Irrespective of the platform, productivity and task management apps get my attention all the time. I’ve settled down comfortably using Wunderlist in all my devices. Still, I download and try every task management app that I come across. Mobile-only task management apps tend to go the way of Dodo, except for a handful. In the recent past, I’ve been following Any.DO with fervent interest.
Any.DO was first launched in the Android market and got instant recognition for sporting one of the best user interfaces in the ecosystem. Simple to use, an intuitive user interface and the unbeatable price tag has propelled the app to stratospheric heights. With the launch of the iPhone app, they are entering the crowded productivity segment. Can they make it big in the Lion’s den?
Any.DO comes with one of the best getting started wizards I’ve come across amongst iOS apps. A quick video giving you step-by-step instructions to use the app adorns the launch screen. To sync between the Chrome plugin and the Android app, you’ll have to login using an Any.DO account (you can create one from the app) or use your Facebook account info. I skipped that part and dove right into creating and managing tasks.
The pre populated task list is great for understanding the entire functionality blow by blow. Plus one for applying thought every step of the way, team Any.DO! However, it would be great if we could clear the screen in one click.
Any.DO, while not completely gesture driven, has got enough in its kitty to keep us all happy.
Tasks can be added by swiping from the top (it’s similar to the pull to refresh gesture). You can either type the task or dictate it to the device directly. Interestingly, the app auto suggests common tasks as you start typing. For instance, I started typing “Do L” and bunch of helpful suggestions popped up on the screen. A smart implementation of a simple idea we use everyday in search engines.
Reminders can be set to alert you about the task, and it works just like every other reminder you set in iOS. A notable addition here is the option to share a task with others. If you are logged into your Any.DO account, you can share it with your friends; if not, you can share the same via Twitter or Facebook.
That isn’t all. There are still some cool actions you can perform to define the importance of a task. In the list of tasks screen, tap on a task to bring up the icons to add notes, priority or to move it to a relevant folder.
As I noted earlier, a pull action lets you create tasks either by manual entry or by dictation. However, if you would like to dictate tasks straight away, just pull down and hold for a few seconds to bring up the dictation screen.
We have a couple of gestures to perform task level actions too. Tap on a task and hold it to move it around the list. Once the task is done, swipe to the right to mark it as complete and go eat a brownie!
Folders and completed tasks can be accessed by swiping at the lower end of the screen.
Most to-do apps fail to take advantage of the landscape mode. At best, they all tend to show the same portrait mode UI, except that it might be stretched a bit. That’s not what Any.DO does, though.
Tasks can be accessed either by day or folders in the landscape mode. The day view sports a cool calendar to the left and the tasks to the right. Tap on a day and all tasks planned for the day will show up. The number of tasks for each day in the calendar are marked by tiny dots below the date. It’s not a very effective way of conveying the work load for the day, and it would be great if they come up with a better way to represent outstanding tasks.
The folder view in the landscape mode is a bit confusing. There is no way you could see the tasks associated with a single folder. If you tap on a folder, the folder next to it is automatically selected and the tasks from the both the folders are displayed. Weird!
Before getting into the possibility of Any.DO making it big in the app store ecosystem, we should pay close attention to their overall game plan. Any great task management app can be trashed mercilessly if it doesn’t support cloud sync or have a mobile app. The Any.DO team has hacked together a working sync solution between the Android and iPhone versions.
And there is a full blown web app in development. So they are in for a long haul and rest assured your productivity plans are in good hands. As for making it big in the App Store, I bet the clean interface, swanky gestures and the fact that you don’t have to pay a dime should take care of it.