UI suggestion for parallel/sequential actions

I will send this feature request by e-mail as well, but I wanted to post it here to see what others thought.

Although I like most of the directions that the UI changes are going in OF2, I don’t like the changes for displaying and controlling whether a project or action group is parallel/sequential.

In OF1, there was a subtle icon for both projects and action groups that both showed whether it was sequential or parallel and also could be clicked to toggle between the two. I found this very useful, and would often switch back and forth as I was restructuring multi-step projects/groups depending on the nature of the specific tasks involved.

In OF2, the sequential/parallel nature of projects is given tremendous emphasis, getting a large icon to the left of the project title. That icon is not actionable, however – changing the project’s setting can only be done through the inspector. In contrast, action groups now don’t have any indication of whether they are parallel or sequential – that information can only be seen in the inspector.

I think these changes are for the worse. For one, although the parallel/sequential nature of an project is important to see how actions will be made available, they are not so important that they need a giant icon to the left of the project name. For me, a project is not fundamentally parallel or sequential – that is just a setting that we apply to model how the remaining tasks should interact with one another. A project may start parallel, but then it may end up that all of the remaining tasks could be performed in any order, in which case I will switch it to be sequential. This is a useful control setting, but not a fundamental attribute by which we need to identify projects.

At the same time, I find it very useful in OF 1 to have some place in the main outline view to see whether a project or action group is parallel or sequential and to be able to toggle between the two. In OF2, you can certainly see it for projects, but you can’t change it. And for action groups, the user is completely in the dark unless he or she has the inspector open.

I would recommend getting rid of the large, black parallel/sequential icon to the left of the project title (and either having no icon, just text, or having a black/white version of OF1’s project icon), and replacing it with a smaller, subtler, actionable icon to the right of the name that lets the user see and control whether it is parallel or sequential. Then I would also recommend using that same smaller, subtler icon for action groups.


Yes, I agree with twangus observations. However, I think it would be fine to keep the new larger project icons for parallel and sequential. What I truly care about is just one simple change: Show the status (parallel/sequential) of action groups in the main view.

The current solution in OF2 is a big step backwards from OF1, because to understand the basic structure of a multi step project, you need to always move your eyes back and forth between the far right and far left of the window. The rule should be: I need to understand what is going on without looking at the inspector (e.g. due date, context). If I need to make changes, then I can use to the inspector.

Looking at this from a "balance of information’ point of view: How can the difference between a parallel and a sequential project be deemed so important that it merits a large new icon, while at the same time that same difference for an action group is considered so unimportant, that the information is hidden away in the inspector? Something here seems not quite balanced yet.

Hope that was helpful. Thanks.


I just came across the same problem. I expected to see the parallel/sequential status of an action group in the main view but found I had to look at the inspector. This is something that OF1 has that OF2 currently does not.

I like the new icons, I just want them to be clickable to toggle. I note that you can right click and change the project type, but the OF1 single left click to toggle is still superior, in my opinion.

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