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Why OmniFocus v1 didn't support multiple contexts per action Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Haddad View Post
Different people process information in different ways, and a lot of people are going to find multiple contexts useful. Everything else is largely noise.
I guess this is the quandary Omni find themselves in:

To be all things to all <gender neutral pronouns/> or concentrate on a subset of users that are happy enough with "classic" GTD or don't even use contexts.

The product is already pretty complex (but not unnecessarily so IMO) and adding more features would only make it more intimidating to new users and harder to support/sync on iOS. Multi-contexts (or tagging) significantly affects the UI, workflow and scripting, it would break a lot of stuff.

If they did something radical like abandoning contexts and going with tagging that would just upset all the existing core users who like things as they are.

I've road tested "Things" (which has hierarchical tags, v similar to multiple contexts) and while I liked that feature, OF did everything else (that I needed) better.

With Things 3.0 about to drop it's possible that there will be a home for both camps. With two task managers of similar quality levels but competing on approach/metaphor (tags v contexts) time will tell where the new customers go.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Haddad View Post
1. Would giving people multiple contexts be useful to a lot of users (regardless of whether some people think they've found sacred productivity truth and know that single contexts are best).

2. Could it be implemented without making the software more complicated for users that don't need multiple contexts.

IMO the answer to both questions is yes.
But I think there's a third question:

3. Would the increased value outweigh the increased value that could be achieved by using the same programming resources to produce other features?

For me, the answer's no.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
But I think there's a third question:

3. Would the increased value outweigh the increased value that could be achieved by using the same programming resources to produce other features?

For me, the answer's no.
In other words, your metric for answering # 3 isn't based on any objective criteria, but whether you think it should be. My point # 1 beats your point # 3 :p.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Haddad View Post
In other words, your metric for answering # 3 isn't based on any objective criteria, but whether you think it should be. My point # 1 beats your point # 3 :p.
Your objective criteria is made up of the opinions of people. My opinion is an opinion of a person. :) The fact that my opinion is the reverse of their opinion doesn't negate it.

Unless we grab Omni's feature backlog list, estimate the cost for each one, and take a massive poll of who wants what and therefore some sort of gauge of cost-against-improving-user-experience-and-utility-based-on-user-opinions, there's really no telling.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
But I think there's a third question:

3. Would the increased value outweigh the increased value that could be achieved by using the same programming resources to produce other features?

For me, the answer's no.
This is a time-based analysis.

4. How soon will the market produce something that gives users an equivalent option to OF but with multiple tags?

I suspect ... sooner rather than later or certainly sooner rather than never.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Haddad View Post
I found this thread by doing a search. OF is exceptionally useful to me. It would be even more useful to me if it supported multiple contexts.

The first couple of posts by the fellow at OF reflect two typical thinking errors, thinking that because something works for you it should work for others, and placing too much emphasis on thinking there is a "right" process. It's hilarious reading his analysis of why he doesn't think people need multiple contexts and how he will "help users resolve problems applying a single-context approach".

Different people process information in different ways, and a lot of people are going to find multiple contexts useful. Everything else is largely noise.

the main questions should be:

1. Would giving people multiple contexts be useful to a lot of users (regardless of whether some people think they've found sacred productivity truth and know that single contexts are best).

2. Could it be implemented without making the software more complicated for users that don't need multiple contexts.

IMO the answer to both questions is yes.
Apologies David for chopping your comments.

I agree with some things

1) There certainly isn't a right way.

2) Yes people work in different ways. The way my mind works, multiple contexts is nothing but a win scenario, however others are different. GTD and Omni's implementations of contexts feel very restrictive to me.

3) You got the main question wrong though, it is:
What vision do Omni have for OF as a product?

In the end, that's all that matters. It's Omni's product to do with as they wish. Omni are a well run company which provides premium quality software products at fair prices. If Omni choose to stay with a pure GTD product then Multiple contexts are not included. That's their call and as customers it's our call as to whether Omnifocus is the best product available to help us.

At the moment, none of the other competitors have shown me anything which meets my needs more than OF, including Forecasting, Review (Key piece here) and contexts / projects.

Any other system has left me unclear as to whether I'm meeting all of my committments so I keep coming back.

But Multiple contexts would cement me into OF 2 on Mac, Ipad and iPhone without a second's hesitation. At this moment I'm still not sure whether I will step aboard version 2 or not.
 
I'll only respond to the part I disagree with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffAirey View Post
3) You got the main question wrong though, it is: What vision do Omni have for OF as a product?

In the end, that's all that matters. It's Omni's product to do with as they wish.
"It's their product and they can do is they wish" is a catch-all response when you don't have an actual argument to make :p, it can be used as an "out" in nearly every business discussion on the face of the earth. They can fill the product with motivational biblical passages if they want :).

I suggested some of the questions that software companies often use to produce meaningful metrics on whether to fulfill a feature request, in fact it could even answer whether it fits with their vision, depending on that vision. That assumes the vision is flexible. If the vision is "even if adding it would not increase complexity, and even if it would make a lot of users happy, we know what's best for users and won't be adding it", then never mind.

I think I might find the "vision" discussion more interesting if we were talking about serious issues, for instance balancing user privacy versus convenience is a serious issue with some software development. But when we are talking about whether a user should be allowed to define multiple contexts for an action item, and someone is writing about it like it's an important philosophical discussion that could compromise the product, and/or has an important effect on how productive people are, I find it pretty funny.
 
And just to clarify, if they are looking at this and saying "it will take 3000 hours of code writing to re-write our application for this, and we don't believe the payoff is worth that investment", that's completely legit, as would be a number of other reasons.

My point was very targeted - what I find hilarious is the fact that development on this issue, going by the first couple of thread posts, is (apparently) being driven by a belief that appears to border on religious that multiple contexts are bad and that they'd be violating some principle by giving them to users, it's missing the forest for the trees. Sure, that's their "right", but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

It's akin to having a lot of users ask to have the option of highlighting high priority items in red, and telling those users:

Quote:
In our experience, when an action looks like it requires red, it almost always means that you aren't using due dates or setting next actions properly, blah blah blah
Anyhow, I'm embarrassed that I've wasted more time writing on this at this point than it deserves, goes to that whole "winning an argument on the Internet" thing :D.. The only reason I commented was I'd like to be able to apply two contexts to my items. But I can see that is unlikely to happen since Omnifocus does not think that would be good for me! Thank God they are protecting us multiple contexters from ourselves.
 
Brian,

While your reply makes sense Tagging is not always used as you mentioned, I actually created a script to help me look for things and identify things fast that has Tagging.

Example: I am on a security team for a Linux distribution which means a LOT of bugs, that go in to OmniFocus. All bugs have a stage which is what I use for context (example: stabilize, cleanup... etc). The problem is that each item also has a priority to them that describes how FAST it must go stable based on severity. There is no way for me to have a project with the Bug #, plus a severity identifier, and have the ability to search for that as an identifier. So TAGS (which is what I use the script for) is very important as when I need to do a search for something, just context alone will not help.
 
Isn't this all rather a moot point? Over the years I've followed many of the threads of people asking for tags or multiple contexts. I would suggest at least 50% of your users would like this. So why not give it to them? You can make an option one can turn off if one doesn't like it. What I object to here is the omni believes that it knows better than I do on how I should manage my tasks. This really comes across as arrogance. There are many different productivity philosophies, from GTD, ZenGTD, Covey etc. Each fits into the uniqueness of different people. I fail to understand Omni's approach of telling folks that Omni knows best? Apart from a basic GTD philosophy these other methodolgies don't work with omni. Good luck at trying to implement Covey's matrix. Yes, I've seen people post suggestions, but these work-arounds are cumbersome and demonstrate omni's infelxibility.

Over the years my productivity methodology has changed considerably and sadly, omni has not kept up with the times and still attempts to shoehorn people into its GTD method. This may be useful for folks whose methodology is identical to omni's but allows no leeway for folks who do things differently.

No doubt folks will say, you're free to use something else, but considering the quite considerable expense I've invested it's a shame that omni is so rigid that it won't even listen to half its users who want this option. I had thought that good developers listen to their customers, but that certainly doesn't seem to be happening here.
 
 


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