How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?

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.

i dont think point 1 is in reference specifically to anything I said but I can clarify the confusion on point 2. My statement is a general statement about checkboxes. Therefore when I am refering to primary or secondary states this is not in reference to how checkboxes are prioritied within OF2. I suggest a checked checkbox box is the primary state as we do not call these boxes and prefix with the state, either a checked box or an uncheck box. We refer to them as checkboxes. I am not suggesting that the function of checkboxes are primary to a mechanism that shows due, flagged etc. My statement is a personal observation, introspection as to why I am finding it hard to engage with the completion of tasks within OF2 both ios and mac. Wondering whether the replacement of traditional checkboxes, for me, is impacting on my use of the tool. It would appear it is. I have also observed the positioning is also impacting on my engagement. All of these will be mitigated over time as the use of OF2 becomes more habitual.

I agree with you thoughts on using colour for due, flagged etc. Reintroducing user styling would provide a solution perhaps.

+1 for at least an option to have left-handed circles.

As others have mentioned, right-handed circles on the iPhone just make sense for thumb positioning, but I primarily view OF2 on a 27" display. When I quickly open up OF2 to check off a task, having them on the right means I either need to take my hand off the mouse to use the space bar or I need to scan across in order to find the right circle to check. Any time I can save and use for other tasks is important to me.


Same here, except exchanging “mouse” with “keyboard”… a deeper support for keyboard navigation would be outstanding!

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

My post on the other thread in regards to keyboard navigation also talks about this issue.

Attached a GIF to demonstrate my workflow in the old (and more fluid) system.

Until today I’ve been testing OF2 but going back to OF1 for real work. Today I forced myself to use OF2. What I noticed was interesting…

At mid-day, as I was checking off a completed actions, I realized one action was overdue. Although I had “remembered” to do it, OF2 gave me no indication that my task was due until I looked way over on the right hand side to find the check box, at which point I notice that the circle was red. The text of the task would have been red in OF1, but in OF2, with the circle way over on the right hand side, I simply hadn’t noticed it.

My question for the Omni folks is this: will this be configurable? Will the “Style” preference pane be returning, will there be status-based styles, and will LH/RH checkboxes be a user choice?

There’s no way everyone who uses OmniFocus is going to be happy with a unilateral decision on LH vs RH checkboxes, or for that matter colored circles vs colored text to indicate flagged and due. I hope the ultimate goal is for OF2 to have at least the same degree of user customizable options.


My first point was in reference to this.

As I understood your statement to mean the status indicator in OF2 — which is the checkbox — functions very well. I was expressing my reasons for a solution within the restrictions Omni Group placed on the functionality by design choices.

I agree the new design of checkboxes as circles — by both Omni Group and Apple — challenge the traditional sense of this element. Omni Group added to this trend and attached additional roles which is complicating the issue on large displays. It could be interesting if others prefer the checkboxes from OF2 for iPhone or Reminders in iOS7; both are circles, but Apple maintains the tradition of left-hand side placement and uses other elements for communicating priority (also on the left-hand side). I will leave the discussion of primary in regards to task management for another time.

I’m in agreement with those that prefer the check boxes on the left. It’s much easier for me to scan down through the list without having to scan to the right to see the status of a task. I’m also in agreement that the circles, if left on the right, are too large in size and seem awkward looking as compared to the rest of the task window.

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I agree that restoring red/orange text for overdue/flagged items would be great.

One thing that is odd about the new checkboxes is that flagged items that are overdue are half-orange/half-red, which makes it harder to see which flagged items are overdue than which unflagged items are overdue. One would expect that flagged items would be the most crucial to call out if the due date deadline was missed, but instead it is the other way around.

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This is a good example of how people’s visual perception varies. I’m looking at OF2, and I’m hit right between the eyes (s0 to speak) by the embarrassing list of red circles with due dates in red with red background. It’s where my eyes go straight away.

I much prefer this presentation to the idea of colouring the item itself - to me, that would make the whole visual experience a mess. I always found it so in OF1, and it was one of my major dislikes of that version.

For me, this works well. I’d be happy to see options offered for those who prefer something different, but I’d very much want to be able to get this current presentation easily - either because it’s the default, or because it’s one of a set of standard themes

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I feel as if we need two topics (maybe they are already here somewhere)? This one relates to how we feel regarding the checkboxes position (on the right - and count me as opposed, please). Some of the discussion here relates to the color cues for the checkbox - count me as in favor. Two questions and deserving of two topics.

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

Agreed. I was just using OmniFocus (1) at the moment and I realised how I was instantly able to distinguish between the various due deadlines (red, orange, yellow) just by looking and typing at the text, without moving my eyes to the right (as required by OmniFocus 2).

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

Initially I was quite opposed to such a suggestion, but I agree. Two topics equally deserving of their own thread.

It’s fascinating to see this sort of discussion surrounding UX evolving. When I first posted about my issue with data density in OmniFocus 2, I never expected such a huge response.

And to see this evolve on its own as well, spawning discussion about user customisable styles, checkbox locations, indication colours…

It’s incredible.

A true testament to the passion of OmniGroup’s users towards productivity, workflows and software usability.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Putting the circles on the left for the Mac version would be so much better.

I would even go so far as to say to make the circles the same SIZE as the old square checkboxes as well, which would help with the data density issue.

I think it makes sense to have the circles roughly thumb-sized on the iPhone version (and I guess the iPad version, though I don’t have an iPad). But for the Mac version, it doesn’t need to be thumb-sized – it just needs to be big enough to see and to click on. I get wanting to keep a consistent look across the different platforms, but I think you could still get that with smaller circles on the left.

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I’m also thinking that actions and the items are to disconnected on a large screen. An option that would suit all preferences best would be to either choose between having the checkbox on the left or right and also be able to switch between round and rectangular checkboxes. But I know it would be some kind of heavy customization option.

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Sure, sure. Variant mileage. Clearly, there is no support present for your combined statements (given perspective) suggesting “expanded” views are a “faulty application” in how the software is used.

I am really not a fan of the checkboxes being on the right…not at all.

My first post here and I logged in specifically to request they go back on the left…glad I found healthy discussion on this, and that I am not alone.

My reasons -

  • the checkbox is way too disconnected from the action info
  • it is unintuitive
  • I don’t care if it matches the iphone - this is Mac OSX software don’t match for the sake of matching - make it right for the OS.

Thus far loving v2…this is the only thing I would change, but it is a biggie for me.


I like both the right-side positing and the size/colour of the circles - I find the colouring very intuitive (the meaning is obvious), and I like a nice big click target.

As to positioning - if this were a paper to-do-list, the right side is where I’d tick off.

I’m not criticising those whose opinions and tastes differ - jet adding mine to the mix

Definitely like the status circles on the left side. I agree that the after picture is much easier to read and use.