OmniFocus

for iPhone, Version 2

A concept by Chris SauvÉ

Before we begin, a quick but important note. Design is hard. Really, really hard. It's is about balancing competing ideas, making hard choices, and ensuring that everything that you leave in the product supports some broader objective.

The Omni Group, makers of OmniFocus, are some of the most talented software folks out there.It would be unfair to criticize their work without fully understanding the challenges they were trying to solve and the competing interests they had to weigh. So, as you go through this concept, understand that this is not a critique of, but an homage to, their work on OmniFocus.

Sheets

Get in, get out, get back to work.

Sheets

List Views

Beautiful, considered, and flexible.

Easthics

Action Bars

The right tools, right when you need them.

Action Bars

Notes

All the support you need, and then some.

Notes

Review

Stay on top of every project.

Review

Templates

Repeating tasks don't have to feel repetitive.

Templates

Sheets Sheets

Get in, get out, get back to work.

In the current incarnation of OmniFocus, editing and creating tasks, contexts, and projects involves many taps and a none-too attractive interface. It's a lot of work to perform some common actions.

Now, attractive sheets elegantly slide in to view and, more importantly, allow quick, inline access to editing your tasks — no extraneous taps required. These sheets have been built with a focus on quickly getting in and out so that you spend less time fiddling with your library and more time working through it.

Task Sheet

Tasks now have an attractive, condensed interface, gracefully sliding in and out of view as needed. Everything is editable in-place, so you don't have to go tapping to set contexts, projects, or dates.

There are some great new features, too — contexts have been rethought as tags, so you can assign as many or as few as you'd like. Additionally, a target date has been added that lets you schedule when you'd like a task to show up on your forecast view without messing around with its start/ due dates.

Grouping Icon
Sorting Icon
Availability Icon
Status Icon

Contexts: Instead of a hierarchical list, contexts are now tags to give you more flexibility.

Target Date: Let's you schedule tasks for when you want to do them so they'll show up in forecast view.

Notes: Lets you add text, voice, photos, or Dropbox folders to notes in a gorgeous new interface.

Dismiss: Slides the current sheet out of view and saves any changes you've made.

Task - Old Task - New

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Perspective Sheet

A new perspective sheet can be brought up by tapping and holding on the view icon of the standard action bar. You can then adjust the grouping, sorting, status, and availability filters for the view.

To top it all off, you can choose a beautiful icon to represent the perspective and, if you were focusing on select projects, folders, or contexts, these will be preserved in the perspective.

Grouping Icon
Sorting Icon
Availability Icon
Status Icon
Icon Chooser Icon

Grouping: Sets the top-level grouping characteristic for the perspective.

Sorting: Sort tasks in the view by project, dates, or status.

Availability: See only those tasks that are available, remaining, next actions, or completed.

Status: Allows you to show only those tasks that are (or aren't!) due or flagged (or both!).

Icon Chooser: Lets you select from one of a number of built-in icons to represent your perspective.

Perspective - Old Perspective - New

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Project Sheet

Project - Old Project - New

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Context Sheet

Context - Old Context - New

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Process: Editing Your Tasks' Dates

Editing Dates, Step 1

Step 1: You can quickly edit any or all of the start, target, or due dates from the task sheet.

Editing Dates, Step 2

Step 2: You can set the date in place using OmniFocus's smart date syntax.

Editing Dates, Step 3

Step 3: Alternatively, tap on the calendar button to get a detailed date sheet.

Editing Dates, Step 4

Step 4: The calendar shows the relevant dates in an attractive calendar interface.

Editing Dates, Step 5

Step 5: Tap the date you would like to set to set it using the calendar.

Editing Dates, Step 6

Step 6: A tap on the desired day will lock your choice in.

Editing Dates, Step 7

Step 7: You can do the same for all your dates (and set the times, too!)

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Process: Project and Context Search

Searching Projects and Contexts, Step 1

Step 1: There are two ways to edit projects and contexts — inline or through search.

Searching Projects and Contexts, Step 2

Step 2: Inline editing will autofill what would have been the first search result.

Searching Projects and Contexts, Step 3

Step 3: Alternatively, tap the search button to look through all projects or contexts.

Searching Projects and Contexts, Step 4

Step 4: Searching will show you the matching items as you type.

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List Views List View

Beautiful, considered, and flexible.

OmniFocus for iPhone has always followed the standards set in apps like Mail.app: a table view where you drill through successive layers of the hierarchy. It's an easy-to-understand navigation pattern, but it has become stale and does not scale well to a complex project structure.

The new list views have one focus: speed. You can go through your project list by expanding contexts, folders, projects and sub-projects, so no more tapping around to go between views. You can drag and drop items to different spots in the list, or use the edit bar to delete, duplicate, group, or batch-edit a number of tasks, or to set focus on a particular project or context.

Forecast View

The forecast view has gone through a few nips and tucks to make it more useful in seeing what's on your plate for any given day.

You're no longer limited to the next few days; you can scroll along the date picker at the top to glance at the tasks that are due, targeted, and/or starting. Tasks aren't the only thing you'll find, either; tasks, projects, and task groups mix together to give you the clearest view of what's on your plate.

Forecast View - Old Forecast View - New

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Home View

Your home screen is the first thing you see in OmniFocus, so it should do exactly what you need and nothing more.

The new home screen makes it easy to get where you want to go. Large, easy-to-hit buttons let you get to the key views as quickly as possible, with the most common views closer to where your thumb is likely to be. You also get a status report showing you the number of inbox, starting, targeted, due, and overdue tasks, and the number of projects for review. Tap any of them to quickly jump to the relevant view.

Home View - Old Home View - New

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Project List View

List views have been completely reworked to cut down on the number of screens you'll have to tap through. Contexts, folders, projects, and sub-projects can be expanded without going to a new view, so you can quickly drill down as far as you need to. You can tap on any item to bring up its sheet for editing; no more flipping back and forth to edit items at different hierarchical levels.

You'll get a visual indication of whether a project is parallel, sequential, or a single action list, as well as inline note indicators. The list view also colours the checkboxes to indicate which tasks are targeted, due soon, or overdue.

Project View - Old Project View - New

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Process: Reordering and Grouping

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 1

Step 1: Tap and hold on any task or project to drag it somewhere else.

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 2

Step 2: Drag any item between two others to slot it in at that spot.

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 3

Step 3: Dragging one task onto another will give you a new subproject with those tasks.

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 4

Step 4: Let go to create and quickly rename your new subproject!

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 5

Step 5: You can create new groups in edit mode, as well — just tap the pencil icon.

Reordering and Grouping Tasks, Step 6

Step 6: Select the tasks you want to group and tap the grouping icon.

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Process: Navigating Your Projects

Navigating Your Projects, Step 1

Step 1: Contexts, folders, and projects can be traversed using the new disclosure triangles.

Navigating Your Projects, Step 1

Step 2: Navigating through the hierarchy is much quicker than tapping through separate screens.

Navigating Your Projects, Step 3

Step 3: When you go more than three levels deep, a “back” item will slide in.

Navigating Your Projects, Step 4

When moving between distinct views, they'll gracefully slide on top of one another.

Navigating Your Projects, Step 5

Tap the downwards arrow to go back, or hold it to get a history of where you've been.

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Action Bars Action Bars

The right tools, right when you need them.

It can be challenging to reveal all the key functionality of a particular view in an effective way, particularly on a small screen, and even more so with a static tab bar. Action bars are tailored to the view you're in so that you have all the right tools at your fingertips.

There's the standard action bar that gives you quick access to adding new action items, and that can be collapsed to give you more room for your tasks. There are also action bars that give you specific tools for editing tasks, working with templates, and reviewing projects. Each of these gracefully slides in and out of view as needed. All the tools you need, right when you need them.

Standard Action Bar

View Icon
View Icon
View Icon
Plus Button

See it in context.

New: The centre of your action bar experience. The standard action bar collapses into just this button when you want more space. Tap and hold to reveal the rest of the standard action bar, tap once to create a new inbox task, or tap twice for a new task, project, or context, depending on your current view. Whether you tap once or twice, you can swipe between creating a new inbox task and a new task/ project/ context.

View: Tapping the view button lets you change the focus of the current view, allowing you to see only those tasks that are remaining, available, or completed, collapse all tasks, and more. Tap and hold to save the current view as a new perspective.

Sync: Does just what you think it does.

Settings: Lets you see and change settings, like notifications, location settings, and sync settings.

Editing Action Bar

Focus Icon
Delete Icon
Duplicate Icon
Group Icon
Multi-Edit Icon

See it in context.

Focus: Focus on the currently-selected contexts, folders, projects, or sub-projects.

Delete: Delete all selected tasks.

Duplicate: Make copies of the selected tasks.

Group: Makes a group of the selected tasks. If some of the selected items are already in a group, this will add the other tasks to that same sub-project. Otherwise, a brand new sub-project is created.

Multi-Edit: Edit all selected tasks at once. Lets you quickly change the context, name, note, and start/ target/ due dates.

Template Action Bar

Sync Icon
Default Folder Icon
Relative Date Icon
Variable Icon
New Item Icon

See it in context.

Sync: Don't lose those changes!

Default Folder: Brings up a list of all folders from which you can select the default folder for the current template project.

Relative Date: Allows you to create a new relative date for the selected task. These relative dates let you set the start, target or due date relative to those same dates for the project or previous task.

Variable: Tap once to create a new variable. Tap and hold to insert a variable you've already created for the project.

New Template: Create a new template project.

Review Action Bar

View Icon
Sync Icon
Info Icon
New Item Icon
Review Icon

See it in context.

View: Whittle down the tasks of the project under review to only those that are available, remaining, or completed.

Sync: Can't be too careful.

Information: Gives you information on the last review date and lets you set the review interval.

New Task: Create new tasks for the project you're reviewing.

Mark Reviewed: Once you've finished looking it over and cleaning it up, mark the project as reviewed and get on with your day.

Notes Notes

All the support you need, and then some.

Notes have tried to be all things to all people in the current version of OmniFocus. Rich text is supported on the Mac but not on iOS, and attachments are shown inline on the Mac while they are completely distinct from the notes on iOS.

Notes have been simplified, clarified, and improved. Markdown syntax is automatically highlighted, with links shown inline for ease of use. Attachments, be they photos, recordings, or links to Dropbox folders, are included directly with the text portion of the note. All of it is wrapped up in an attractive, unified interface to make notes something in which you'll actually want to store your support materials.

Note Interface

Forecast View - Old Notes - New

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Voice Notes

Adding Recording - Old Adding Recording - New

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Process: Add A Voice Recording

Add a Voice Recording, Step 1

Step 1: Tap the new recording button on the Note Action Bar.

Add a Voice Recording, Step 2

Step 2: Tap the recording button to start, or cancel and go back.

Add a Voice Recording, Step 3

Step 3: The new recording will slide in to the attachment area.

Add a Voice Recording, Step 4

Step 4: Tap on the new recording to take a listen.

Add a Voice Recording, Step 5

Step 5: Delete the recording quickly by swiping down on the attachment.

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Process: Other Note Attachments

Adding Other Note Attachments 1

Step 1: Tapping the Dropbox button will bring up the file system of the linked Dropbox account.

Adding Other Note Attachments 2

Step 2: You can select an existing folder or create a new one.

Adding Other Note Attachments 3

Step 3: You can also take a new picture or add one from your photo library.

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Review Review

Stay on top of every project.

Reviews are an oft-forgotten piece of the GTD system. The iPad version of OmniFocus makes reviews easy and, to those who are so inclined, even a little fun. Unfortunately, no such review feature has existed in OmniFocus for iPhone — until now.

The review mode is built to get you through your review as quickly as possible. Projects are presented as cards that allow you to quickly add or edit tasks. You can seamlessly see the last time you reviewed the project, set the review interval and, most importantly, quickly mark projects as reviewed, dropped, or on hold using swipe gestures.

Process: Reviewing Your Projects

Reviewing Your Projects, Step 1

Step 1: Take a look through your sub-projects and tasks in the attractive card interface.

Reviewing Your Projects, Step 2

Step 2: You can tap on the info button to set the project's repeat interval.

Reviewing Your Projects, Step 3

Step 3: When you're satisfied, tap the review button to go to the next project.

Reviewing Your Projects, Step 4

Step 4: You can also just flick the project card left to mark it as reviewed.

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Process: Marking Dropped/ On Hold

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 1

Step 1: You can quickly mark projects as dropped/ on hold using the quick actions.

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 2

Step 2: If the project has grown stale, swipe it down to drop it.

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 3

Step 3: You'll get a notification to confirm that you wanted to drop the project.

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 4

Step 4: If you want to go back, just tap the undo icon on the notification.

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 5

Step 5: Alternatively, you can swipe the project up to put it on hold.

Marking Projects as Dropped/ On Hold, Step 6

Step 6: These quick actions let you speed through your weekly review.

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Templates Templates

Repeating tasks don't have to feel repetitive.

Many of the things we have to do in our lives repeat predictably, but are slightly different each time. Following up on an email, doing a quarterly report, planning a research paper; the list goes on and on. Why repeat yourself in constructing these projects fresh each time?

Templates have a learning curve, but they offer powerful tools for managing these projects effectively. There are variables, relative dates, and default folders; everything you need to give your projects brains. Create as many templates as you like, and add as little or as much complexity as you need. Templates get you out of doing productivity and in to being productive.

Process: Creating New Template Instances

Creating New Template Instances, Step 1

Step 1: Your template list shows you every template project you've created for quick instantiation.

Creating New Template Instances, Step 2

Step 2: You'll get a sheet to enter the folder and any variables you defined.

Creating New Template Instances, Step 3

Step 3: If you enter anything invalid, you'll get an alert and the template process will halt.

Creating New Template Instances, Step 4

Step 4: Tap on the alert to get some more information, and correct it to create your project.

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Process: Adding Variables to Templates

Adding Variables to Templates, Step 1

Step 1: Create a new project like you normally would — with a twist.

Adding Variables to Templates, Step 2

Step 2: Create a new variable by clicking on the Template Action Bar.

Adding Variables to Templates, Step 3

Step 3: Variables can be standard (text), dates, or a list to choose from.

Adding Variables to Templates, Step 4

Step 4: Alternatively, tap and hold to insert a previously-created variable.

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Process: Adding a Relative Date to Your Tasks

Adding Relative Dates, Part 1

Step 1: Relative dates give your task dates the brains they deserve.

Adding Relative Dates, Part 2

Step 2: Watch the relative date sheet slide in just oh so smoothly.

Adding Relative Dates, Part 3

Step 3: Create your relative date formula with the help of the sheet.

Adding Relative Dates, Part 4

Step 4: Marvel at your newly-intelligent tasks and projects.

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Process: Select a Default Project Folder

Selecting a Default Folder, Step 1

Step 1: Tap the default folder icon in the Template Action Bar.

Selecting a Default Folder, Step 2

Step 2: The list of folders will slide up to greet you.

Selecting a Default Folder, Step 3

Step 3: Tap on the folder you'd like new template instances to go into.

Selecting a Default Folder, Step 4

Step 4: You'll get a nice little indicating of your default folder choice.

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