Focus list sorting is reversed between Linux and Android

Cheers Andrei!

One of the reasons I chose Everdo after purchasing and using your closest competitor was the alphanumeric sorting of the Focus list. While it may seem like an obvious thing, there was no consistent sorting in the competitor. Consistent sorting allowed the implementation of a GTD compatible habit management system. When one tracks more than a screenful of repeating habits, it becomes more user friendly to have the earlier in the day habits appear at the top and later at the bottom.

Examples of the repeating tasks in habit management system
Morning: 100-Drink water, 110-walk dog, 120-Run trail course etc.
Anytime: 200-Read technical journals, 210-Check garden etc.
Evening: 400-Workout, 410-meditate, etc.
Weekly: 300-Review GTD tasks, 310:swap backups to secure location etc.

Everdo’s consistent alphanumeric sorting allows adding prefixes to repeating tasks so that when they spawn into the Focus list, they sort in the order you want. As you go through your day you will tend to tick off the tasks that chronologically come first, which tend to be at the top of the list and easily visible especially on phone.

The Focus list sorting is reversed between Linux and Android implementations. Linux sorts alphanumerically, Android does the reverse. In this use case, Android is probably the more important case as people ticking off daily habits are more likely to do this on their phone. But, there are many daily desktop tasks as well.

So one has to chose whether Linux or Android is backward when setting up daily habits. Android is probably more annoying as scrolling to the bottom on a phone is worse than on a larger screen Linux based machine.

Importance: Medium. GTD and habit management go together. Users often begrudgingly use 2 apps for these functions. While Everdo doesn’t allow all the features of a full-fledged habit management system, simply allowing workable daily repeating tasks covers perhaps 70% of the value of a habit management system. This allows capture of some of the user revenue that might have gone to a habit management app purchase to flow to Everdo. Not having consistent sorting pushes users to look elsewhere for cross platform solutions.

When implementing a non-trivial daily habit management system (more than perhaps a single screen (~8 tasks) focus list will require often annoyingly long habitual scrolling to get to the tasks done first when those tasks are not at the top of the list. Enabling non-trivial habit management is a key competitive differentiator vs. Everdo’s closest competitor.

Using the workaround of assigning tags to AM, Anytime and PM tasks adds the layer of the user having to select those filters (which hides other non-habit related tasks in the Focus list) rather than just seeing the most chronologically relevant at the top.

From a product perspective, it lowers the level of consumer confidence in the robustness of Everdo a medium amount. People will almost always notice this.

Urgency: Medium. It’s a daily source of annoyance

Recommendation: Put this at the near the top of the bug list triage. The fix to reverse the Android sorting likely requires very little effort and won’t likely require much testing to verify.

My testing environment:
LG Journey L322DL on Android 10 with both 16GB and 32GB versions of phone
Samsung Galaxy A11 on Android 11
Lenovo X61 with Linux Mint 20.3 v5.2.7
MacBook Pro 2009 15.4" with Linux Mint 20.3 v5.2.7

Thank you for reporting, I will create a ticket to look into this for the next release of the Android app.

Thank you.

There is more context over the last few day.

  1. I have the X61 (Linux) setup as server with Samsung A11 (Android) and MacBook (Linux) as clients. I created 2 “Waiting” tasks on the Macbook and they wouldn’t sync to the server. Dragging the items into their project (despite Project being already assigned on creation) got the items to sync. After this, the A11 Focus list sorting started becoming AlphaNumeric.
  2. The MacBook pro had a hard crash. After reboot and starting Everdo, the A11 list became reverse asphanumerically sorted again
  3. The A11 then started booting and immediately failing. I’ve sent the logs via Google’s system if that gets to you. As of now the A11 Everdo app will never successfully start.
  4. Using the LG Journey (Android) Everdo app is fine and the alphanumeric sorting is currently correct.

These all seem so unrelated, and yet they are the only things that have changed in the Everdo system other than routine task management. No network, sync, updates or any other infrastructure-type changes have been made over this period.