how many nested actions it took to reach the circle checkboxes on the right-hand side.

Here is the original OF2 debut screenshot.

Answer: 110 on a 27" iMac with OF2 in full screen mode.

  • Scrolling to the bottom took 5 1/2 screens
  • Lots of white space

Then, I moved out of full screen mode to the original application dimensions and started scrolling.

  • Scrolling to the bottom took about 14 screens
  • After screen 8 no data is visible with only blank lines showing for the remaining nested items

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Continuing the discussion from Checkbox on the right feels too disconnected:

Fantastic, thanks for the screenshot.

In terms of the checkbox (circle-thing) itself… Couldn’t it become a square?

You don’t have to precise follow the UI elements of the iOS version in order to make it coherent. There are other things that can create this persistent ‘brand’ of OmniFocus without negatively impacting usability (colour schemes, typography, …).

For the mobile interface, a circle makes sense, as you can use your thumb to tap it. For desktop, a circle means that you have to precisely ‘aim’ for the circle, as there are certain areas that you can’t click.

Just a note that the clickable area for the checkboxes in OmniFocus for Mac extends well beyond the actual drawn boundaries of the circle.

Just for the sake of discussion I’d like to add that I find the checkbox being removed from the action is a plus.

For me it almost signifies moving on from a task… Aesthetically I also feel it brings more balance to the document.

In omnioutliner I like to hide the status checkboxes and have an extra column on the right for checkboxes - so perhaps it’s as much a matter of habit as anything?


I actually really like the checkbox on the right hand side. I don’t need to see the checkmark. If it’s checked the strike-through tells me that. If it has some status then I see that in the color, which draws the eye, and the light line keeps me in each task if I move back and forth.

I really dislike how much focus that checkbox gets in most UIs. Why does something you will only use once get so much attention? I like how OF2 has enlarged it and used color to make it actually useful instead of just sitting there taking up space, waiting to be used. I already know my tasks are sitting there, staring at me, waiting to be finished, judging me.

It might be that light line (reminds me of the old trinitron wire sometimes, in how faint it is) that really needs improvement?

Also the Note, context, status line thing looks too much like a bullet, but I’ll post about that elsewhere.

I use OF2 full-screen, 27" iMac + TB display, and the lack of clutter (one persons wasted space?) really helps me do, instead of fret about how much there is to do… remember the judging? I have a love/hate relationship with my task list.

I have OmniPlan if I want clutter, and more judging ;)


My 2 cents, I feel the checkboxes are too big. I’m not 100% but I may prefer a square. Would be cool to be able to select? Not sure if I necessarily prefer the checkbox on the left or right to be honest.

I like the checkboxes as they are - round and right. They scan well to my eye, and I appreciate the tie-in with iOS so I don’t have to change hemispheres between devices. Agree that the colours used to denote states are too similar, though.


As a keyboard junkie, I’ll be mousing over or arrowing down to select tasks while using the spacebar to complete them.

I’m not sure how I feel about them on the right side at this point. The one plus with them on the right is the consistent design from iOS to OS X.

I don’t mind the shape, and I like the look of the checkboxes on the right, but I do find them slightly less usable. That said, I rarely look at lists of completed tasks, so it mainly just slows me down in identifying and checking off tasks. I find that it is encouraging me to check off tasks using the space bar instead of clicking the box, which is actually faster than my old workflow…

I think they’re lost over there even on my Macbook Pro 13". Especially as they’re used for overdue status.

My longer comment and alternate visual here: Overall, how are you liking OmniFocus 2 relative to OmniFocus 1?

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As a lefty, I too like to have the checkboxes on the left, on the iOS version too. On my big screen it feels like slowing down moving my hand all the way to the right just to check the task off. AND to make sure I don’t accidentally check off the wrong one because I’m on the wrong line.
I do like the feature of the color denoting the status, so I’d like to keep that.

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Continuing the discussion from How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?:

Don’t think it has to do with hand orientation. I’m right-handed but I like to have the checkbox on the left as it gives a sense of structure and hierarchy to the whole process.

I could care less if the checkboxes are on the right or left — the point is more intricate for my interpretation of the issue here.

Simply, the checkbox on the right-hand side on large screens AND the only indication of a tasks status is the problem. If the updated checkboxes in OF2 were only there to indicate complete or incomplete tasks there is really no issue. However, the checkboxes have been modified to indicate additional information; flagged, due soon, and over due. It is this information which is difficult to discern as it is too far from the text it represents. The only solution I can think of while keeping the checkboxes on the right-hand side is to have the text of a task change color according to its status (such as is done in OF1) and thus the checkbox, alone, is not required for such status determinations.

– Edit –

Correction by changing left-hand side to right-hand side.


Continuing the discussion from How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?:

There’s the psychological aspect to this issue as well. A circle instinctively feels like something that is harder to click, hence the need to ‘aim’ for. A checkbox, on the other hand, is slightly different.

Similar situation in standardised tests like the SAT, or any other administrative form that you fill. Always squares as opposed to circles.

Continuing the discussion from How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?:

Hm. Never thought about this before. I do get your point.

Obviously just a mock-up: apologies for the poor quality of this illustration, but:

It would be similar to how OmniOutliner 4 handles ‘backgrounds’ in rows.

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Yes. As you have done or which could be done by changing the text color (less jarring in my opinion), would connect the task title with its current status. The need to scan horizontally is greatly reduced and this information is not indicated solely by the new checkbox design and location. One could scan down the left-hand side and immediately recognized task status.

– Edit –

The reason I would hold changing the text color as more effective over the changing of the background color would be because the flagged state is determined by the colored circle. Confusion could occur when the dual color circle AND a colored background are present. I would expect a change in text color along with the colored circle checkbox is sufficient to clearly communicate the task’s status.

The only flaw is having the flagged status represents so far away from the text of the task, but this is how OF1 presented the information and this status is usually viewed from the flagged perspective.

I prefer the checkbox on the right-hand side because its easier to read in my iMac (big screen).

That’s easily fixed by having the divider line highlight in some fashion as you mouse over a checkbox.

I moved 7 posts to a new topic: A proposal for Status Circles response to swipe gestures