Article: Reimagining an App from the Ground Up: Behind the Scenes of Todoist’s Redesign

todoist
Article: Reimagining an App from the Ground Up: Behind the Scenes of Todoist’s Redesign
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(Wilson Ng) #1

I’ve never used Todoist but have always been curious about it. I just saw this article about Todoist getting a reimagining…

What are some of the things that irks you about Todoist? I think I’ve heard the lack of a start/defer date was something that a lot of OmniFocus users wished that Todoist had.

The karma feature sounds like an interesting way to game-ify your productivity.

I found this statement interesting:

These were already the first steps on this bigger redesign project — internally, we call it Todoist Foundations (TDF) — allowing Todoist to better adapt to the user needs and workflows.

The next TDF project we’re working on is a revamped scheduler interface.

I love using OmniFocus plus Fantastical as a scheduler. This would be interesting for me to see in Todoist.


During the first two months of Todoist Foundations, we also contacted some of our most active users, both premium and free, scheduling user interviews and sending out surveys. That feedback has given us a better idea of how people actually use Todoist, and what common problems they face. Lastly, we use analytic tools and (completely anonymous) usage data to understand which features are used most, and which are barely used at all.

It’s great to see a company actively interacting with their customer base. Of course, software development doesn’t happen instantly. Changes in user workflow must be studied for user ramifications and choices that may impact that user experience.


We decided the PR bump we may get from a big release isn’t worth the bad experience for our team and our users. Now we work on steady updates that deliver new features and/or improvements every couple of months. This approach fits our six-week work cycles well, and makes it easier to get early feedback on changes and iterate — or even reconsider their value altogether. It also means our users never have to wait a long time to get new updates.

I’m all for a reiterative approach. Instead of the big upgrade that requires a new version number, just iterate, get feedback, and revise as needed. I like seeing a slow and steady approach to new features. Otherwise, the develops might want to hold back a feature that was finished months ago and wait for the big new version update.


I do like Todoist being available on all platforms and collaboration features. I am curious to see their approach to project/task management. I’m not familiar enough with Todoist. What are your thoughts about the Todoist platform? What did you like and what would you like to see in the Todoist ecosystem?


#2

Behind the scenes of a major revision we’re not going to actually discuss, lol.

Been discussed to death on YouTube and Todoist’s subreddit since the article came out in August.

The update has seemingly been pushed back until (at least) after the price increase takes effect, as the August article said the revisions are “rolling out his year.” Since Doist has been so quiet about this, with no previews or blog posts about this “totally fresh and updated look… rethinking some of Todoist’s core foundations with pretty much everything on the table” I have to assume they’re still working on it and we won’t see much of the changes until next year…


(Wilson Ng) #3

Ahh. Reddit is a place I rarely visit. I was wondering when this new revision would be coming out. I have not been keeping up with Todoist news when this post came up in one of my RSS feeds.

I’ll have to visit Reddit and YouTube to read what all the fuss is about and what current users are hoping for.


(Justin DiRose) #4

I’m kinda wondering if they don’t have the technical talent to pull off everything yet. They’ve been hiring like crazy. Being cross platform, they have to have developers for lots of different technologies (Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, web, etc.), so that can slow things down.

This is the first I’ve heard of a major redesign, but that’s great news. Todoist is solid as it is, but I think it could use some feature improvements, like a rethink of how projects are handled and such. Most of it seems too basic for a power user who has 1,000+ tasks in it.

If anyone is interested, I wrote up a series of articles on Todoist diving into things:


#5

I suspect that, given the recent success of some of more attractive competition (eg Things) and the flagging fortunes of some other competitors (eg Evernote, Pagico), and the cross-platform entrance of new competitors (Omnifocus with web view, Taskade, etc) Todoist is more likely to refresh and simplify and make clearer and more attractive the interface, not aim towards a smaller, harder-to-please niche of hardcore power users.


(Justin DiRose) #6

That’s probably true. One can hope though :slight_smile:


(Wilson Ng) #7

I think the days of that big bang big number update is gone. The releases will be more iterative and refine itself in small increments. I’ll bet if you take a screenshot or screen recording of your Todoist workflow in action now and compare it in 2 years, it might have changed and evolved as new features slowly start to creep in.


#8

Although the head of Todoist’s design department said in that article, “Now we work on steady updates that deliver new features and/or improvements every couple of months” she also said:

"This year, we’re doing design explorations to give Todoist a totally fresh and updated look. But the redesign will go much deeper than that. We’re rethinking some of Todoist’s core foundations with pretty much everything on the table… The next TDF project we’re working on is a revamped scheduler interface… we’re redesigning our “empty screens”… many don’t know how to create sections within projects and subtasks, and the people who do often feel a lack of context in tasks and subtasks. People are also concerned about losing information in shared projects since it’s easy for someone to inadvertently complete something or completely rearrange a task hierarchy. These are three of the usability problems we’ll be tackling in the upcoming months.

That doesn’t sound like small increment iterations. It sounds like big changes afoot, being rolled out slowly.