Legend

Forum

Unread topics or posts

Topic

Unread posts

Locked

Announcement

Forums > Questions

Discreet at-a-glance visualization



AuthorMessage
Folke X

Posted: Jul 24, 2011
Score: 0



One of the really strong features of TD is the grid format. It reduces the amount of work for the eyes and brain to locate the various kinds of information. Please never ever take away the grid format - and please never even consider reducing the number of columns it can contain (on the contrary, you could easily increase the number of columns almost infinitely as long as you retain the ablility for the user to enable/disble individual columns, like today).

Advantages of the grid format:
It is good to be able to have all the information on the screen, just like today, without having to click on a task to see the details. It is good to have everything in "clean" columns in fixed positions, just like today, and to have a uniform typeface for all items. For example, in other systems, the most common way to display tags is in a smaller typeface immediately before or after the task name, which means either the task name or the tags start in different horizontal positions for each task, making them less easy to locate and read.

So, please keep TD as it is when it comes to the grid format as such.

However, as always when there is much information on the screen, it is valuable to be able to immediately notice certain important things in your data at a glance, in the corner of your eye, without really needing to read the text. The suggestions I have here are intended to help the user in this regard by being able to use certain kinds of graphical markers rather than text in some circumstances.

A word of caution, though. In some systems, unfortunately, the developers have to chosen to change the look of the entire task based on the value of some particular field. For example, in Todoist, the whole text of the task is colored according to the priority of the task. In Gqueues, the whole background of the task is colored according to the folder color. In TD, the typeface of the whole task is bolded for the higher priorities. All such devices, which affect the look of the whole task based on some particular task characteristic, is generally counterproductive. It renders a messy look, and it puts too much emphasis on just one litte aspect of the task, totally regardless of whether or not this aspect is even important this particular time or not.

The solution, I believe, is to use very discreet graphical markers (rather than text) for certain important things. Here are some good ideas, I think, that I have borrowed from Remember the Milk (RTM) and Pocket Informant (PI), that I think could be implemented in TD to everyone's advantage:

Priorities:
Both RTM and PI use a small colored marker to represent the Priority of the task. In RTM it is a narrow vertical colored bar. In PI it is a roundish colored "blob". The default colors in PI are red, orange, green, blue and black, where red corresponds to Top priority anf black corresponds to -1. With such colored markers it is so much easier to see, in the corner of your eye, where in the list a particular priority ends (if the list is Priority sorted) or to find stray tasks with high priority (if the the list is sorted some other order) since you do not have to actually read the textual description of the priority (3 Top, 2 High etc). At the same time, these colored markers are discreet enough not to be a disturbance whenever you are not interested in the priority aspect of the tasks.

Tags:
In PI you can assign icons to tags, such that the icon appears in the list. There is a whole library of icons to choose from - everything from smileys and "funny pictures" (of clowns and feet etc) to more abstract symbols such as triangles and circles of different colors. By using and choosing such icons wisely (and a bit sparingly) for the various tags he has defined, the user can make sure that he can easily distinguish between the icons and remember what they stand for, and he can forever after very easily locate any tasks that stand out from the rest in significant ways.

Other fields than Tags and Priority:
In principle, the icon approach could be used for most of the other fields as well, such as Goal, Context and Location. The TD system as such would not need to have any particular limitation on this usage of icons. It could be left entirely up to the user to use icons to the extent that he or she finds useful, and to keep the default text-based display for those "field values" that are less frequent or less significant.

Tag positioning:
The beauty of tags is that the user can do virtually anything with them. The downside is, because the tags are displayed as a sequence, that a given tag does not always appear in the same (horizontal) position for all tasks, making it a little bit harder to see quickly whether some tasks have a particular tag or not. I would be nice to be able to put the tags in fixed positions. Unfortunately, I do not have any really super-simple ideas for this, but I would like to ask you to keep it in mind, in case you can think of a good solution one day. One solution, obviously, would be to have a bunch of spare ordinary fields, whose columns the user could choose to activate if he or she wishes. These additional fields could have names such as Importance, Urgency, Workload, Impact or whatever, ad there could be any number of them. Some of them could take on numerical values from say 0-100. Others could take on user-defined text values (in the same way Context works). By having such spare fields available in the system, the user could choose to use these instead of tags for certain critical aspects that he or she would like to be able to see clearly in a fixed column at a glance.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Jul 24, 2011
Score: 0



Thanks for the suggestions. We can't comment on a timeframe for implementation, but these are on our to-do list.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 02, 2011
Score: 0



Just a little thing more - a thing so simple it could be implemented anytime, almost in no time, and with no adverse effects that I can see:

In the grid format, it would be much easier to locate tasks that that stand out in some way if the "field empty" texts (such as "no Context", "no tag" etc") were completely invisible (or at least much further subdued using a much, much, much lighter shade of gray).

For example I use (some would probably say "misuse") the Context field in such a way that for most tasks it is empty, which means "my default context", which I know exactly what it is. Only occasionaly do I put one of my three other contexts - and I have deliberately chosen names of very different length for these three. This means in principle I can interpret the context at a glance, without really reading it. The main obstacle is the text "no Context" which reduces the visual contrast between those tasks that have the default context and those that do not.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 02, 2011
Score: 0



If we don't print "no context" or something in that spot, then there would be nothing to click to add a context to that task.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 02, 2011
Score: 0



Aaah, I see. I didn't think of that.

Hmm. Then maybe the text could be printed as it is but in white color, totally invisible against the white background, but still clickable - this would be very nice and clean.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 03, 2011
Score: 0



People need to see what they are clicking. We already dim the font to make it more subtle. If you really want it hidden you could make a custom stylesheet with this rule

.dim{color:white;}

I haven't tested this, and I can't help you make the custom stylesheet, but Google should be able to assist you.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 03, 2011
Score: 0



OK, I made a note of that in the Someday section ... ;)

(I'm a bit scared of all kinds of plugins and other home-made stuff, and I'm not a computer wiz, so we'll see ..., but thanks anyway. Maybe I will be able to use it :)

I hope I am not creating any hard feelings with my suggestions. I think Toodledo is great. It is the best task system I have ever found, and I have tried many. That is the simple reason why I am using it.

With my suggestions I am only trying to make it even better - for myself, of course, but hopefully also for many others, in order for the system to be able to continue to exist and thrive. But it is not easy to know what all other users - existing and potential ones - would consider to be an improvement. It could be that I am just an odd minority, I do not know for sure...

As regards the issue with white texts I can only say that for me, personally, it would be pretty obvious that I can click on any "cell" in the table; and even more obvious when the cursor takes the familiar shape of a hand (which it does automatically whenever it hovers over a link). To make it even more obvious that the invisible link is clickable it would be possible to actually let the "no date" text show against the background when the cursor hovers over the line (a feature already implemented - that is another nice touch, by the way).

But I will drop this issue now. I noted with great pleasure that you said in response to my first post that visualization details are on your list. Let us leave it at that for now.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 04, 2011
Score: 0



Just want to thank you again for pointing me in the right direction, and also to let you know that I finally actually did it! And it worked!

I braced myself (this is not my own backyard) and googled for "firefox styelysheet", and found out how to do it. Actually it was easy. I downloaded this Stylish thing that I also have heard mention of here in the forum, and with that I did a Write New Style, and just put that one single line into it that you specified. The instruction said to add !important after it, so now it looks like:

.dim{color:white !important}

Wonderful! Now I can see much faster if any of the tasks on the page have any "deviations". Great for me! Saves a little bit of time each time. A great tool became even better. Thanks again for sharing this piece of knowledge with me.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 04, 2011
Score: 0



Upon reflection, I realized that this rule will also hide some dimmed text in other areas of Toodledo. You might change the rule to the following more specific rule.

.dett .dim{color:white !important}
Folke X

Posted: Aug 04, 2011
Score: 0



Thanks for telling. I have now implemented the adjustment. I certainly would not want to miss any other text :)

I am really happy with my new clean display. Thanks again for the advice!

(Have you tried it yourself? Take a look! It is perfect!)
Folke X

Posted: Aug 19, 2011
Score: 0



Firefox has been upgraded to v6, and is no longer compatible with Stylish - for a brief time only, I assume.

Anyway, now that I see all the gray texts with "no date", "no context" etc I realize again how good the "white-out fix" really was.

Maybe lots of other users would like it, too? Would you consider putting a check-box in Settings for this?
You cannot reply yet


To participate in these forums, you must be signed in.



Toodledo Forums > Questions

Contact Us | Blog | API | Jobs | Press | Documentation | Forums Privacy | Terms | Copyright © 2004-2014