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Opening a new window focused on a project Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Right now, you can double-click on any task or project to open a new window which is focused on that project. Unfortunately, this easy shortcut is a little too easy to invoke accidentally: some other apps use double-click to mean "start editing", and I keep hearing about people who wonder what happened to all their OmniFocus data (and being relieved to discover it's all there when they unfocus). I think too many people are accidentally focusing by double-clicking.

I'm thinking we should move this shortcut to a contextual menu item (where it's more obvious and discoverable), and get rid of the double-click shortcut that causes so many accidents. (Perhaps leaving Option-Double-Click around as a shortcut for OmniFocus experts.)

Any feedback?
 
Please put in a CLI option to save my option key from an early demise!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
I'm thinking we should move this shortcut to a contextual menu item (where it's more obvious and discoverable), and get rid of the double-click shortcut that causes so many accidents. (Perhaps leaving Option-Double-Click around as a shortcut for OmniFocus experts.)

Any feedback?
I think this would be the wrong thing to do - you would simply be adding friction to the process of zooming in to narrowed focus, without making it any easier at all to zoom out to a broader view ...

The core function of Omnifocus is to eliminate friction from the pumping systole and diastole of the productive mind - zooming in to focus on a particular task, and then zooming out to the broadest overview of one's work, before zooming in somewhere else again ...

At the moment - I agree with you - most of the friction in working with OmniFocus impedes the phase of zooming out and finding everything again. That is not, however, a good reason for actually adding friction to the phase of zooming in to narrowed focus.

I'm afraid that the "double-click" interpretation of that frequent cry of "where's my data" doesn't entirely convince me.

The curious burial of Perspectives > All Items half way down a menu is already enough to explain a lot of what puzzles people, and the similar burial of View > Show All Projects explains a lot more. By the time we have got to the counter-intuitive complexity of running a global search, there is not much need for further explanation ...

(All of these quirks suggest to me that most of the early design thinking about OF was preoccupied with zooming in, and gave much less thought to zooming out. This early imbalance of attention has bequeathed an oddly irregular heartbeat to the default experience of using OF. (An irregular alternation between broad and narrow perspectives is likely to be an unproductive or distorted one).

The solution, it seems to me, is not to make zooming in harder but to make zooming out easier - to liberate it from complex keystrokes and the friction of the menu.

Neither phase of the mental heartbeat should be hidden behind menus and more complex key-strokes.

Instead, the default toolbar should have a single button which zooms us right out, and shows us everything, with a single click.

In short, the presentation and the visual design of OmniFocus should emphasise and augment the simplicity of zooming out - and also emphasize the centrality of that alternating focus - narrow and broad and back again.

It is that basic rhythm of the mind that the software is trying to facilitate, and make friction-free.

Menus and complex key-strokes seem to me to be the problem, not the solution.

Rob

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2010-10-16 at 04:44 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
I think too many people are accidentally focusing by double-clicking.

I'm thinking we should move this shortcut to a contextual menu item (where it's more obvious and discoverable), and get rid of the double-click shortcut
It sounds as if you're not sure, and I do remember the other theory - that 'missing data' panics were because people hadn't seen the filter bar. Well, the filter bar is unmissable now, but the missing data panics still flow in ...

If an hypothesis feels appealing, but is really incorrect, and is then used as an argment for downgrading functionality, or downgrading the look of the software, it does seem a pity.

I thought that the problem was that people weren't sure how get from focusing on a few projects back to seeing all of them. Isn't that the problem that needs fixing ? Shouldn't that be made easier or more obvious ?

It seems a bit odd to respond to a weak design for dropping focus by downgrading the mechanism for applying the focus ...
 
I can't give any big philosophical reasons concerning this question, but I would like to say that I use the double click for this very purpose quite often. I consider it a feature and would miss it if it were dropped.
 
I agree with everything RobTew said except this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
...Instead, the default toolbar should have a single button which zooms us right out, and shows us everything, with a single click....--
I think the single toggle tool to focus/zoom in AND zoom out should be right there with the selected task/group/project. Contextual menu, gesture, toolbar, menu bar, should all be options for the simple click but just for the sake of completeness and learning.

I use this zoom in feature often and have to convince myselft that the long pause before anything changes on the screen doesn't mean I didn't really double click. More visual feedback that something is happening would be appreciated.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
Right now, you can double-click on any task or project to open a new window which is focused on that project. Unfortunately, this easy shortcut is a little too easy to invoke accidentally: some other apps use double-click to mean "start editing", and I keep hearing about people who wonder what happened to all their OmniFocus data (and being relieved to discover it's all there when they unfocus). I think too many people are accidentally focusing by double-clicking.

I'm thinking we should move this shortcut to a contextual menu item (where it's more obvious and discoverable), and get rid of the double-click shortcut that causes so many accidents. (Perhaps leaving Option-Double-Click around as a shortcut for OmniFocus experts.)

Any feedback?
Wow! Another easy OF feature I was completely ignorant of! Well, right now this seems very sweet, and I'm pretty sure that I never used before "by mistake," so my vote would be for leaving it in, but I'll second pjb's request for more visual feedback that "something has changed".
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
I'm afraid that the "double-click" interpretation of that frequent cry of "where's my data" doesn't entirely convince me.
We field a lot of tech support phone calls and email, and I can't think of a single recent instance of "Where's my data?" which didn't turn out to be from accidental focusing. Customers aren't sure what they're doing, but somehow they're ending up focused and while I can't prove anything I think it's far likely that they're double-clicking than that they're activating Focus by accident in some other way (such as Control-Command-F, or clicking on the Focus button on the toolbar which immediately changes to offer to Show All).

Quote:
The solution, it seems to me, is not to make zooming in harder but to make zooming out easier - to liberate it from complex keystrokes and the friction of the menu.
I agree that zooming out should be much easier, and that was one of the goals of our built-in perspectives—which actually did help quite a bit, as noted above. Unfortunately, it didn't help with accidental focus.

I think we've already solved this problem with our iPad interface, where focusing is a much more explicit and visible action, and where the visual feedback of what you did and mechanism for getting back out is much more obvious. We're very much looking forward to bringing back the interface improvements from the iPad edition's 3rd-generation interface back to our Mac edition.

But we can't do that overnight, and in the meantime we still have a lot of people accidentally focusing without even realizing it or knowing how to avoid it. I'm pretty convinced that getting rid of this non-obvious double-click shortcut to the Focus feature would fix it, but another approach we could try would be to change the settings on the built-in perspectives to always reset your focus, so they could help people get back out when they accidentally focus. (However, I worry that would make focusing less useful for those of us who are intentionally using it, without really preventing the accidents that are causing confusion in the first place—it would just make it easier for them to recover from those accidents afterwards.)

Last edited by Ken Case; 2010-10-18 at 01:31 PM..
 
How about a beginner's dialog box that comes up when you double-click on an action, warning you that you are about to focus and reminding you how to unfocused, with a checkbox that you can click to disable the warning in the future? Maybe even make it a floating box that stays up until either you dismiss it or clear the focus?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
How about a beginner's dialog box that comes up when you double-click on an action, warning you that you are about to focus and reminding you how to unfocused, with a checkbox that you can click to disable the warning in the future? Maybe even make it a floating box that stays up until either you dismiss it or clear the focus?
This seems like the right direction to me.

Accidentally focusing a few times should be a useful discovery experience - a way of learning about focus.

The problem now is simply that the user interface doesn't tell you what has happened, and doesn't explain the notion of focus, so the learning opportunity is lost, and the user is left confused ...

Improving the road signs does sound more promising than throwing up road blocks and making it harder to get into town ...
 
 


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