Lists, almost everybody uses them — heck, I’m addicted to them. Despite the widening prevalence of iOS devices in the daily workflow, good old notebooks have always been my personal preference for creating lists of any kind. The reason? One-thirds nostalgia, two-thirds indecisiveness. You see, there are an abundance of list making and GTD apps out there, but none have peaked my interest enough to replace the notebook, until now.
I know what you’re thinking: you already have a great app for organisation, à la OmniFocus and Things, so why would you want another icon cluttering your home-screen? Simple. Lists are not supposed to be complicated, lists are made on the fly, lists don’t need planning. Checkboxes and push notifications are great but, simply put, it’s overkill for list-making. Ita knows its purpose and provides just enough functionality to make it a must-have app.
Usually I wouldn’t start a review with synchronisation features, but the first thing you see upon opening Ita is a big welcome and your storage options. My lists are largely created on the iPad but it’s very impractical to take the device shopping, for instance. However, thanks to Ita’s iCloud integration and the fact that it’s a Universal app, lists are available across all devices and go wherever you go. Don’t have an iPad? Don’t use iCloud? Don’t despair, simply tap Local when first opening the app or visit Settings.
Creating & Managing Your Lists
Ita is not a task manager, nor does it pretend to be, and that is the greatest thing about it. There is no visual clutter to distract or fancy features that may sound cool but you never use — only great tools for making lists of any kind. To get started, simply tap the “+” button from the start screen to reveal a mock envelope template to name the list.
Formulating your list is seamless, just start typing your terms right from the off to get started and then tap return to immediately begin the next line. It really is as simple as that, the only downside for me is the way in which newly listed items enter above existing entries rather than descending below them. Editing and moving the contents of a list is possible by swiping over the desired to reveal the options shown below.
Unlike on the iPad, listed items can only be edited one by one by swiping across them. From here you can re-order, edit and remove your selected items. As I mentioned, newly created entries automatically supersede older ones, so if you’d like to re-order them, tap and hold your desired item until it turns maroon then drag to where you want. It couldn’t be easier. More options are available from the arrow button on the bottom left of the screen, including the ability to email and message your lists.
A killer feature that negates the need for a checkbox is the tap to complete option. Most of the lists I personally use are not necessarily of a “to-do” nature, yet it is still useful to keep track of completed items. For example, my favourite list in Ita is a “Movies to See” entry, and every time I’ve seen one of the listed films I simply tap the relevant entry and it moves to the bottom of the list in transparent text. Conversely, to reopen an item as “incomplete,” just tap once more and it will return to its full opacity.
In the same vein as ordering items within a list, ordering the lists themselves is done by tapping until highlighted and then dragging to the appropriate position. All in all, creating and managing whatever it is you want to list couldn’t be more straightforward, in fact, Ita makes the whole process enjoyable and beautiful to look at with some cool design elements.
Great Functionality and Beautiful Design
Functionality wise, Ita is fantastic — bare bones but quality, and the design is equally as great. Ita’s developers could be deemed to have a taken a risk with their style choices for the app by implementing elements of skeuomorphism into the very fabric of Ita’s user interface. Apple’s inclusion of the style in the iCal and Address Book apps for OSX sparked a hot debate regarding the style, but Ita pulls it off perfectly.
The faux-manila envelope style throughout Ita is beautiful and definitely appeals to the nostalgic side of my taste. Unlike Apple’s faux-stitching in iCal, the interface of Ita really works and makes the app great to use and also to look at. An optional feature is list aging. the more you open and edit a list, Ita automatically applies wear and tear blemishes to the “paper.” This effect syncs across all your devices so each list looks the same! Though it is quite a cool feature, I decided to turn it off after a while, and if you’d like to do the same just go to the Settings app.
The Perfect List App?
I have tried many apps to manage my lists but not a single one comes close to the quality of Ita. The combination of simplicity, minimalism, a beautiful interface and iCloud support make this an indispensable app for those of us who love making lists. A useful feature I’d like to see in an update is the ability to export selected items from one list to another or a copy and paste style ability, though not essential it would be a great addition. Ita has become one of the most used and integral apps on my iPhone, and at $1.99 its a total steal.