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Redesign of Toodledo



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Proximo

Posted: Aug 03, 2009
Score: 2



OK,

Before I say anything, I want everyone to relax and take a deep breath. I am not saying that Toodledo is bad, this is simply a suggestion based on observation and using it everyday.

Here we go.

The more I use Toodledo, the more I wish the GUI was more optimized.

Screen Width

I find that I battle for what functions I want turned on or off based on how wide my screen can fit. Because everything about a task is selectable from the Row that task occupies, the interface ends up very wide.

Task/Project Sub-Window

I think it would be best to only show the title of the task and as few options as needed to sort things correctly. Instead of having all the task options in width, why not have a sub-window that opens when you click on the Task title that has all the information for the task. This will allow for a very well organized section that has everything you need. I am thinking more like a Windows shade and not some pop-up window. When you click on a task title, a slider effect takes place and a Window rolls out with all the details.

Main View

If we could separate the main view with all the important areas we would need to access. We will have a very streamlined interface.

1. Next Actions (Starred Items)
2. Active List (To do asap)
3. Scheduled (Start date or Due Dated assigned)
4. Someday/Maybe
5. Projects (A REAL Projects section that is separate from normal task list items)
6. Reference

You get the idea. Have a main Dashboard if you will and control areas by section that show you the list based on what you pick. Now the list shows the task in each area with minimal information and only shows you the details when you click on the task title to show the sub-window

This is just some ideas and suggestions. I feel the current Toodledo Interface could be much easier to use. It currently feels more like a spreadsheet than an organized application.

Because everything is showing on one Row, it requires for some functions to be hidden.
1. Delete Task
2. Add Sub-task
3. Clone Task
etc.

New users will have no idea that these hidden feature exist making Toodledo not user friendly. I think it's because everything is trying to work off a row.

When thinking about how everything is displayed in a row, I feel that I see far too much information and don't have a screen wide enough to see everything. For Pro Plus users, we even see the attachment icon on the row. This is not important when I look at a task title but it's shown along with every single thing about the task.

The Sub-window is how many others are doing it and they are easy to read and organize. This also makes it easier to scale up for future features. You are no longer restricted by width, but only your imagination.

Just a suggestion. A good reference is "Things" Very well done but I have a PC and not a Mac.

Love Toodledo.


This message was edited Aug 03, 2009.
Anders

Posted: Aug 03, 2009
Score: 0



For the "Task subwindow" part, have you tried multiline mode instead of grid? That seems to be what you are asking for.
Otherwise, some good points. I will have to read this again later when I have more time.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 03, 2009
Score: 0



Thanks for the suggestions. Like Anders said, try our multi-line layout that you can select in your account settings.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



I have tried the multi-line view and it's very similar to what I am talking about but with a cleaner look and more information on the main task.

For example. In multi-line mode you only see the title and status of the task, along with the star. No Context, No Tags.

When you do click on the down arrow to show the details, the interface is very stale. When you move your mouse over it, it highlights in a weird gray color making it hard to see. It appears to be a set of columns with the other options related to the task, but they are not laid out very well.

You don't see nice pull down options, a clear graphical look that is pleasing to the eye, productive and laid out well.

I am not a programmer and I do respect the work that goes into any application. I admire the fact that a lot of time went into the interface as we see it today.

After looking at other similar applications and how graphically pleasing they look and fun to work in. I just feel there is something missing.

I won't mention any names, but other GTD applications have a much better layout and it's intuitive enough where a new person knows how to use it and there are no hidden functions like you see in Toodledo. Their user friendly, pleasing to work in and laid out well.

Toodledo has great features that the others don't offer and this is why I use Toodledo, but the others have a better user experience.

I don't expect that this post will change anything and if it did not, Toodledo will still be a fantastic application. It's just wishful thinking that I could have it all. The best application with a great interface to boot.

I hate mentioning this because I don't want to come across as if I don't like Toodledo, because it's not true. I love it. Just thinking out loud on the interface is all.


This message was edited Aug 04, 2009.
Thomas Gödde

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



... perhaps a "feature" of my PC (with IE6)and small cable at work, but the WEB-GUI is so slowly, that i cannot make new tasks...

Meanwhile i make new tasks on my Ipod Touch (Pocket Informant) and sync at home with my wi-fi, but on my PC it would be more efficient...

Thomas (Germany)
Anders

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



Thomas, Toodledo (and many other websites) will not operate properly on IE6. That is a very old browser. I would recommend downloading Firefox, or at least updating Internet Explorer to the current version IE8. IE6 is many years old, and was not a good browser to begin with.

If for some reason you are tied to IE6, you could try the Slim, or HTML-only sites which may be faster.
http://www.toodledo.com/slim/
http://www.toodledo.com/html/
The Slim site even lets you set Add New Task as your default start page.


This message was edited Aug 04, 2009.
Thomas Gödde

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



Thanks for answering so fast. O.k. but unfortunally administrators at work (government) do not allow another browserat this time. Hope they kill IE6 soon and replace with younger version... I will try the slim sites and tell you my experience...

Thomas


This message was edited Aug 04, 2009.
Thomas Gödde

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



...Slim and HTML Sites work very fast. Thank You for helpng!

Thomas
Anders

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



Proximo, regarding your suggestions, I like many of them. I think Toodledo is aware of some of these issues, and has plans to improve. For instance, the fact that all fields that are active must be displayed for every task is obviously not optimal, but Toodledo has said that even they would like to be able to use certain fields on occasion without having them displayed all the time for all tasks. In terms of the items you would like to see on a main dashboard, you can sort of do that already. The Starred list is on the main view as is the Hotlist which seems similar to your active list idea, Due Dates can be viewed in Due Date view (you are right that there is no way of easily viewing tasks by their start date other than going to an All Tasks view and sorting by Start Date), and Someday/Maybe and Reference are both in Status view (again, you are correct that there is no easy way to see projects unless you use folders, though sort by task/subtask works well for me). So if you leave the tabs you want in each view they will be saved and you can use the view list as your "dashboard". The only problem is that Someday and Reference as well as Starred and Hotlist are in the same views, so you would sometimes have to make two clicks to get where you want. Overall, I think more customization of the available view options might be the answer since, while your list of important views would work for many I am sure, it would probably be all wrong for some others. Toodledo is about customization, and while it can be a great tool for GTD, it shouldn't force people to use that system, and many may have little reason to use the Someday, Next Action, etc. views.

I think the problem with having all the features like clone shown with each task is that it would just be to busy with icons (I should mention that delete is not hidden if you enable the trashcan), but I agree that it may be difficult for new users to figure out that they have those options. I am in favor of an "actions" dropdown of some kind that would include all those functions, and it would then be easier to work in new functions, like perhaps emailing of a task :)

Anyway, although I really like the way grid view works, I think many users would agree that increased slickness of the UI would be a great thing, and I am sure Toodledo takes all of these suggestions very seriously.


This message was edited Aug 04, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 1



@Anders,

Thank you again for your thoughts. What makes Toodledo stand out is the amount of customization you can do, but this is also why they are limited in how they set up the interface.

If you want to provide all the flexibility in the world, you may not be able to create an intuitive interface for it.

When an application has more focus, they can concentrate on the best layout for that focus. Toodledo has a problem here because they don't have a focus.

I don't mean just a GTD Focus, but any particular productivity focus they choose. Since there is no focus to any particular system, it's harder to make the interface better.

Let's take Things for example. I am a Windows user, so it's not an option for me. But anyone can visit their site and see how GREAT the interface is. Things is GTD focused, but this allows them to make the GUI very easy to use, fun to work with while providing all the elements of GTD in the right way.

With Toodledo, you simple have issues here. I agree that GTD users will want something different than non GTD users and here lies the problem with Toodledo.

How do you create something that is easy to use and laid out great for all possible users.

Here is the answer

Templates

If Toodledo used Templates, they can be everything to everyone. They would have a GTD Template, A Franklyn Covey Template, a Zen Habits Template and any other popular productivity system.

Nobody has done this. Could you imagine one service where no matter what type of Productivity System you use, the application can provide a specific template that works with that productivity system and the layout is geared toward it.

Wow. I am not a programmer and I know this would probably not be easy to do. As far as I know, this has never been done by anyone.

With the flexibility of the Web and some clever coding. I bet a service like this can be made.

OK. If I had any talent in the area of programming. I would be thinking of the possibilities in a service like this.

But let's get back to reality. I don't know what it would take and I am sure Toodledo does not have the time and resources to do it. At least at this time. I think it would be an amazing idea.

For now. I will keep on using Toodledo and hope that Projects and Sub-task are being worked on.

Vitalist has a great layout and it's very close to what I am trying to describe as well. Vitalist falls short in features vs. price which is why I moved from Vitalist to Toodledo.

I do like how Vitalist handles GTD. Very well done.
Garfield

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



If the design is something holding you back from using Toodledo to it's maximum capability, I'd highly suggest checking out my Toodlethings User Style I just created. /end self-promotion

Anyways, Toodledo is the productivity system you want it to be and that's why I find it to be a great solution for me. The design is just a tiny roadblock in the productivity you gain from it.
Tyler

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



Thank you, Proximo, for opening up this topic....

I have been meaning to post on this subject as well, but right now don't have time for the comprehensive overview that Proximo provided (which is great, btw).

I do think, however, given that ultimately the data is stored in a database and should theoretically be able to be served up in a huge number of configurations, it stands to reason that templates should be possible...

I think Proximo's idea of Templates are a fantastic one. This is exactly why, for example, WordPress is so hugely popular. I am a web designer with very limited experience in PHP (and none in js), and yet with WordPress I have been able to shape the way data is served into almost any form...

If TD offered users the ability to customize and style templates, it would take off like wildfire, and these forums would begin filling up with questions about how to design templates rather than questions on how to implement workarounds.

A great start would be in offering an easy way to call on user-created CSS files. That would be a good temporary solution towards a true templating system...
IceHeartX

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Tyler:
A great start would be in offering an easy way to call on user-created CSS files. That would be a good temporary solution towards a true templating system...


*heh* I was asking for that just the other day
coco

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 0



I think Proximo's ideas are very good. However, the functionality that would really speed things up for me would be drag and drop into multi task hierarchies. Not having it is a time killer.
IceHeartX

Posted: Aug 04, 2009
Score: 1



my god. batch setting *anything* will be a boon
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