“TeuxDeux: Write about Usability”
A look at the usability of TeuxDeux
TeuxDeux is a “simple, designy, to-do app”.
I use it because it does exactly what it says it does. It’s intuitive, uncluttered and useful. In terms of usability heuristics, it checks all the boxes regarding learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction.
Learnable, Efficient and Memorable
The concept of TeuxDeux is very simple. On each day, you can write up a list of ‘to-dos’. To create a to-do, all you have to do is click on an empty line, type your to-do and hit enter. Once you complete a to-do, you can cross it off your list by clicking on it (and undo that by clicking on it again).
If you don’t cross off a to-do by the end of the day, it gets carried over to the next day. It’s simple, intuitive and reaffirms your goals each day (a little bit like bullet journaling).
When you hover over a to-do, a familiar ‘drag-and-drop’ icon appears, indicating you can move your to-do into a different slot if you wish. The ‘drag-and-drop’ icon is something most users will recognize, and intuitively know what it’s for.
Users can also use Markdown syntax to format their to-dos and make them bold, italic or even include links. This option speaks to the efficiency of the app, allowing more advanced users to use additional features quickly to accomplish their tasks.
There are additional accelerators, such as the ability to create recurring to-dos, that are satisfying to the advanced user. To create a recurring task, you just have to add “every day” or “every week” at the end your to-do, and it will automatically populate the subsequent days. This one isn’t immediately obvious to the novice user (in fact, I discovered it by accident), but it’s easy to learn and remember for future use.
The app does a good job of preventing errors, too. There is an area in which you can create lists of to-dos that aren’t time sensitive; if you try to delete a list, you are asked to reconfirm before performing this destructive action. This is pretty much the only ‘risky’ scenario in which a user might unintentionally do something negative and irreversible.
If you forget the Markdown for anything, there’s a help section with “Pro Tips” to remind you how to do things. At first, the Pro Tips aren’t super easy to find. They’re not in an obvious place like the nav bar or footer: they’re found deep in the dropdown menu for your account details. However, once you open up the Pro Tips, they include an easy-to-remember shortcut for opening the Pro Tips quickly:
TeuxDeux is really satisfying to use because it doesn’t have a steep learning curve, and you can learn to use it efficiently very quickly. More importantly, it does exactly what the user expects it to do.
It’s predictable and makes wonderful use of natural mapping by simulating written to-do lists, where you would cross things out when you are done. It follows real-world conventions, using natural language and is relatively flexible in its simplicity.
The only potentially dark pattern I observed was in the subscription form. TeuxDeux is a subscription-based service so, once your 30-day free trial is up, you have to enter your credit card details. When I did this, I noted the ‘Auto-renew’ box was already pre-selected. This irked me a bit, but in reality, it was quite useful: I wouldn't have to go back and keep renewing my subscription manually, as I intended to use the app long term. Other users may feel differently about that. On the plus side, the ‘Auto-renew’ box is in a visible, accessible place so it’s not difficult to simply uncheck it.
Ok — So, maybe it’s not a dark pattern, but it is a tad shady.
Thanks for reading! This post was written as a response to a prompt in the UX Design course I am currently taking through Designlab. I hope you enjoyed the read and welcome responses/feedback!