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Ambiguity of the Meaning of "Due" and New Status Filter Request Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
The meaning of "due" is very confusing in OmniFocus, and I would like to encourage the Omni Group to clear up its ambiguity.

On the one hand "due" refers to any date when an action is due. For instance, an action has a Due Date property that can be set to any date in the Inspector window. One can group and sort action lists by the Due Date, and naturally this applies to all dates.

On the other hand, however, "due" refers to the Due Soon setting in the OmniFocus Properties, which allows for a range from 24 hours to one week. For instance, when applying the Status Filter "Due or Flagged", OmniFocus really applies a filter of "Due Soon or Flagged" rather than showing all actions that have a due date set or are flagged. I found it terribly confusing that non-flagged actions due in 8 days don't show up in the Due Perspective unless one changes the Status Filter to "Any Status" rather than "Due or Flagged".

Here is what I suggest:
  1. Please fix the user interface: Whenever you mean Due Soon, label it "Due Soon", not just "Due". Use "Due Date" if you refer to any date.

  2. Given its significance in identifying time sensitive actions, please be more explicit about what Due Soon means.

  3. Please add a status filter that shows all actions that have any kind of due date defined.
Do other users also find the use of Due confusing?

- Oliver
Actually, no. It behaves exactly as I would expect it to.
I agree with the OP that it is at least initially puzzling why items with due dates not too far in the future don't appear in displays where it seems like they should. I also don't think that the value I use for "due soon" styling is the one I want to use to control how far into the future a display showing due dates will extend.

From a UI standpoint, the status filter has the following values:
  • Any Status
  • Flagged
  • Unflagged
  • Due Soon
  • Due or Flagged
  • Due and Flagged
  • Due and Unflagged

A view showing all items which either have a due date or are flagged is a perfectly reasonable thing to want, and there's nothing in that list that suggests choosing Due or Flagged isn't going to give you exactly that. Why should a "Due or Flagged" view only show items due in (at most) the next week, but include flagged items from next month or year?

In my opinion, there's a failure in labeling, a failure in documentation, and a failure in design here. The Status Filter labels ought to be Due Soon + <option> to correctly describe what they do, if the current functionality is retained. The documentation for the Status Filter does not disclose that the Due combination items only show Due Soon items (and also fails to mention the Due and Unflagged option entirely). The design fails to accommodate those who want to use a short Due Soon window but still wish to use the combination filters and see a bigger picture of upcoming due dates. In my opinion, it's better to have more data than you need than to not have enough. An inexperienced user who doesn't want to look at a due list stretching off into the future can probably figure out that they just shouldn't scroll or look past the data that concerns them; figuring out (never mind installing and using) that someone might have written the mother of all Applescripts to build a search facility that they could use to overcome the design decision to only show the "due soon" portion of the list is a whole 'nother matter!

Last edited by whpalmer4; 2012-07-17 at 09:28 AM.. Reason: Update link
Personally, I just wish the status filter had a "starts soon" filter option or something like that. That's one of the odd things about OF. Even though canonical GTD seems to be much more focused on the start date than the due date, and OF is ostensibly a GTD app, it seems to focus a lot more on the due date than it does on the start date (at least in the desktop version). Perhaps if we finally get the forecast view on the desktop this will change.

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