Key function out of reach

Posted: September 8, 2010 in User-centered design examples
Tags: , , , , ,

Above is a screen shot from a list/task/project management service, Toodledo. I haven’t used it in a while, and when I came back to it earlier this semester, it took me a few long seconds to find the “Add a task” function. Can you see it? (you can click the picture to enlarge)

Granted, as you resize the browser window, the application looks different and the “Add a task” button appears within reach. But I don’t like working in tiny browser windows.

This is an example that violates one of the Gestalt principles of perception: Things in close proximity appear as one big shape/whole. Placing the “Add a task” button so far off makes it seem like it doesn’t belong in the application. I was looking for it within the application area, not outside of it.

There are many other things I would change about the Toodledo interface… This is a typical example of cramming in so many features (to satisfy the GTD productivity system) that the application becomes cumbersome. Every time I use it, I have to learn it all over again. Instead, I think I’ll switch back to todoist.

Do you have a favorite task/list management application? Which one?

And, more importantly for our course… What would you change about the Toodledo interface?

  1. Rebecca Ivic says:

    I like this discussion because I’ve been experimenting with many different task managers over the years. I’ve tried iGTD, Google, and other third party applications. I compulsively organize, but many applications are frustrating to use.

    I always return to the same tools of choice: Stickies, iCal, and a basic calendar book to manage my tasks. I like applications with a simple interface, but it’s important to me to have a more tangible method of organization as well. The paper book is a great way for me to reward myself by crossing off items as they are completed.

    Toodledo has the right idea in terms of organizing tasks into folders and ranking, but I think the interface is lost with too many options. Those options could be better served by being under overarching methods of categorization, such as “Current Tasks,” “Archives,” and others that could then store those subcategories. I like the button next to “Add A Task” in green– which I associate with “Go!” It’d be neat to see an interface that uses green, orange and red colors (like stoplights!)– potentially. But I also agree that it needs more prominence and better placement as a whole.

  2. hanjunxian says:

    I can feel your frustration, Dr. V. And I am going create a new post talking about another bad web page design I came across yesterday. More frustrating than yours, I promise.

  3. narayun says:

    Rather than having a favorite applications, I’m more into the paper and pencil route. Not sure if it’s due to my laziness I felt that it was more convenient for me to use traditional method to make a laundry of simple task. Ultimately I try to stay away from something that takes time to learn.

    If I could change anything from Toodledo, I would strip away all of the unnecessary functions/option as possible and make the interface bigger.

    Keeping it simple:)