So far I’m really liking OF2. I am using exclusively. I will echo some of the comments made regarding colour, styles and density.
Ditto. The ultimate response to “what do you think?” must be “I’ll start using OmniFocus again”. Which I intend to do - this works much better for me in every respect. Still some wrinkles to iron out, obviously, but I just find OF2 so much more useable than any of its predecessors.
Total score with version 2! Been a long time coming, but totally worth it. Love forecast, review, and new aesthetics. #WIN.
Putting the current bugs aside, which I’m assuming will get ironed out, I think it’s a huge improvement in all aspects except data density. Quick Open is an extremely valuable feature (I actually was the one who suggested it in the main forums…thanks!). But unless the data density gets addressed, at least with an option, I don’t know if I would prefer this over OF 1. A lot of the GTD/OmniFocus system is about whittling down your tasks to a manageable list. There is something about not being able to see even a moderate list all at once (current OF 2) that negates this intangible.
I agree with 100% of these comments. Right on target.
I want to see a nice (tight) list of my tasks. Projects should be bold and a little larger than tasks. Each sub task should be indented.
Current format has too much white space and too many distracting widgets, icons and noise, with several shades of grey. Each task takes two lines of text, requiring another distracting light grey horizontal line.
I much preferred, the one-line, multi-column view of OF1. I think I also preferred the standard check box at the beginning of the task, but I can live with it at the end.
I think the biggest issue is having two lines of text for each task. Makes everything look AND FEEL busier. Makes me look like I have twice as many tasks to do! ADDS STRESS!
I do like the new, simple, square icons for each section of the app on the sidebar.
And of course the forecast feature is great (but again with the busy, two-lines, per task).
To me Omnifocus/GTD should be all about presenting a clean task list to choose from, (and helping me spot what’s due/flagged). In project view i want to see all tasks and the outline structure. In context view I want a clean list of what i could do right now to scan and pick from.
I’m not a fan of the double line sparse look because, as people are mentioning, it’s a lot harder to scan and the structure is less obvious. Also within a very standard size window the colour coded completion checkbox is too far to the right to be the main indicator of due/flagged.
Despite a truly very nice version 2 design for all the nav and chrome, for now I prefer version 1 for the simplicity/clarity of your task list. And that’s the key.
This stuff is hard because everyone uses it a little differently and I’m sure all at Omni have tried endless way and have it this way for a reason.
While it doesn’t fix information density, I think the change shown below would make v2 my preferred option by:
- helping show the project structure by giving the first line some dominance
- bringing the due/flagged status to your attention better when picking the next thing to do from a list.
The changes here are
- completion boxes on the left (and at 70% of original v2 size)
- slightly lighter grey text in second line
Also from here you could add a preference/key to show hide the second line if you wanted to project plan in a more pure outlining mode.
Before version for reference. The overdue status is just not clear enough:
Oh and some context for my comments:
- I’ve used Omnifocus heavily since first release (and the Kinkless version before then).
- I love new iOS7 Omnifocus on phone - fantastic design and the circles on right work great as they’re closely associated with a task (and in a good spot for right handers). I lead a small team designing financial apps and reference Omnifocus for iPhone often as best-practice/smart.
I love the new version! And using OF2 only now. Some thing have been mentioned here already:
- Visually distinguish Folder, Projects, Single actions, Actions etc. And laso Active vs non actionalbe actions (waiting fors) - this is the biggest issue now as thi lists seem to be too flat and homogenous
- In the project list - There are icons for Sequence and parallel projects - I do not see any value there, it actually distracts me, as it makes mi thinking what type of project is it - I do not really care at that point
- When switching perspectives I’d like to choose whether to display list of projects or contexts (= area between vertical bar with favorite Perpsectives and tasks theselves)
- I am not really used to Forecast view, but I find a little bit confusing when selecting multiple days to have Calendar timeline for each day - can’t really see all the tasks (I might not be getting the concept of forecast fully though)
In general I really like it! Great job;)
So, overall I love the new version! The design feels fresh, up to date, the whole deal!
I LOVE Forecast view. One thing I realized over the time waiting for the second version of OmniFocus is that it is crucial for me to see this information to actually feel on top of everything.
Second, I actually feel a little differently about the project list, while currently I don’t have a ton of projects and folders, due to some cleaning up of my system I did recently, I just tryed setting up a folder structure that I used to have in v1 which I got rid of because it felt clunky and didn’t really give me the high level view of all my projects that I wanted. In v2 I love the way the projects and folders look. It feels much more minimalistic and cleaner and I feel like I can actually just glance at it and see what I have on my plate. I will update this post or reply in this blog later as I put more projects in OF, but for now, I couldn’t be happier.
Overall, there are some great improvements to V2 over the other Alpha. A crucial problem makes it unusable, however.
The lack of ability to turn off viewing the note and contexts line is a deal killer. The data density is just too poor to make a list of tasks for glancing at to see what is next. I will have to go back to OF1 or switch completely if this is not fixed. This was a major complaint from most people about the first alpha, and it was not addressed.
Great progress on many fronts, but in the process have lost the most important thing, which is the ability to view a list of available tasks without it taking up my entire screen on the desktop.
OF2 looks like a big improvement overall, so I have stopped using OF1.
The user interface is greatly improved: the typeface, colour, clearer graphics, the positioning of the inspector and the left-hand button bar. The attractive, clean appearance reduces distraction and makes the application a pleasure to use. Forecast, Quick Open and Review are excellent new features.
The only thing that really bothers me is the wasted vertical space between the tasks in the central display area. By contrast, the list of projects or contexts immediately to the left seems fine.
I’m not sure if this what you mean, but if you’d like to remove the calendar events from Forecast, that’s possible. While viewing Forecast, click the Eye button in the toolbar. In the popover that appears, you can choose to show or hide calendar events, and even pick which calendars should appear.
Hope that helps. If not, I’d love to hear more about how you’d like Forecast to work.
I like the OF 2 better than the old version. And the more I use it the more I like it. Great job! Thanks for letting me beta-test it.
The Forecast view is awesome. And I really appreciate the file sync with the iPhone version. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.
I used OF 1 from the first public beta until early 2011. Then I switched to different apps, but I always came back to OF after a few month.
In OF 2 for Mac I only wish I could tweak the UI a bit. I’d like to see more contrast and color in some areas and a different font for the tasks.
In OF 1 there were themes. Great feature. Are you guys planning to make OF 2 theme-able, too?
I, too, have started using OF2 exclusively.
You guys have removed a lot of friction from the UX — at least insofar as the things I’m doing with it, multiple times a day. Clear win (though I’m admittedly < 48h in).
Will report back if anything else strikes me, but congratulations on a great effort.
A few days have passed since I’ve been using OF2 exclusively. While I am not planing on going back or anything, some of the little things are becoming increasingly difficult. All have been said numerous times here but I want to add my support:
- Contrast. I found it very helpful being able to change the background colour or styling of folders/groups/projects/contexts. Made it much more comfortable when viewing a long list. Actually this is something needed in the iPhone version as well. When I am viewing a perspective with many tasks grouped by project I find the project name is rather washed out and not as prominent as it should be.
- Density. The second line (below each task) should be easily shown/hidden). I appreciate the clarity that removal of columns has provided but i need to be able to view tasks as single lines with much greater density when performing reviews so things can be easily evaluated and rearranged.
- Themes. I am not sure how possible this is going to be. There is something to be said for committing to a design but I am definitely in favour of themes. Sometimes I feel like a serif, sometimes I can’t stand the sight. Sometime I just need things to feel fresh again…
@kcase - I like v2 much better. Reasons:
- Forecast view
- More intuitive Perspectives creation/editing/management
- More pleasing aesthetically
- I prefer the new Inspector
- Some nice new touches, such as Quick Open and Focus buttons
No crashes so far.
Things I’d like to see:
- Greater data density (or options for same)
- Return of the Clip-o-tron
I don’t intend to go back to v1 at all
I have been a long time user of OmniFocus and I hope the following is viewed as an opprotunity in addressing concerns I am having using OF2. I am confident Omni Group will appropriately consider my comments. I am happy with much of OF2 and would rather focus on areas I find to be a difficulty for me and my workflow. To this end my response is — in its current state OF2 appears it will not fully work as a key component of my GTD system. Simply there is too much friction in dealing with my data.
Current items causing friction:
- Inbox has no way to drag items to create projects without having multiple windows open. Inbox feels like a disassociated island. (OF1 can see projects from the Inbox and drag tasks from the Inbox to create new projects from a single window.)
- Checkbox location is too distant from the text of a task on large screens; this is especially important as checkboxes are now used to present additional information. The checkbox has been designed in OF2 to communicate the task’s status by colored rings. Either put the checkbox near the data it is associated to or have the text change color with the checkbox to limit horizontal scanning to view this information. (In OF1 flagged state is on the right, but task status is indicated by changing the text color of the task itself.)
- Data density. Too much unnecessary space and too many placeholders to appropriately communicate hierarchy and allow scanning of larger groups of tasks. (In OF1 more of a project or a greater number of tasks can be viewed in a single screen of the same dimensions.)
- The notes icon is present if any other placeholder is present; context, defer date, due date. The slight color change and small plus/arrow difference is difficult to discern its proper indication when scanning a list. Every task in my projects have a context, but not every task has a note. As it is now I cannot easily find the one task which has a note/attachment. (The presence of a note is more apparent in OF1 when the icon is only present when a note/attachment is present.)
- Selected tasks when being moved by keyboard commands move off screen and require a separate keyboard command or scrolling with the mouse to view again — causing disruption and confusion of where the task has gone. This happens with closing grouped tasks too. Complicated further with data density issue as a few levels is all that is required to move off screen. (In OF1 selected task stays in view at all times.)
- Perspectives no longer control layout. I feel like I am constantly reseting views every time a new perspective is switched to. (OF1 allows perspective setting closer to custom layout/theme in how data is presented and maintains these separate layout views.)
- Default perspectives cannot be customized. This is more problematic because the default perspectives cannot be removed from the side tab bar and are in a prime location. I have yet to use the side tab bar, reverting to a custom toolbar, as these default perspectives are predetermined and not configurable by the same parameters as custom perspectives. Associated to the side tab bar — can we collapse the additional listing of projects/contexts in a custom perspective. As of now the side tab bar is completely collapsed and unused in my workflow. (OF1 allowed the customizing or removal of default perspectives — admittedly done in the toolbar, but this limitation makes the side tab bar almost useless for me.)
– EDIT –
Sent email with a copy of this post to Omni Group.
– EDIT –
I want to add another issue here.
- Default perspectives cannot be added to the toolbar and thus requires making duplicates of these perspectives (Inbox, Projects, Contexts, Forecast, Flagged, Review) to have toolbar versions available in accessing such views. The side bar is becoming more and more of a difficulty in how it is being implemented.
I’m currently on the waiting list for the beta version of OmniFocus 2 but have been a long term user of both the iPad & iPhone versions and back in the day used Merlin Mann’s Kinkless scripts for OmniOutliner. In my day job I’m the Head of Creative Strategy for a major London digital design agency and thought I’d add a few comments ref the interface changes in particular with regard to the changes in data density and the new check circle/action status/flag widget (they seem to be the major area of debate here on the beta forum).
There have been many screens posted both here on the forum and on a selection of productivity blogs and from what I’ve seen so far I think the new design is not just great from an aesthetic perspective but as an overarching design strategy it appears to be delivering on the prime goal of reducing complexity without taking away from OmniFocus’s rich feature set. This is no minor feat and I salute Omni Groups UX designers for delivering on these simplification goals so elegantly.
To my mind the main group of people that got the most out of OmniFocus 1 were there who migrated from the Kinkless scripts. Personally I was disappointed with OF 1 from design perspective as it was very similar to working with a complex OmniOutliner document and didn’t bring any new design solutions with regard to task management. Many of the people I tried to introduce to OmniFocus found it horribly complex and unapproachable with far too much of a learning curve for a task management app. However when I showed a lot of the same people OmniFocus 2 on the iPhone they instantly ‘got it’. All of the underlying power is still there but it’s now so intuitive to use it manages to reveal its power in a natural manner as the user gains daily experience with the app. Having not actually used the OS X version of OF 2 yet I can’t categorically say that it will have that same natural unforced learning curve but the design cues I’ve seen in the screen grabs make me very confident that it should deliver in much the same way.
I personally love the clarity of the information design on the screens I’ve seen. But I would guess the UX has been designed for a very different interaction model to that of OF 1. By removing all of the columns I would say that most users will gain more from their experience if they make greater use of the ‘focus’ features within OF 2 rather than using the application 'spreadsheet style, with huge amounts of data on display at once.
I personally find that having the context/project/note information below the action title is far preferable to a horizontal span of columns but would agree that an option to hide that extra info should be made available via key shortcuts or suchlike. One thing I don’t like about the new design is that the differentiation of typographic elements is only provided via shades of gray on different type sizes. I would suggest the following colour coding here to aid clarity:
- Project name typography should follow the colour coding from the project sidebar (blue)
- Context name typography should follow the colour coding from the context sidebar (purple)
- The arrow indicator that shows the note field contains text could be slightly larger (the note icon itself will appear more distinctive without any changes because of the colour coding on the projects/contexts typography)
The hybrid check circle/flag/status widget works well on the right hand side especially when you combine the graphic communication with the due/start status beside it. However I’m not sure the clarity of the hybrid visual information that’s being communicated through the circle id optimal. To my mind the difference between the flag colour and the due status colour lacks contrast and will probably be lost on many people (forgetting the accessibility issues that arise from that lack of contrast too).
My final initial thought is with regard to the abundance of white space the surrounds the typographic elements. Much as I love how this aids clarity I think it may be a tad too generous. There has been an typographic trend in recent years to provide very generous line heights on typographic elements is it improves visual clarity/usability/comprehension but I think the OF 2 interface could definitely benefit from some of that white space being pared back a little.
Can’t wait to actually get my mits on the new OmniFocus 2 beta as it very much looks like it’s maturing in to the application I originally hoped for when it was first announced.
I like the new version 2. I have switched to v2, burning the bridges so to speak to be able to test it. I have jumped back and forth some for various reasons and found there are some things in version 1, mainly the ability to use colors to help decipher my actions, that are very useful. Otherwise I like many of the features of 2 so far quite a lot, particularly the forecast feature and the quick look. Visually overall I like the layout. I need some color or font changes to help me digest my “stuff.” Much to digest and get used to.
I am agnostic on the circles and positioning on the right. For me I think I am so habituated having any check boxes on the left that the switch has a bit of an odd feel. Time will tell. I am ok with circles vs squares.
For the inbox I like the count of items and have not found a way to see that. Is that me or is there no longer a count on the inbox badge?
Kudos on the development of v2 and I look forward to seeing the finished product.
I like it very much. There have been jobs I’ve left until I’m at my iPad because that was so good; I’m now leaving them until I get back to my Mac and OF2.
I’m not very keen on the font and colour for the Deferred until… and Due lines in a task: I’ve a project listing birthdays and what I need to see quickly is whether I need to start thinking about one. It doesn’t matter who the person is; I make them the task name but I don’t look at that until I see I’m at or near a date. So the fact that the date is a little less clear now is an issue for me.
But the speed and the feel of it all, I really enjoy using it.