How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?

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

I like the checkbox to be on the right. Given the direction of reading - Left -> Right, I do not need to se the checkbox there, as in 99% of cases it is unchecked - unless looking at completed tasks - Which I personaly rarely do. With checkbox on the right I can focus straight on the task.

Btw, that is something I would love to be able to change in omnioutliner too;)

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

Apologies for that mistake (I’ve corrected it now), but my original point still stands.

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

Glasside has shown how he achieves this in OmniOutliner (4). Quotation attached below for reference:

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

Can’t remember how many days we have had OF2 test, feels like a week though.

I am still clicking where I expect the checkbox to be, (on the left), and it takes me a few seconds to catch my error. I’m just clicking white space. I’m surprised I’m not used to it yet, but I just don’t associate the right aligned boxes with the task.

It does seem like there is fairly even split on people who prefer left to right and vice versa. I think this should be an option, as it just doesn’t work for me on any screen size.

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I like 'em on the right. It suits the way I scan things. I can see I’m in a minority (at least in these discussions), but I’d prefer them to stay where they are

I’ve started using OF2 the same day I moved from a small desktop monitor to the largest monitor (pre-thunderbolt) Apple sells.

The checkboxes on the right when expanded full screen seem to be completely disassociated with the tasks.

I use OF on all other devices (iphone, ipad, macbook) and I know the value of this design on iOS devices, but I don’t like it on the desktop. I had hoped having a large screen would help me with OF because I have a zillion projects nested in many folders, but I’m pretty disappointed at this point. Such a sea of white. I think to compensate I’m going to have to shrink the width of my OF window to half the size of my screen.

(longtime OF user since the days of kinkless)

Reading these comments, it seems to me like there are pros and cons to both approaches:

  • Having the checkboxes on the left makes it easier to check off completed task and to identify the status (flagged/due soon/completed) of any particular action. It also emphasizes the hierarchy, making it more obvious if an action is nested within an action group.

  • Having the checkboxes on the right puts greater emphasis on the action titles, making it easier to scan the content. (Although, personally, I find that the inclusion of a second line of context/project information on the left dramatically undermines this benefit). It also creates consistency with iOS, where it has the added benefit of being easier for right-handed folks to check off tasks with their thumbs.

Which is more useful is probably very workflow dependent – for example, I use lots of daily repeating maintenance tasks and I find it very frustrating to have to pause even slightly to figure out which checkbox corresponds to which action, but I could imagine that not being a problem for people who check off fewer tasks throughout the day.

That suggests to me that this should be a user-definable option. However, if you need to pick one, I would say they should go on the left and follow the hierarchy.

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

I think you might be interested in the current (heated) debate on the topic of data density.

Add me to the list of people who don’t like circles as check boxes

hummm, it might just be me, but isn’t this a rather “expanded” view for a task manager?

As a workaround for the remote checkboxes, either first click the task You want to check (which results in a blue hue for the specific item) or click yourself through the list with the direction arrows and press the spacebar to check the task off!

With the status/check circle off to the right I find on the laptop I’m much more inclined to use the space bar when marking a task done rather than the mouse. It would be nice if when working down a list that after the remaining visible tasks slide up to take the place of the disappeared completed task that the next one in line become highlighted/selected/blue automatically. This would avoid having to hit the down arrow a few times (or a lot of tabs or move the mouse) to get to the next task and be able to use the space bar again .

+1 for left sided circles, too

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I am not sure I completely understand what you are suggesting here.

You are correct in stating a task can be marked complete by pressing the spacebar. I am not sure how this resolves the interface issue of its status indicator being on the opposite side of the screen on a Mac in full screen mode. This would be an expanded view for iOS. An expanded view for a Mac that runs applications in full screen mode, no; or at least one should not be criticized for running OF2 for Mac in such an “expanded” mode. Maybe you consider any task manager to not be able to be properly viewed beyond a specific set of dimensions? It seems to me interface elements from an iOS application should not be expected to work equally well on a Mac application without any modification to their placement (or functionality) in regards to differing screen size.

Right-handed checkboxes work on OF2 for iPhone because the dimensions of the screen are limited; horizontal scanning in this case is minimal. The sole functionality of communicating task status works well for that size of device. Right-handed checkboxes do not work well on OF2 for Mac because the dimension of the screen are larger or “expanded” AND the checkbox is the only interface element which conveys the task’s due soon or overdue status. Thus elements are unnecessarily separated from one another at larger screen dimensions. The placement (and corresponding distance) of the checkbox is an elevated concern on the Mac — specifically because it is the sole element intended to communicate this additional information.

My suggestion here, like I have stated before, would be to revert to OF1 functionality in modification of a task’s text color. This would allow OF2 to maintain checkbox location on the right-hand side for consistency across OmniFocus applications while sharing the communication of task status with additional elements and functionality more suited to the device screen dimensions. The changing of the text color to signify a task’s status as in OF1 resolves the dependance on a single element, the checkbox, to convey this information. The application would more effectively communicate task status without a need to scan across the full screen in identifying specific due soon or overdue states.

I dont think we should underestimate the power of the traditional checkbox and its impact on our desire to complete a task. Checkboxes have years of ui history driving our impulse to check it. I’d argue that an unchecked check box is its secondary state, the primary being a checked. Seeing a list containing unchecked checkboxes represents a list that has not yet reached its primary state. i think this is important. The completion of a task means that you allow a checkbox to reach its primary state.

I’m all for paradigm shifts but my experience so far is that i have no impluse or satisfaction from turning a grey circle into a ticked circle. Maybe this association will come over time, but it will have to be learned. I like the way outliner handles tickboxes in the classic sense.

I think the new of2 mechanism functions very well as an indicator or flaggness, dueness etc… but does it also need to be the mechanism for completed state?

I didn’t realise i was as obsessed with checkboxes until i finshed writing this post… thank’s Omni for bringing this to light.

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I might have not been clear enough with what I wrote, sorry. I was imagining the distance between task text and checkbox as jperegrino described it on his huge monitor, losing the continuity when trying to track which checkbox refers to which task. To me this is not necessarily faulty software but in part faulty application. Taking this position of course means that I got to like the layout as it is. Since the beta started I switched to OF2 and never looked back. Up until now there is nothing but some minor little preferences I’d love to see fixed. The forums are- of course- more frequented by folks wanting to change matters because the don’t like what they see so far.

@ScottRobinson- I had to smile reading about Your checkbox passion, I can totally relate to it. If there wouldn’t have been the OF2 app for the iphone I might be with You on that right now. The rounded checkboxes of the last version were really nice, but actually I came to like the circles, introducing a more informative paradigm along with the new shape. Maybe we’ll have the option to make some elements catchier by choice (as in: color the flagged tasks text orange as well), this would add to better visual cues and benefit orientation even on larger screens.

My take home from the progression is that it takes time to adapt to new ideas, no matter the quality. I am glad that Omni is not considering taking away the new arrangement in exchange for columns, but maybe they give this considerably big peer group an option to have them back? We’ll see in june!

I totally see the points people are making here (especially about displaying OF in full-screen, which I never do). But I have to say the circles have really grown on me since OF2 for the iPhone came out. They look “happy” somehow, and I like all the different visual states to represent due dates, flags, repeating events, etc.

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I definitely prefer the checkboxes on the left. It’s a lot of mouse movement to click through Projects, inbox, context, etc… then have to go all the way tot he right to check off something. I find i’m way quicker in OF1 as far as this goes. Speed is the key to keeping me “on GTD”.

I would also add that the circle instead of box still annoys me. It’s far too engrained in me that a check"box" is a box and a circle that you can lick on is a selection. Like html forms. Checkboxes are boxes and circles are radio buttons for selecting. When I see circles in OF (even on the iOS7 app) it feels like i’m using that to select those items to do some operation on them, not check them off.

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My eye is on the left, and depending on formatting, the right may be quite far away. The left is where it belongs, to me. I’m learning to use the keyboard shortcut, but still …

Also, the overloading of the checkbox with various colors kind of blows my mind. Combining due/overdue/flagged along with a checkbox is too many different concepts in one icon, and it doesn’t work for me.

My solution of having due items in a different color font may be just for me, but I hope OF2 becomes configurable enough to allow such things.

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Two points:

  1. I am attempting to address an interface issue while maintaining design choices Omni Group has brought over from OF2 for iPhone; specifically the right-hand checkboxes. Hence, my compromise of sharing the role of communicating a task’s status solely through the checkbox with the addition of the indicating a task’s status by text color on the Mac. My remarks are also specifically accepting Omni Groups stance in stating the current “design” of OF2 for Mac is set and will not change anticipating its June release date — this I assume includes the style and placement of the checkbox and I am attempting to work with that.
  2. I am inclined to request clarification of your use for the term “primary” and how you mean to convey its importance, as fulfillment, over other common interpretations and meanings. I see primary as a sequence position or classification of priority when considering task management scenarios. Fulfilling a task list by completing it is surely gives the user a sense of accomplishment, but does this speak to what is commonly meant in such particular instances in using the term primary. Take for example: what is your primary task for the day? This can be easily understood as first or important, but accomplishment or fulfillment are not, at least for me, an initial meaning I gain from such a statement.

The checkbox in OF2 communicates task status through the use of combinations of multiple hues of color representative of specific states; flagged, unflagged, due soon, overdue. The two traditional uses for checkboxes are denoting state of completion through being checked and unchecked. I would consider both of these traditional states in OF2 now to be secondary information in this particular scenario as the user is generally interested in task which need to be completed; conversely when searching completed tasks the user is only interested in task previous completed. The checkbox’s new role of communicator for other states is where the interface issues arise on large screens. Let’s look at my second point above and ask what is the primary understanding the checkbox in all of its roles as part of OF2 is communicating to the user. I contend it is that of priority and not fulfillment/accomplishment; flagged, due soon, and overdue. All of the new states attributed to the checkbox denote urgency in association to the associated task and are the furthest element from the tasks title — why? The problem becomes compounded on larger displays and I propose as a solution in using text color to assist in conveying these vital states of urgency on OF2 for Mac while maintaining the current design elements across all devices.

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This is even less clear than your original comment and the rest of your comment to me is an appeal to emotion regarding your relationship to the software and these forums. I am glad you find the software fulfilling, but that is not a reason to dismiss issues others are having interacting with the software’s interface.

The distinction you make between faulty software and faulty application (use of the software) seems to transfer an interface issue present in the software to a select group of users running large displays. The distinction is worded with a sense of equivocation which is potentially more confusing than your original “expanded” view comment. Either the software works at all expansion levels or it does not; and by works I mean effectively communicates vital information without additional workarounds needing to be applied in order to connect urgency indicators with their corresponding task titles. By your own admission you state there could be better visual cues for larger screens in the communication of this type of information.

I provided reasons the issue needs to be addressed and I also proactively offered a solution which maintains the placement of the checkbox on the right-hand side while connecting the data to its status indicator. I made my points with consideration to preserving the current “design” of OF2 on the Mac. Why do you state this is a “faulty application” (even in just part) and not an issue with the software interface design? It seems disingenuous to present comments implying the issue is user caused; potentially prohibiting the issue here not to be properly addressed so others can have the same level of experience with the software you claim to personally enjoy. I will ask.

I do not use OmniFocus in full screen mode, but I understand others do enjoy using software in this manner. I do not use Forecast, but I understand others find this feature valuable. Do you have an alternative solution (not workaround) since this is a forum for testing and improving unreleased software in current heavy development — and will you submit such a reasoned concern or solution to Omni Group in hopes to improve the software for all users?

In this case, I prefer to simply like what I am being presented, instead, knowing that

  • I am personally enjoying it already (aside of some tiny hassles that I happily communicate)
  • I trust the Omni group doing what they do for a reason, that means even if it doesn’t exactly fit my own personal preferences I first try to understand why things are designed the way they are. Usually I end up liking what I see

Clearly, I have a different application of these forums: giving perspective and gaining some on the new software. When I see an error or a point of friction I’ll write them an email. Your mileage might vary.