How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?

No. I highly doubt OmniGroup will update OmniFocus 1 for the next version of OS X after Mavericks (OS X 11 or 10.11), as they have done so for OmniFocus 1 for iPhone (no update for iOS 7, basically).

In terms of contingency plans: None at all. To be honest I’d rather not use OmniFocus 1 as I feel the design’s dated, but on the other hand, issues like data density, checkbox (bringing hierarchy and structure to the layout), … are major factors that are increasingly frustrating as you use the OF2 more and more.

Most case scenario, I would not update to the newest OS just for OmniFocus 1 support (I updated to Mavericks when OmniOutliner 4 suddenly became Mavericks-only), which is quite sad, really.


As suggested, the ‘design freeze’ suggests that the abysmal data density (somewhat less so, with the recent update) will remain for the projected OmniFocus 2 launch in June.

I’m so completely torn on the left/right checkbox issue. I have OF1 iPad, OF2 iPhone, and OF1 on my Mac.

I have been using OF2 on my Mac solely for 3 weeks (other than checking some custom perspectives I had). I wanted to force the heavy lifting in OF2 and see if I stopped seeing my custom styles, etc how I felt about it with my workflow.

I honestly don’t know if I noticed the OF2 iPhone left->right checkbox swap, I just know I enjoy using OF2 on the iPhone. I am right handed, so maybe I felt like my thumb was more productive checking things off? Who knows. Personally, this was not an intuition issue. In fairness, the checkbox is not far from the text on the phone due to screen real-estate. Ironically, I used OF1 on the iPad and Mac, which has the checkbox on the left! So I was using a mixed mode of sorts.

On the Mac: I still have a hard time visually tracking across the screen when I want to check something off. The grey line that separates the action items could be a little darker for me (like +1 or +2 at the most, but it does NOT need to be thicker). For an experiment, I adjusted the brightness and contract on my monitor and my laptop to fake the darkness and sat a normal distance away that made a difference for me.

I would enjoy a highlight for due soon, flagged, overdue as @savantier has mocked up. I had that as a custom style in OF1 and I loved it. It took me more time to get used to NOT seeing that when I switched over to OF2. Not a fair OF1 vs. OF2 comparison since that was custom and not everyone’s taste. (I still miss it sniffle).

I just don’t think the highlight would work for tasks that don’t fall into those three categories. For a regular task, I would still have trouble visually tracking to the right and checking the right box. That’s why I keep hovering around the idea of just making the line a little darker for now. That should not impact data density, just data clarity.I just don’t know if darkening the line solves the problem or it’s a bandaid.

There are two things I do right now that help me:

  • I click and select the item I want now and I know I am checking off the right task. It’s an extra step, but not terrible. The highlight makes it obvious for me.
  • With the newer (a couple builds ago) flag update in the upper right corner, I noticed if I hover the mouse over within the first few letters in the task title (right where the note icon is), the flag-click location highlights. It stays highlighted as you move your mouse to the right. So I can track the mouse all the way over.

So far the hover has worked really well for me, even if I run fullscreen.

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Like most design things, there is no single correct answer to this question for everyone. We have good reasons for keeping the status circles on the right for our default layout, but there is no reason for us not to offer a left-leaning option when we add support for multiple layouts (such as the single-line layout we have always known we wanted to do).

So, what are some of the reasons we have for keeping circles on the right in the default layout?

  • We get to associate the flag (upper right) with the orange part of the circle, and the due date (lower left) with the red or yellow part. This reinforces why the circle has turned the color it has.
  • We get to keep the super crisp left margin that Apple has encouraged in its recent design direction, with hierarchy coming from grid and typography instead of indentation, at least until you get into action groups. (This is why the thick rules above projects were so important to get in.) This lets you read down your list of items with less horizontal jumping around.
  • The click target for completing items gets to stay reliable (at least in one dimension), so that you don’t have to aim as carefully each time.
  • Visually, the layout is way more balanced when you have an important element anchoring the left (the title and icon) and an important element anchoring the right side (the circle). If we moved the circles right, we would have a super left-heavy layout and the dates would be all alone off on the right.
  • While it’s true that going full-screen can leave you with a big river of whitespace in the center of the outline and make it hard to associate stuff on the left with stuff on the right, that is a separate problem that we already know we want to solve with smarter margins. It’s worth noting that this problem was much worse in OmniFocus 1. When you go fullscreen there, you get multiple rivers of whitespace, with values floating in seemingly random locations all over the place, and very little association between fields in the same row. Basically, OmniFocus has never been good at laying out in a huge window, and we still hope to make it better, but moving everything to the same side of the outline is not a great way to do that.
  • And finally, yeah, there is a bit of keeping a consistent and recognizable OmniFocus personality in there. “Branding” if you like. It is by no means the most important thing; nor is it worthless!

So, yes, we do plan to provide options here, much as we do for data density. But what we have now is likely to be what will ship in the initial 2.0 release. (I should note that we’ve been tracking this in our feature request database, and to date that request has only received nine votes. If you think it deserves more votes, please make sure you’ve sent in yours!)


I don’t like the checkboxes on the right.

I read left to right. The very first thing I want to know about an item is, “Is it checked?” Having to look right, then left to read the item wastes time.

The right checkboxes work well on iThings, as a right-handed person would block the text while tapping the checkbox, if said box was on the left.

There are some major UI/UX differences between a computer and a hand-held device. OmniFu needs to note that. [I’m a web designer who has studied UI/UX.]


I am enjoying the click box to the right… with OF1, when trying to highlight and item (to maybe to drag a copy) I would often accidentally click the box as done

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I like the check boxes on the right side.

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

A useful shortcut to highlight individual items is to double tap the trackpad (or double click on the mouse), and for highlighting anything (without dragging from the left is to triple tap or triple click.

I like that with the newest build the rings darken slightly. How about darkening the whole row a little bit, it would be easier to see to which action a ring belongs. I like the rings, but sometimes I have to follow the line twice to make sure I click the right one. Darkening the whole line slightly might make that easier.



I moved 2 posts to a new topic: Using text color to indicate task status

Also happy with right side check boxes.

I moved 4 posts to a new topic: Move to a different solution if interface concerns aren’t addressed?

I’m hoping that Omnigroup will–in a 2.0.X release–provide a preference setting that will allow the “status circles” to be repositioned to the left of the action item. As others have pointed out, there is simply too much visual separation between the action and the circle. From a human factors standpoint, this introduces eye fatigue (due to constant left/right scanning) and errors (inability to consistently and accurately track between an action and its status circle).

They already have.

See: Compact layout: displays info on one line w/status circles on the left [Edit: Now available in 2.3! OmniFocus Preferences ▸ Layout ▸ Custom Columns]

I only want the ability to reposition the status circles to the left side without all of the other issues that the high density layout (at least in its current form) introduces: non-clickable status circles; overly dense (IMO) layout; inability to tab into defer dates. Doesn’t work for me.

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

I suspect the current ‘problems’ that the higher data density version introduces will be remedied in due course. As the OmniGroup staff have said, it’s experimental.

In regards to the checkbox on the left – I suspect, like data density, it should be available as a user-selected setting in the future.


I’m going this conversation fairly late. I don’t really like to have one app dominating the whole screen. That’s why I never really use Maverick’s fullscreen mode for most of my apps unless I’m in Aperture, iMovie, or Final Cut Pro X.

I did find the status circle on the right a bit jarring at first. But I just kept my OmniFocus window size to 1280x800 on my external 26" monitor. The window becomes compact enough that my eyes don’t travel to the right very far. I’ve never really found the need or desire to go full screen mode with OmniFocus 2.


I agree about the usability issue. I have the same issue even on my 11" MacBook Air. It really slows me down when checking off an item to figure out if I’m on the right line. Since the circle lines up in center of 2 line task area, it does not feel aligned with the task. I disagree about the circles being a good looking design. I like checkboxes. I can live with circles on the left. The circles on the right just do not look right to me and I’m not getting used to them. So far I love the new design except for these circles on the right and the single color teal perspective icons (which at least I can change).

Please get rid of the circle and replace it with a proper checkbox ON THE LEFT of the Action. It is too disconnected on the right.

Usability takes a back seat to chasing silly trends with circles, too much white space, having to double-click to enter/edit data, no popup calendar in date fields, and poor data density in OmniFocus v2.

When will all of the bad UI and usability issues be addressed?



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What are people viewing this on - a big screen TV?
One of the niceties of OF, (imo) is that you don’t need to have OF fill up your entire screen.

I’m not looking for a full spreadsheet view in this sort of tool. Do other people use it as a stand in for a matrix?

I didn’t have a big opinion whether checkboxes should be on the right or left, both have their relative values.
In fact, for nested items - I like the checkbox on the right.

The subordinate items go light gray & have a strikethrough.
A faint gray line - under line items might help.

Testing it between OF1 & OF2 simultaneously:
Checkboxes on the right work as well as item-by-item checkboxes on the left.
At least for me, there isn’t a visual deficit.

On a collapsed Project View - The left pane has its checkbox on the left of the project entry.
Location of checkboxes are not a big deal to me. They work equally well in both places.

Another post griped about “Doubleclick?”
I don’t have to double click to enter dates, if I have the inspector open.

IT guys should be happy - OF1 is still a great tool in its own right.
If they perfectly liked what OF1 was, they don’t have to pay to upgrade!

Offtopic a little:
I do miss the ability to redefine a project from parallel to sequential, etc - with one click.
(Of course, single actions required going to the inspector even in OF1).

+1 to this. I really wish that icon to the left of the project indicating its status was interactive - it begs to be clicked.