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News: Sciral Consistency for iPhone version 1.0.3 is now in the App Store, with support for iTunes File Sharing! http://bit.ly/uuIZaq
 
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Author Topic: Maintaining elegant simplicity in next version is major evaluation criteria!  (Read 5103 times)
jdsweet
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« on: December 03, 2006, 07:53:38 AM »

I took the following list from your 2005 list of "upcoming features" following v1.1's release:

I really like this app - it's a BRILLIANT simplification of something no other app has ever done.  It'd be a real shame to give up that edge you've got to go after the commodity PIM market.  So, please, keep this simple:

Choice of time granularities: Documents that operate not just on a daily basis, but hourly, weekly, or monthly.
-> Engage, Dork Factor 10, captain!  Weekly/monthly have their place, but intermingling these long-horizon items w/ existing days-long items might be visually distracting.  Don't know how to solve that, but I'm positive that hourly and minutely horizons butt somewhat against your vision of tracking only those things you do less often than breathing.

Disable Weekdays: For each task, allow certain days (such as weekends) to be "disabled" so they don't count against the overdue-ness of the task.
-> I've asked for this one myself, but again - keep the number of decisions I have to make in any dialog/pane manageable, allocating screen real estate according to relative priority over other options.

Notes: Attach free-form text notes to tasks, dates, or completion cells.
-> Danger Will Robinson, neat idea, definitely needed at some point, but again - don't rush to get this out: there are so many other things you can do that would really make the app KICK (even more than it does) w/ little risk of fouling up the elegant simplicity - think thou for many nights before pulling the trigger on releasing this.

To Do Manager: Make Consistency more fit for management of traditional one-shot to-do items.
-> There's the "general PIM" cloudiness again.  Make sure any solution here is simply a way to get To-Dos into a best-of-breed to-do manager, i.e. probably not your app (you're focused on your own brilliant product, which does something else, entirely, and does it *so* brilliantly because it just does one thing.

Categories: Tasks can be arranged in a hierarchical fashion.
-> Generally, hierarchy = reduced simplicity.   Don't be that guy who just puts a tree widget in the GUI and thinks that solves all problems of managing inherent complexity.  Is there some other way to provide management views that allow the user to visually focus on subsets of their tasks?  E.g. (though I have no idea if this is better) labels, a la GMail?
 
Intent markers: Allow a symbol to be put on future dates that only changes the coloring while it's in the future, but not after it's date passes.
-> Hmm.  To see what the result would be *if* I did it by then?
I was actually going to suggest that you actually *remove* the view of the future, since the future doesn't matter that much in this application (I'll admit that knowing how soon I'm going to "go into the red" is somewhat useful, but I think it's inferable from my view of the past.)

Reset markers: Allow a symbol that resets the coloring without indicating an actual completion.
-> Admit bankruptcy, and request a clean slate with myself to relieve guilt, while still maintaining accurate historical records of my sub-par performance:
This *is* brilliant!

Skip markers: Allow a symbol that indicates non-completion with a valid reason (e.g., vacation.)
-> See if you can combine this with the "reset" metaphor.  If not, can you create a super-metaphor that includes both with a low-complexity GUI for indicating which it was, e.g. a "reset/clear" verb w/ a "excusable?" prompt.

iCal integration: Integrate Consistency with Apple's iCal.
AppleScript support: Allow Consistency to interact with other applications.
Palm Version: A version for PalmOS, with the ability to sync to the Mac and Windows versions.
-> I hear the sound of a giant development time sink.  I hope you focus more on doing the above brilliantly before getting lost in 3 new degrees of freedom in platform compliance.
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Robert McNally
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2007, 12:39:32 AM »

I really appreciate your feedback. Frankly, I agree with most of your assessments of the proposed features, which is part of why I have been in no hurry to implement them. I have also had another major project that has taken a great deal of my time, but I certainly would like to release an update of Consistency that adds a few more useful features and some streamlining without destroying the elegant simplicity that you quite rightly prize.
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