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New tasks "disappear" because context isn't assigned Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
today, while adding tasks to a project, i realized i needed to add a new task at the *top* of the list. i already had a new, unnamed task ready for entry (at the bottom of the list), so i typed the task's name, then grabbed it and dragged it to the top of the list. the arrow i saw indicated that the item would be placed exactly where i wanted to go -- except when i released it, it disappeared.

this happened 3 times, and searches i performed for those tasks produced absolutely no results.

i was all ready to send in a bug report when it occurred to me to check the inbox -- and of course, that's where they were.

i have a few thoughts about this:

1. it's disconcerting to have a task disappear before your very eyes with no feedback about what just happened. is it gone? or did it go somewhere? because i don't really use the inbox, it didn't immediately occur to me to look there. if something is going to be moved somewhere (with the exception of occasions when actually clicking the "clean up" button), the user needs to be informed about it. leaper

one way of addressing this might be a dialog window: "because the task you've just created has not been assigned a context, moving it will cause it to move to the inbox, and it will not be visible in the current window. would you like to assign a context before moving it?"

another way might be a preference to allow tasks without contexts to simply remain in the project view. i realize that's not "pure GTD," but we've established that not everyone is implementing pure GTD, and in fact omni has stated that it's creating OF for to GTD-ers and non-GTD-ers alike.

frankly, even if i do decide to go with "pure GTD," i still dislike the "disappearing tasks." i find them confusing and unfriendly. instead of getting things done, i just spent several minutes wondering what had happened to my tasks. during that time, i Got Nothing Done. :-) and as it turns out, there were *6* tasks in the inbox -- not just the 3 that had disappeared before my eyes. i don't even *use* the inbox -- yet there were 6 tasks there. if i hadn't been looking for today's 3, i never would have discovered the other 3. how scary....

i understand that a task without a context doesn't technically belong in the project view. with that in mind, i think the user should be given -- at he very least -- a warning about the unassigned context. there's also a compelling argument for "that's where the user typed it, so that's where it should stay." devil's advocate and all.... another option might be a different color -- as a temporary measure to inform/remind the user that a key element is missing.

imagine the confusion this will cause when newbies download and try out this wonderful app.

2. i also think that the search feature should default to searching everywhere.

one aspect of OF that scares me to death is the notion that all of the various filters and views could be obscuring something that i really need to see -- simply because (a) i had forgotten to enter a context, or (b) i didn't configure them properly (i.e., i was viewing "available" instead of "all"), or (c) although i was searching in the spotlight-like field, there were several items that weren't showing up -- because they were in the inbox instead of the project window.

i'm not ashamed to say that all of these conditions scare the crap out of me -- because, darn it, i'm just never quite sure if i'm seeing everything.

if the search field were "global," that would provide one measure of comfort. i realize that OF is still alpha and that features will be added and refined. so perhaps the search field can eventually work the way it does in itunes: the default is to "search all," but the user can also restrict searches to "artist," "album," and so forth. another nice touch in itunes is the fact that upon changing the search to the "artist" field, for example, the label below the search field changes to "search artist," and so forth, with the other searches.

well, i didn't intend for this post to be so lengthy, but quite a few thoughts came to mind while typing. i'm really enjoying the "sneaky peek," and i look forward to seeing these issues addressed (hopefully) in one way or another. :-)
 
A couple of thoughts:

* Disappearing actions suck. I've "lost" too many actions to count, because of filtering, missing contexts, whatever. Raises my blood pressure. I hear that's bad for you.

* Dialog boxes suck if they keep happening Every Single Time you do something. Especially if that "something" gets done many times a day. Or an hour. Or a minute.

* Yep, the search field should find everything by default. It's annoying to have to switch amongst different filters to find stuff I KNOW is in OF.

* If you're not using the Inbox, I daresay you're using OF wrong. OK, "wrong" as I define it. I actually dislike it when I enter an action, and a context, and a project, and it appears in that context and project. OK, not always, but sometimes.
 
I just want to add that similar feedback problems exist with undo. If you hit cmd-Z, it's often impossible to know what, if anything, was just undone.
 
Yes, I have spent countless hours searching for "missing" entries, only to find that filtering had obscured them. I tend to forget to check the "flagged" marker. Experience is paying off, but it would be nice to have some reminders about what to do, especially when your mind is on overload!!!:-(
 
agree with point #2. Search should always default to global. It would be nice to pare down search results based on project, contexts, etc., but global search that shows everything is key.
 
Agreed with all the above.

Another one that bit me while I was doing some rearranging: OF will let you delete an "empty" folder which contains projects that are hidden in the current view, without warning you that you just deleted a bunch of stuff.

I've gotten into the habit of switching to the "all" perspective when doing any sort of planning or cleanup but some speed bumps in these situations would be nice.

I've made a list of all the things I've run into and will submit feedback.
 
looks like this discussion has beeen going a lot earlier than i expected but i avidly cast my votes for both a GLOBAL SEARCH and SHOW ALL features. the first would clearly search anything and everything much like spotlight does but only in OF and the second would default back to showing everything without filtration or the like.

keep us posted on how things develop here and i can only hope that these get included in soon to come updates.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OOO View Post
Agreed with all the above.

Another one that bit me while I was doing some rearranging: OF will let you delete an "empty" folder which contains projects that are hidden in the current view, without warning you that you just deleted a bunch of stuff.

I've gotten into the habit of switching to the "all" perspective when doing any sort of planning or cleanup but some speed bumps in these situations would be nice.

I've made a list of all the things I've run into and will submit feedback.
now this one is very important. i second this request ardently.
 
this thread has a lot of useful OF design pointers but mostly focused on ostensibly losing data that is entered in various ways. much good input that i hope will be addressed. will be closely watching here.
 
pendolino, this thread is pretty old and some of these posts no longer apply. For example, OF *does* warn you when deleting an "empty" folder which contains projects that are hidden in the current view.

There's also a built-in perspective to show everything. Take a look at Perspectives -> All Items.

But I agree that an option to search all or only the current filtered results would be a nice addition, especially if it was built around the toolbar search field: perhaps a pulldown arrow in the search field like iTunes has that has various scope options or even an extra bar that appears at the top of the content area like Apple Mail does when a search is active. I believe the Omni Group has stated that something along these lines is planned for a future release.
 
 


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