After listening to the critique to Things, I have a sudden urge to try this out but soon got disappointed by absence of an Android or web app. Therefore I turned to its iTunes descriptions and screenshots instead. What I see is a great app solving the problem of everyday task scheduling in a manageable way, and I would like to talk about them in details. On the other hand, I begin to see some big issues with the application which will be brought out later on.
First is that its user interaction and interface is sharp and responsive. From their actual screen footage, its transitions are quick and sharp; and labels and controls are visually standing out, and therefore I think I will not get confused by the state of the app or not know what to do or how the app’s functions work. I appreciate their significant effort into user interaction, because as a task management app it serves to response to queries and commands from users. It is crucial to provide important information on time in Things. This is one, I think, that contributes to Things’ success.
Second is that its workflow is easy to understand. Things is to be used daily and needs to be handy when users just want to get things done quickly. Here I notice that its operations are minimal. On the home screen, users can choose to see tasks under different categories, sorted by their states (done vs. undone), dates and projects. Adding a to-do is as simple as tapping the plus icon, choose categories and pick due time. The scrolling calendar does not require one to tap on arrows to pick dates like in other to-do apps. Toggling the state of to-do items is handled by the box beside them, which are in short reach. There is no extra transition of screen and controls are appropriately placed at relevant places, and the path of workflow is short. Things is an app to be used everyday and its simplicity in workflow relief users from fatigue of manipulating their information. This is an important lesson to be learnt.
Third is about its integration with iOS system. Things is an app in Apple software ecosystem. It operates in Mac OS X, and three iOS devices. Integration with iOS functions was mentioned as a great feature of the app. It supports notifications, Handoff, sharing to-dos from or to other apps and Background Refresh. These makes the app seamlessly integrate into iOS workflow and develops user loyalty. It is a reasonable thing to look out for developing on iOS platform. It is not only enhancing app’s functions, but also make the app unalienable part in use of Apple devices. Therefore, Apple device users might consider installing the app every time they buy a new Mac or iOS device. This is a good way for Things to grow and sustain user base.
There is also a service provided, called Things Cloud. It is essentially a cloud storage for Things’ to-do items and it enables synchronisation across Apple devices. Things Cloud is invisible to users, which is a point that they can improved on. Since it supports pushing to Apple devices, it would be nicer to support other devices as well. Actually here is a solid use case: if one’s iPhone is out of power, and he or she needs to check out her to-do for emergency, the only option is to use others’ Apple devices or smartphones. It would be nice if there is a more cross-platform solution to this, such as a web app or Android app.
There is a Project category for to-dos, but it is still for personal use only and collaboration tasks have to be added manually. However, in order to support collaboration as suggested by the critique last night, Things Cloud needs real upgrades. The developers need to move some to-do management logic online. I would like to make a suggest for the developers to upgrade their infrastructure and support collaboration, so that they can extend to wider audience.
Other than that, I am looking forward to Things on Android very much.