I wrote a blog post asking about how much customization we should enable for colors in Workflowy, and got a lot of great feedback, so thanks. It has changed my thinking on this cluster of features, here’s an update.
A random sample of the feedback
- People really want to highlight and color specific segments of text.
- Tags are more useful than direct node/bullet coloring
- The design for coloring bullets was much too subtle, and wouldn’t accomplish the goal of having items “pop” visually.
- A lot of people asked, “Why are you doing this? What are the use cases?”
- There wasn’t a clear winner (to me) between “I’d like to customize a lot” and “Keep it ridiculously simple”
- Power users kept bringing up how they do custom CSS already, what’s the point?
Updated priorities for colors
- Tag colors
- Text coloring and highlighting
- Native support for custom CSS, and better classes (Ultimately I’d want these to be shareable, and in discreet chunks, so normals can make use of it)
I’m hoping to do these relatively quickly in a non-perfectionistic process. And then we can move onto some fun features like search nodes. Maybe we’ll even finish dates. Or add a big picture of my face to the background of everyone’s Workflowy accounts. You do realize that’s 90% going to happen, right? I’m going to do it right in the middle of your next big meeting.
The use cases for color
Let me address the question “Why add color? What are the use cases?” I have two use cases in mind, based on prior conversations with users:
- Add visual meaning to enable scanning, vs reading. You could say, “Make important things pop” but I think there is more than that. I think visual distinctions between types of things is powerful. It lets you do things like visually scan for stuff relevant to the home vs. at the office, and scan a list to see what’s appropriate right now.
- Interior decorating. People both want to make Workflowy feel like home, and to make particular parts of it feel appropriate to their uses. This is more like theming for specific spaces, but think about things like Notion’s emojis and header images. It also includes overall styling of the workspace.
I’m more focused on the first use case at the moment, though custom CSS is useful for both.
Alrighty, that’s it for now. Please let me know if you think this is dumb. Or not dumb. Or if I’m missing something important. Or if you think my whole life is folly. Or if you need my address because you want to mail me some ice cream.
Also: I like to draw, but don’t have time or reason to normally do it. So I’ve decided to add 1 minutes sketches like the one above to some posts.