I’m happy to announce that Sooner Or Later Version 3 is available in the Windows Store today!
This version is available on Windows 10 Mobile devices, and fixes the compatibility problems of version 2 (which was designed for Windows Phone 8) running on Windows 10.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you upgrade to version 3 is that the user interface has been updated to a more modern look.
But this is not just a pretty makeover!
The new user interface has been optimized to make you even more efficient.
You’ll typically need fewer gestures to accomplish the same tasks.
To explain the improvements, I’ll walk you through the major components of the user interface.
The Navigation Bar
We’ll start with the top navigation bar, which lets you switch between task categories such as Soon and Later.
In version 2, which was originally written for Windows Phone 7 more than five years ago, Sooner Or Later sported what’s called a “pivot control”.
To navigate between categories, you would either tap on a category word or swipe anywhere on the page to cycle through each category.
Since all of the categories didn’t fit on the screen at once, you may have needed to scroll sideways to reveal a category before you can tap on it (like the “complete” category).
In version 3, the pivot control is replaced with a tab control sporting icons instead of just text.
Simply tap on an icon to navigate directly to that category.
Since all of the categories are visible at once, you can navigate to any category with a single tap without having to scroll sideways to reveal some of the categories as in Version 2.
One tradeoff is that you can no longer swipe anywhere on the screen to cycle between the tab categories.
Instead, swiping on the screen is used to perorm actions on individual tasks listed on the screen. More on that later.
But, you can still change categories by swiping on the floating “+” button at the bottom of the screen, which is nice for one-handed use.
The Menu Bar
Next, we’ll move to the menu bar down at the bottom of the screen.
The menu bar has a button to add a new task (the “+” button), and another button that expands to show less frequently used menu options (the “…” button).
In version 2, the menu bar looked like this:
The version 3 menu bar includes the same buttons in the same positions, but instead of a gray rectangle behind the buttons, the buttons “float” over the user interface so you get to see more of your tasks behind them.
The Undo Button (New)
Version 3 also includes a new “Undo” button that appears after you change a task, for example, by postponing a task from Soon to Later.
Simply tap the undo button on the left side of the menu bar to undo your change.
The Task List
Now let’s move on to the list of tasks that occupies the majority of the screen.
Version 2 displayed a vertically scrolling list of your task names. The look was very clean, with absolutely no clutter.
Version 3 is almost identical, with the exception that there is a small bullet to the left of items in the Soon list—the new “focus” button.
The Focus Button
The focus button is an important feature of the Context-Focus System as implemented by Sooner Or Later.
Tap the focus button to bring a task to the top of your Soon list.
Tap the button again to un-focus a task.
Focused tasks are displayed first in the Soon list using a bold font, while the rest of the tasks below are dimmed. (Focused tasks also show first on the Live Tile.)
In version 2, you focused on a task by first tapping the task to open the command bar and then tapping the focus button on the command bar.
In version 3, simply tap the bullet to the left of the task to focus on it. One tap instead of two for this frequently-used action!
The Command Bar
Next up is the command bar, which is displayed when you tap to select a task in the list.
In version 2, the command bar appears just below the selected item.
Version 3 is virtually identical, except that the focus button and the commands that are duplicated by a swipe action have been removed, and the order of the commands now matches the order of the categories on the navigation bar.
[NOTE: Based on feedback, I will add the swipe commands back to the command bar for those who prefer not to swipe. Look for that update coming soon!]
In version 2, swiping left or right on the task list changed the task list to a different category, e.g., from Soon to Later.
In version 3, swiping left or right on the task list performs an action on the task under your finger.
Swipe left or right on a task to reveal the action that will be performed if you release your finger.
If you start to swipe on a task and then change your mind, just reverse your swipe (without removing your finger from the screen) until the swipe action dims and then release your finger.
For example, swipe to the right on an task in the Soon list to complete that task.
Or, swipe left on the task to postpone it to tomorrow.
With a little practice, you’ll be swiping through your Soon list in record time!
And of course, you can always tap the new “Undo” button that appears on the menu bar in case of an accidental swipe.
In version 3, if you start swiping near the edge of the screen and continue your swipe across about 2/3 of the screen, an extended or “long” swipe shortcut command may be revealed.
Try a long swipe to the left on a Soon item as a shortcut to postpone an item using the new date picker!
It may be helpful to remember that swiping left always moves tasks further into the future (away from complete), while swiping to the right always moves tasks closer to completion.
In fact, the entire user interface is organized this way. The buttons on the tab bar, the buttons on the command bar, and the direction of the swipes are all consistent.
Left postpones further into the future, and right moves toward completion.
The Date Picker
In version 2, you picked a date by scrolling several independent controls–one each for the day, month, and year.
Things could get tricky around the end of the month when you had to remember to manually move to the next month after the day wrapped around to the 1st.
Version 3 uses the new Windows 10 calendar date picker.
The first available date displayed on the calendar is tomorrow, and you can scroll forward if you need to postpone an item for more than a month.
I think you’ll find this makes it much easier to visualize the date and, for example, select the upcoming weekend or one week from today.
The Empty List
In version 2, when you completed your Soon list, you got a smiley face.
In version 3, you get additional statistics, including how many tasks you completed that day and how many days in a row you emptied your Soon list.
Higher streak counts unlock different pictures for a little extra incentive and some bragging rights.
The Live Tile
In version 2, the Live Tile displayed the top items on your Soon list along with a number indicating the total count of items in your Soon list.
The tile was designed to match the look of the Outlook and Calendar tiles on your phone, so it would fit in nicely on your Start screen.
Version 3 also has a Live Tile that shows the same information.
The Live Tile has been redesigned to match the new Outlook and Calendar tiles in Windows 10, so once again it looks right at home on your Start screen.
The new version 3 user interface for Sooner Or Later is much more than just a pretty makeover.
The new swipe gestures and the one-tap focus button make Sooner Or Later more efficient to use than ever.
And new features like the undo button and the improved date picker make the experience more enjoyable, too!
Get the important things done, and have fun!