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Change ONE Thing & Everyone Will Be Happy Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Or at least happier...

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this application because, while I have some expertise in software design and human factors, I have recently realized I have little ability to prioritize or focus.

That is a fairly common trait among OmniFocus users, it seems to me. However, I am looking at the interface without being burdened by any preconceived notions of how it should look, because I have never used OmniFocus for the Mac or iPhone. I am also a recent convert from the PC to the Mac, so I am not constrained by any knowledge of how Mac applications are "supposed" to look.

However I am very "sensitive" to color. As soon as I looked at the screens, I knew something was wrong, but couldn't figure out what. I tried to visualize the screens without the annoying blue notes, but still couldn't figure out what was wrong. I read many of your comments: too much wasted space, buttons too big, please don't make the fonts smaller, etc. Then I looked at the ratings on the Apps Store and was impressed by how intensely OmniFocus users support the company. Why? Because OmniGroup makes great products and obviously listens to its customers.

Finally I decided to pause for a moment and assemble some furniture from IKEA (thank you Swedish contingent of OmniFocus users). This diversion allowed thoughts about the UI to float around in my mind. Finally I realised the problem, for me at least.

It was the harshness of the black backgound color (or unused space on the screen). Certain colors are very comforting to the eye. For example, 18% gray is recognized by photographers. I am not sure what the best colors for the screen elements would be, but someone with knowledge of gray scale should be able to figure this out. Perhaps gray for the background (and buttons) and silver for the other areas.

Black is a stunning color. That is why black cars are so powerful and why women wear little black dresses (am i right, Miss Karen?) So black draws attention and focus. Why are we focusing on the background of the application, instead of the tasks and projects we are supposed to be working on?

I think de-emphasizing the background would make the application more pleasing to everyone. Those who are bothered by all the "wasted space" might not notice it as much. Those who want the buttons and fonts to stay large are right, at least for now. The information we are trying to focus simply can't compete with the harsh black background.

Can the background black be controlled by the user? If so, maybe some of you can try adjusting it to see if I am right. If not, OmniGroup should control this by filling the entire screen. This could be done without changing the sizes of the windows with data, but simply filling the rest of the area with a much lighter shade of gray.

Thanks for reading my lengthy suggestion. I will happily pay $40 for this application soon, but look forward to some changes to colors that will guide our eyes where they need to be...on our tasks and projects.

Thanks OmniGroup for the great product! I'm also grateful for the fantastic user community that helps each other with how to get maximum utility from OmniFocus.

John
 
Agree. In this case it's too harsh.
 
I agree to an extent with the OP. I don't like the black background and the fact that data is presented to the user in overly-large coloured blocks. I still think it makes my iPad look like a Fisher-Price toy. The size of fonts and sheer amount of wasted space shocks me.

The iPad screen real-estate is a limited/finite space in which you need to maximise its use. Every pixel is just as precious as the iPhones. I don't think the overall aesthetics of this UI do the underlying software any justice. OmniFocus is a professional application, mostly used by professional people as a means of optimising their productivity, career, monetary and life goals.

This UI does not portray that functionality at all. It really needs to be changed to more professional looking design. The screen real-estate needs to be re-thought. Until this happens, I'll continue to use it, but every time I launch it on my iPad and see that UI pop up, I can't help but chuckle to myself :confused:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceWind View Post
I agree to an extent with the OP. I don't like the black background and the fact that data is presented to the user in overly-large coloured blocks. I still think it makes my iPad look like a Fisher-Price toy. The size of fonts and sheer amount of wasted space shocks me.
Interesting isn't it how several people have made exactly that same observation.. Must say something eh?

I had much the same comment came from one of my (totally non-techy) friends who looked over my shoulder last night at the gym and asked why everything was so big. It was the first time he'd seen an iPad and he said that made it look like it was designed for kids. I couldn't disagree with him.

I'm loving some of the new features in the iPad version, especially the forecast and review stuff, but just finding the interface a bit of an insult to my intelligence. I'm really not *that* clumsy that I need half a mile around all the buttons..
 
I've just been using the Review mode and the size and placement of the buttons were exactly right for checking tasks off using my thumb. Also the space at the side enabled me to scroll with my RH thumb without inadvertently hitting any project lists. The UI seems to be very well suited to using it in a very mobile situation, standing up or where one would naturally hold iPad with two hands with just thumbs available to scroll, select and mark tasks as completed.

The depth of colour of the background appears to be determined by the necessity to differentiate the collective borders for projects and folders. Perhaps when this was being worked on it was found that a lighter background did not work as well as they hoped.

The way to address many of these UI issues is to have user controlled settings which is what many apps allow - font, size, colours used, especially as we have so many differing needs which can change depending on the circumstances on how the app is being used at a specific time.

Sandi (typing this on the iPad landscape keyboard, which seems huge compared with the rest of the screen)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiK View Post
I'm really not *that* clumsy that I need half a mile around all the buttons..
Good feedback doesn't need hyperbole! Aren't you the guy who thought it would be funny to tell everyone OF iPad was available the day it was submitted to apple?

It's one thing to make constructive criticism, it's another thing to go over the top and insult the competency of the people who developed the application.
 
Rather than asking OmniFocus to change many things at the same time, can we get a consensus on whether the black background is a problem?

I agree with others that it would be nice to utilize all the iPad real estate. I also would like to have everyone to have the ability to scale fonts depending on their own preference and visual abilities. However, these changes may take longer for OmniGroup to make then just filling the background with a light shade of gray. I also think getting rid of the harsh black may make the app more appealing as we wait for other changes to address our other concerns.

Changes to one thing can also impact others, sometimes with unexpected consequences. Here are my admittedly newbie thoughts on how to proceed.

1. Can the background color be changed by a mere user? I doubt the black frame around the jpg in the screen gallery could be altered in way, but perhaps.

2. Someone with more ability than I have might be able to post a mock-up with the new colors.

3. A person held in high esteem by the entire OmniGroup user community might be able to launch a poll to see if the proposed colors would be preferable to the current ones.

The results of the poll might help OmniGroup get a feel for what would help their users. We all know they listen to users and work long hours to please them.

Thanks to both OmniGroup and all of you for delivering this great product. I will buy and download it today!
 
I'd be happy if, across the three versions, there was just some basic consistency. I've ranted about it here.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolsuits View Post

As soon as I looked at the screens, I knew something was wrong, but couldn't figure out what ... look forward to some changes to colors that will guide our eyes where they need to be...on our tasks and projects
Quote:
Originally Posted by =rvhernandez View Post

it's too harsh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceWind View Post

I don't like the black background and the fact that data is presented to the user in overly-large coloured blocks. I still think it makes my iPad look like a Fisher-Price toy.
Well, it's a first draft, and there is some good work in the icons - cleaner and less distracting than the desktop ones.

But the eye does certainly have to contend with quite a proliferation of redundant lines of strong visual contrast ... Coolsuits puts it well - the user's eyes are being misguided ...

In any design the loudest contrasts (the strongest visual stimuli) should draw attention to the key elements of the message.

In this design, (and are are some pretty loud contrasts here), the main contrasting edges actually distract attention away from the user's data ...

It feels a little uncomfortable to read a bubble in the marketing gallery (http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnifocus-ipad) promising that we can "concentrate on work", while the visual design is shouting quite urgently at our retina to concentrate on the horizontal rungs of an interesting black ladder that has been left on the screen by a builder ... (the user's working text is pushed quite far into the visual background)

And on another screen, the system of contrasts appeals insistently to our eyes to focus not on the details of a simple textual outline, but on an unusual set of dark grey stacking tables ... (or horizontal stalactites, perhaps ?)

Concentrate on work ? Well, that would be good, but this first (and certainly promising) design is drawing more attention to the artwork than to the user's work ...

To reduce the cognitive distraction, and let the user focus on their work, I would suggest quite simply:
  1. Eliminate contrasting edges wherever you can, and
  2. tone the remaining contrasts down ...

--
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by masoric View Post
Good feedback doesn't need hyperbole! Aren't you the guy who thought it would be funny to tell everyone OF iPad was available the day it was submitted to apple?
Err, yes. Sorry, didn't realize it was a crime to have a sense of humour and make an attempt to make light of the wait..

You'll note I'm also the same guy that's made several comments in support of Omni's pricing and pointing out that I think it's more than worth the asking price..

Quote:
Originally Posted by masoric View Post
It's one thing to make constructive criticism, it's another thing to go over the top and insult the competency of the people who developed the application.
I haven't questioned anyones competency, just pointed out how i personally feel about one aspect of the design. Having paid for all three versions of OF on the day of release I'm entitled to voice an opinion aren't I?
 
 


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