New GTD Navigation and List ManagementAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
We have just published a major update of the web application that, in addition to advancing with the general redesign of the application, includes changes that affect the navigation between options, the management of the lists and the way you edit tasks. This is going to be long, so let’s cut to the chase!
The top navigation bar has been completely changed, and includes new options:
- Contextual help. To gain space on small screens, laptops and tablets, we have removed the specific help that appeared at the bottom of each section and we have included it in the new top bar, on demand.
- GTD menu. To facilitate the adoption and use of the GTD methodology, the new navigation menu is based on the five stages of its workflow.
- Focus Tool. It allows you to focus on the actions and projects that belong to a specific goal and/or area of responsibility.
- Search Tool. It allows you to find actions that contain a certain text.
- User options. This menu contains the configuration option of your FacileThings account, access to Support and the notifications you receive.
The new menu contains access for each stage of the GTD workflow: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Engage. These are the new names of the GTD stages, which used to be called Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Do.
The Organize and Reflect menus contain several options. To access them you have to move the mouse over the menu and select the one you want (on a touch screen you must touch the option).
The Engage option leads to what was previously called Dashboard.
You can use the keyboard shortcuts
CTRL+5 to access each menu. The specific shortcuts for the options in the menus 3 and 4 are the following:
You already know this one. It is the same tool that appeared before in the Dashboard and Projects sections, with some changes:
- Now its effect is global and also affects the Lists section. As a result, it has been removed from the Dashboard (now Engage) and Projects sections.
- Now you can filter those actions that do not have assigned a Goal or an Area of Responsibility (1), so you can debug which actions you have not completely defined. Use the not assigned option for it.
- When the focus filter is set, you will see in the navigation bar small circles that indicate that the filter is active (2).
- You can exit this option with the Continue button, the
ESCkey or by clicking anywhere outside the section.
This tool, which previously appeared in the Lists section, is now global and allows you to search for actions at any time, wherever you are. You can access it by clicking on the icon or using the keyboard shortcut
CTRL+F. A text field will appear where you must enter what you want to search:
The result of the search will present the actions grouped by lists:
By clicking on an action you will be able to see it, update it and work with it. You can leave the Search tool at any time by clicking outside the section or with the
NOTE: Right now there is a restriction: you will only be able to see and edit the search results if you are in one of the sections that have already implemented the new design (Lists, Projects, and Engage). On the others, you will see the search results but will not be able to act on them — until we update their design.
You know you have new notifications because a green dot appears at the right bottom of your photo (1). To see them you have to click on the Notifications button in the User’s menu (2).
New Lists section
We have redesigned the Lists section in order to make its use easier and more effective, providing a more serene work space.
On the left, all the lists you need for your personal organization are displayed in a clean way. By selecting any of them you will see the most relevant information of the items that comprise it.
At the top of each list you have all the tags that appear in the items of that list — both contexts and people — arranged alphabetically. By clicking on them the list will be narrowed to the elements that contain the selected tags.
Each item has now a single entry point: by clicking (or touching) on it you will have access to all its information and options, gathered in one place, the task editor, which I will describe below.
The text of the task stands out above all else. Other important information, such as the reminder (1) or the person responsible (2) are clearly visible. Other less relevant, but interesting data are shown at the bottom of each item: the project which it belongs to (3), the AR and goal assigned to it (4) and a set of icons (5) that let you know if the task has notes, attachments, checkpoints, or other selection criteria assigned.
On the right of each item there is a direct access to the action that you will use most frequently (6). Marking a task as done will be the most usual option.
Pagination has been removed from the lists of most frequent use (Inbox, Calendar, Next Actions, and Waiting For), so that you always have all the items at sight and can work with them more quickly. In the other lists, of less use and usually with many more items, pagination is maintained, although the page size has been increased to 50 items.
There are small changes in some lists and, to simplify, we have eliminated some stuff that do not comply with the organizational purpose of this section:
- The focus option (the star-shaped icon) only appears in the items of the Next Actions lists. It makes no sense in the rest of the lists.
- Calendar: In the list format, the events are displayed grouped by date. The “today” filter has been removed, since it is something specific to the Engage stage and unnecessary with the new design. The Daily, Weekly and Monthly calendar views — although they do not yet have the new design — now obey to the tags filter.
The Task Editor
The new task editor gathers all the information of the task and the options that you can perform with it in the same place:
In addition, a number of improvements have been added:
- The OK button is activated after any update is made to the task, and as long as the length of the text has at least four characters. You can use the
CTRL+ENTERshortcut to accept the changes and exit (OK), and the
ESCkey to exit without saving the changes (Cancel).
- Perspective. For greater clarity, the Project and Subproject fields have been separated.
- Start date. It corresponds to the
:startonline command, which until now had no graphical interface. You can hide any of your own actions (Next Actions and Calendar) in the Tickler File until the date you can work with it.
- Notes. The notes section is automatically set on editing mode when you click on it, and on viewing mode when you leave the field. That way you can click on the links included in the notes. In addition, a new Notes section has been added to the tasks that come from Evernote, so you can add local notes to them.
- Checklist. When you add a new checkpoint, an insertion mode is activated that allows you to add all the points you want very quickly, just by pressing the
ENTERkey at the end of each one (use the
ESCkey to exit the insertion mode) . In addition, you can change the order of the checkpoints by dragging and dropping any point. Other checklists can now be imported even though there are already checkpoints in the list.
- In addition to Next Actions, you can now move actions from the Calendar and Waiting For lists to the Reference Material list. In this way, if a completed action contains useful information that you can use in the future, you can easily convert it into Reference Material.
What comes next
In addition to modifying the design of all these options, all the processes for lists and tasks management have been optimized to reduce the average response time and thus increase the overall performance of the application.
The design of the Projects and Dashboard (now Engage) sections has also been modified so that list management and task editing are carried out in the same way as in the Lists section.
The truth is that, when advancing in the development of this update we have been found much more work that we expected, since changes in the basic structure affected internally the whole application. This has forced us to extend our target dates and leave out of this update the redesign of Calendar views, which will come in the next iteration, along with other related improvements (duration of events, customization of the first day of the week and of date and time formats, etc.).