Originally Posted by Ken Case
Sorry, we didn't think it would be a controversial change. We noticed that the iPhone had a completely different context list ordering from the iPad, and we thought we should make them consistent. (Nobody had complained about either order as far as I know, so we thought nobody had a strong preference between the two.)
Fair enough... At least I understand the logic behind it, even if I don't necessarily agree with it (I was just afraid that I'd missed some tenet of GTD workflow somewhere along the way :) ).
In all honesty, I've never really used the context view much on the iPad, probably because it's always been more of a planning
tool for me than a doing
tool -- if I'm on the go, my iPhone is the go-to device for accessing my contexts, and if I'm at my desk, I'm using the Mac version. As a result, I don't think I even realized that this was the way the iPad sorted contexts until you pointed it out. :)
Now that I see it there, I'm not sure I like it that way on the iPad either, but I also don't necessarily care as I don't really use it. However, it's also worth noting that the iPad does have one small advantage over the iPhone version in the ability to use perspectives with collapsible contexts. It's still not as useful as the ability to drill down through multiple levels from the built-in Context view, but at least it's a bit easier to focus on a specific context within a perspective than it would be on the iPhone.
We decided to keep the iPad behavior of sorting items by project when in context lists because we already had the Forecast and Flagged lists for when those are your interest.
The problem is that both the forecast and flagged lists are general views of everything
, which may include tasks due in contexts that are otherwise unavailable. If I'm in a situation where I'm only able to focus on a single context, the additional "noise" of things I can't
do right now gets in the way.
Don't get me wrong -- the Forecast is a fantastic feature, and I use it several times a day as an overview, but it doesn't help me focus
the way that the context views do. Perhaps part of the issue is the lack of a "focus" feature on the iPhone and iPad versions, but at the same time I feel that trying to manage that would add an additional layer of complexity due to the different user interface.
I think this is especially important when you have multiple actions from the same project; their order may be important and unless you request it, we should not be reordering them on you.
I do see some validity to that point, and I had sort of assumed this was part of the logic. However, in many cases dependent items are going to be hidden anyway in sequential projects and I'd argue that a due or flagged item, even if it's further down in a parallel project should still be sorted with a higher priority. Perhaps that may leave some users scratching their heads to the sequencing, but I don't think it's too difficult to understand that a due or flagged task gets a higher priority, even if it's further down in the project.
The biggest risk, I suppose, is that dated
tasks still sort to the top regardless of whether they're "due" or not, so a task in a project that has a due date of several weeks away still seems to be moved higher up the list than the three or four tasks before it that may be undated. I can
see how this would be a problem, to be fair, although I still personally prefer the old behaviour even in this case as such a task should be hidden until the dependent tasks have been completed anyway.
It's also worth noting that I use a number of single-item lists, in which case the sort order is completely irrelevant compared to the flagged and due status -- new items get dropped at the bottom of the list and I rarely bother sorting them otherwise as (until now) it's never mattered :)
Anyway, I suppose a configuration option is always the best way to go about it, and it would probably make sense to simply drop it on the existing view options menu that is available in each context. This would also have the advantage of allowing it to be easily toggled on-the-fly for those who may want to view their contexts in a project-oriented order.