Based on the research I have done so far, I get the impression that the New Clear is in many ways very different from the Legacy Clear so many of us have come to love and rely upon. Some existing users may find transitioning to the New Clear easy and exciting, while others may experience it as demanding and stressful.
Hence I’d like to urge whomever it concerns to keep the Legacy Clear available in parallel with the New Clear—until the new version can fully satisfy the existing users, and their particular needs and requirements, which are as unique as we are individuals with unique life situations.
It won’t be a bump-free transition… especially for Clear Mac users who relied on syncing. But we have a number of ideas on making the transition smoother, including smaller things I feel would go a long way such as starting people updating to new Clear on their favorite theme and Helvetica as it was. I think we’ll get to a place where it’s a more inviting transition for most of our base!
As long as the transition to the new version isn’t rushed or forced upon us users prematurely, I believe you are on the right track for the most part. Still, it’s important not to upset the daily routines of your long-term users who have made Clear an integral part of their lives in different ways too much, and hence their trust.
Clear for Mac has been such an important part of this integrated system for many of us, so I sincerely hope a Mac user interface will continue to be available since without it Clear loses much of its power and versatility for many of its most dedicated and loyal users.
Besides the Mac user interface, I consider the consistency of the look and feel of the app and all of the content I have added most important when transitioning between any two versions, so I’m happy you also mentioning this. In this regard I want to point out that I’m referring to the precision and exact positioning in terms of textual formatting which is very important for some of us. I describe it further here:
Sadly, it feels like a troll app right now. It’s close enough to what ten years of muscle memory has taught me, and different enough that I find myself angry at the new version several times a day.
It’s on the right track, but these changes have SIGNIFICANTLY changed the way I’ve used the app for over ten years.
Frankly, it has me using the stock Reminders app for most things now because it still works the way I’m expecting.
If you can share a list of your pain points ordered from most annoying to least that would be helpful! I’ve been using the new Clear for years now so I do lack fresh eyes on the going from old Clear after many years > new Clear experience. Optimistically I think the ‘close enough’ part of your complaint means we can close that gap meaningfully further for launch with you all sharing feedback.
Okay, I’ve been using Clear since day one. It was shiny and new and in a world of skeuomorphism it was a colorful take on a to-do list.
I was immediately on board.
I used to be a member of the jailbreak and modding community and created about thirty different icons for Clear for various themes, because it’s been a page 1 app for me for a very long time.
After over a decade of using the app I have a developed very specific muscle-memory for tasks, and the weird thing is I’m having trouble figuring out where I’m having trouble.
I do feel as if the overall touch-sensitivity is a little cranked up, because I find myself losing tasks while I scroll.
I scroll up, instead maybe it was a little more diagonal this time. The old app didn’t seem to care, but the new one absolutely does.
I feel like I’m speaking a different language to it at the moment, and given the length of time between versions and the changes in design language it would be expected.
That said, some kind of undo is drastically needed. If I delete something from my list while trying to scroll, it’s gone forever.
I don’t remember what was on the list, because that’s what the list is for.
My brain sees the new version, and was struck with the feeling that this was designed for an iPhone 13 Pro Max screen and not those of us with iPhone 11s because the cell padding was crazy. The latest update has fixed that nicely, and the scaling of the font size feels better too, although I have set my font to Small it does still feel a little too large in places, but that’s cosmetic and not functional so I’m not really that mad. I’m getting old, the larger size is probably going to benefit me.
This might also just be due to the larger fonts and increased cell padding but pinching doesn’t seem to be as responsive. It’s almost as if the app is expecting me to swipe instead of pinch and I’m about 50/50 on getting the outcome I intended.
I do miss the stock Heat Map but I somehow managed to unlock Shangri-La and it’s really nice.
What it boils down to is I probably just need to slow down and develop new muscle memory.
From the top of my head, the things I find most important going forward (top priorities first):
Possible to personally decide when to make the switch from the current/Legacy Clear to the New Clear as each of us feels ready to make the switch (as opposed to New Clear automatically replacing Legacy Clear at some random point when the New Clear may or may not meet our individual requirements — which can feel extremely stressful for those of us who rely on Clear for a multitude of daily use cases, which of course are unique for each individual)
Possible to quickly jump to the top and jump to the bottom of a list (a must for our lengthy lists)
Possible to set font and font size exactly as we want (the font sizes shown in New Clear are far too big for my use cases and very limiting, and some use cases rely on the precise text formatting used in our current Clear Legacy setup, which is dependent on our iOS device settings [Display & Brightness / Text Size] — which in my case is set to the smallest size)
Possible to access all the lists on my Mac, preferably synced to the Mac app as it is today, but alternative ideas may be to simply being open a backup of the lists in the Mac app (not synced) or otherwise as a simple text file, etc.
Possible to use all themes and functionality without unlocking them like Easter eggs (I have more important things to do than spending time on things like that… but I like the many options)
Possible to jump from one list to the previous or next list by sliding via the edges of the screen (not as necessary as the other things I have listed here, but still very much a time-saver)
In addition to the above, the possibility to search for lists and their contents, as well as search within the current list, would definitely be much appreciated!
I think the main points are that it takes me away from the reasons I love Clear so much in the first place and use it every day.
On the original, if I gently swipe down it creates a new entry, if I swipe down a bit more I go back to the list of lists. It’s intuitive and very smooth. If I swipe from a little too high, this Beta version goes to the lock screen. Perhaps it’s because I have a small iPhone SE but it’s fiddly and takes the two or three goes to go back.
It’s lost its beautiful simplicity. Even if I have the font size as “tiny”, when I’m on the menu of lists, the font size is bigger and the list then takes up far too much of my screen.
I like having everything the same throughout. Within the list I have the theme of Dawn - the orange one - but when I return to the previous menu it’s the purple-blue one. I’d like to have it uniform throughout.
The Beta version feels like there are too many layers/sub-lists. It’s lost the simplicity again.
And I don’t want a header saying Today for the Today list once I’m in the list having chosen it from the upper menu. It just creates clutter.
This might sound like an insult - it really isn’t, I promise! - but the Beta version looks like someone has made a version of the original for children. It’s all big and bright with colorful icons and large text that’s spaced out. Lots of people may prefer this look but there really needs to be an option in Settings to just use Clear Classic.
The one thing that I would have liked on the Classic Clear is the ability to get something back if you accidentally swipe left and delete rather than swipe right to cross it off and drop it to the bottom. But that’s a very minor thing I can live without.
I’ve been thinking about this whole situation ever since I got in the beta. You know what it reminds me of? NINTENDO.
We would love to have a new F-Zero; actually we would all love to have the F-Zero GX from GameCube, just up-rezed, and we wouldn’t complain about anything.
We would love a Starfox64 with modern graphics, but the same linear game that it was back then.
Instead, Nintendo tries to re-invent many wheels most of the time, and we can’t say we agree, right?
Where am I getting at? I guess we would love to have the OG Clear just re-written in Swift with some polish, same menus, same colors, same fonts, same speed, same gestures, same everything, while the team is actually trying their best to make a new beast. And I applaud them for their excitement and efforts! But is that what we really want?
Now, please don’t take this the wrong way, but: when you have abandoned an app for a decade, but that app is still functional despite the numerous changes the host OSes have gone through, then this app gets a life of its own while you are away. People that still use OG Clear for the last 10+ years have established usage scenarios and habits that aren’t debatable for change. Plus, it was indeed your app that made them addicted to this UI/UX. They use this app for 10+ years. They ARE used to using it, the way it still looks today. Plain and simple as that. Thus, your (the developers’) work is harder than just relaunching an app.
I really really wish the best for the team and for the launch. I’m just worried for the regressions the new app introduces and the strong feelings it may trigger for some of us Day One OG Clear users.
Undo removal was accidental, it got tied up in feature flags with us experimenting with it as an action you could assign to any of the personalizable gestures. (Internal experiment going on.) We will restore it in the next TestFlight build.
I have to admit I have been testing/designing on a Max mainly (though a member of the team is on a mini!) but we are going to take another look at especially small/tiny settings on padding and maybe add another interval or two there.
Muscle memory will adapt, but yeah I’m very curious about first impressions upgrading like this and it’s helpful those of you who are sharing reports. We have blindspots we’ve developed over the years using the new version to patch up for the big day and the rest of the userbase updating into it.
Keep it coming all, not sure if I can respond to everyone today but will be reading everything.
I’m not entirely closed to that option but our personality is, let’s focus on our goal scenario of sticking with single SKU but trying to sand off all the rough corners and improve the transition experience for people updating as much as we can, and see where we can get it.
And I realize your comparison to Nintendo was not meant entirely as a compliment in this case, but to be honest… I love Nintendo and as a fan accept their occasional flubs for their inspired wins. I think a lot of you would agree that compared to all the other to do apps out there, Clear has always been more Nintendo Wii or Switch than Xbox/Playstation/PC gaming.
Sure Nintendo doesn’t have up-rezzed F-Zero GX (awesome btw) or a more straightforward sweet modern Star Fox. But in exchange we have Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild/Tears of the Kingdom, Animal Crossing exploding, Splatoon, Pokémon Go that happened, etc. I’m very happy as a Nintendo fan myself right now, feels like a golden era and a result of them focusing on the right things overall this past decade or so.
Cannot overemphasize how important it is to maintain previous functionality and syncing across apple phone and iPad.
Last thing i would want to see is a lot of new “features” getting in the way of such a classically pure, beautiful app. I’d be happy to pay $50 a year to assure it just continues to work the way it has in the past, the app is that valuable to me.
In our defense, the original never launched with sync or reminders either. What it did launch with was vibrant colors, satisfying sound effects, quotes, etc. in addition to the core gestures. The new version covers that core original 1.0 functionality, which was probably responsible for about 75% of the app’s lifetimes sales.
Btw I’m not saying this to dismiss your basic point, which is to make sure we don’t ruin the simplicity. (Totally agreed.) More to remind that Clear is unique in that many of these gimmicks or more aesthetic features, I would argue, was always a part of its core functionality as well, in a way they aren’t for any other todo app.
I will get more into the simplicity request/worry in next week’s email but in short – most of the new things we are adding will be tucked away in Personalize menu. (Also the reason we are prioritizing some of these things is because they are not a year+ long development project like syncing is, and they are features that further lean into Clear’s unique angle vs. catching up with expected features to match the competition. I believe if we want to excite the world again with Clear as a tiny indie team, we really have to lean into our unique strengths and perspective to make maximum impact on relaunch.)
Probably most importantly, I want to emphasize that the plan of exploring personalization thoroughly for Clear also includes a world where you may be able to make Clear simpler than it ever was before, for your tastes and needs. That ultimate destination gives me a good amount of conviction we are exploring the right new dimension with personalization for new Clear.
Hey Claire, to be honest it will probably take a couple years to build back to sync with this next generation Clear. The current syncing codebase which is ancient, totally out of compliance with current ‘building codes’ and beyond efficiently fixing back up, was on a ticking timer to just stop working entirely.
This new syncing will be more robust and built to last if we can make it through this transition.
I know this all might sound kind of insane, but I swear for a small indie team, building a robust cloud syncing solution that people with lists for ten years are relying on… it’s a gigantic, year or two long lift with a huge amount of baggage moving forward to maintain multiple platform clients etc. In hindsight, taking this on too early with the original version was probably the biggest single decision that kind of stalled out its original momentum and we really do not want to repeat this again. (Biting it off before we’re ready.)