Like many ideas, the design of Steps began with a list. And like many lists, it started on paper, in a Moleskine notebook. This list was about things that current task managers do, and more imporantly, what they are not doing right. For an example, it asked why we need to spend so much time sorting, tagging and flagging tasks. It included thoughts about daily situations, like when you are waiting in the line of a coffeeshop and you just want to see what’s next on your to-do list. Soon, this list contained a whole a bunch of ideas and questions. At the top was a question:
Why do we need checkmarks?
To get right to the point: We think it’s time to say good bye to checkmarks. They are a relict of the 20th century. They belong to pen and paper, where they did a great job, for a very long time.
We have mobile, multi sensory, multi touch devices in our pockets. Why do we need ✔ to mark something as done? Isn’t there a better way to show what we have achieved? Isn’t there a better way to see what’s still up to do?
Steps uses two circles to show you which tasks are open and which are closed. One circle is full, like a full moon and one is empty, like an empty moon. We think this is elegant and simple. Some said it even has a little bit of Zen to it. What’s more important is, it indicates visually what is open and what is closed. It is dark and bright, even when you squint your eyes, and you can easily tap it off and on with your fingertip. As minimal it may seem, this was probably one of the most important design decisions we made.
This is the checkmark of the 21st century. And Steps is the first app using it.