Crossing things off the list • Daniel Clarke

October 11, 2015

I love lists, they make my life easier. They help me to manage the multitude of things I have to manage in both my professional and personal life. I also get a certain sense of satisfaction and closure once a task is crossed off.

I haven’t found my perfect list tool yet:

  • Pen and paper are always good, but what if I forget my pencil?
  • I use trello at work as it allows me to add comments to tasks that can’t be closed in one hit
  • Evernote checkboxes are what I find best for shopping lists. They allow me to see everything I need as I shop and they stay visible, even when done; an important function if I accidentally press my phone whilst grabbing groceries!
  • More recently I have been using apple’s iCloud Reminders app

After reading Sophie Paxton’s posts on gratuitous animations and the ‘Disney affect’, it got me to thinking about why I’ve been using the Reminders app more and more.

Simply put, the Reminders app on Mac gives me a real sense of things being done. And that’s all down to the animation. First however, let’s look at how the app works on iPad:

I have a problem with how Reminders works on iPad. When I tick something off the list I get:

  1. Greyed text to show it is done
  2. A yellow highlight in the check-box
  3. The task remains visible.

In an app that uses colour reservedly, this means that a completed task becomes distracting, drawing my attention away from the remaining tasks.

To be fair on apple, Reminders will eventually sync and the task will disappear, but this is not immediate. My main workaround right now is to click ‘Show Completed’, immediately followed by ‘Hide Completed’ to remove the completed tasks from view. Not the most convenient of operations…

Let’s now compare to the Mac version of Reminders:

This very simple animation does 3 things:

  1. It confirms the task is complete
  2. It removes it from view
  3. It adds to the ever-increasing number of tasks I have completed!

With the Mac version of Reminders, I feel like I am getting things done, and that’s all I ask of from a list!

I support Sophie Paxton’s stance on avoiding animation for animation’s sake. But in an example such as Reminders, we can see what a difference a little animation can make.

So apple, let’s make animations consistent. In the same breath, it would be nice to know when my Reminders are syncing, à la Evernote, but that’s a topic for another day.

Follow this link for more of Sophie Paxton’s thoughts on animation

Originally published at