There were some biases in our review of the benchmark task manager for Mac and iOS. The planner, for the sake of which some are ready to change their Samsungs to the same iPad and iPhone, turned out to be very difficult to assess objectively, but we will try.
What makes a good program different from a reference program? Why are there so many programs on the Apple platform that become examples in their categories? Let’s try to figure it out with a specific example – the Things task scheduler.
Things: for Mac / iPhone / iPad.
Everything is familiar to other programs – on the left is the zone selection panel, in the center is the workspace. Tags, input fields and all controls look exactly what the user expects.
Exactly the same interface is shown to the user when pressing the system hotkey for adding a task.
That is, having mastered the creation of a task once, the user can easily repeat it.
The next aspect is information content. See how easy it is to make hints in Things explaining the purpose of the different sections.
Navigation is also clear. All tasks are filtered by two criteria. To begin with, in the panel on the left you can select the required primary filter: by projects, by areas of responsibility, etc. Then, using the tags panel, you can select tasks that belong to one tag.
It is also important that dragging tasks between different sections of the left panel does exactly what is needed – changes the corresponding attribute of the task. No complicated dialog boxes, for example, for changing the owner of a task. Simple drag-and-drop (although in fact – there is a dialog box, for those who prefer this way).
The next feature of good programs is unobtrusiveness, but not at the expense of information content. This is what a due date task looks like in Things.
Due to the general restraint of the interface, there is no need for bright “eye-catching” colors, special effects and other ways to attract the user’s attention.
Another essential feature is integration with OS services. For example, Things can sync with iCal, attach files to tasks, and much more.
Let’s move on to the mobile version of the task manager for iPhone. The peculiarity of the iPhone development is that it is necessary to fit the maximum comfort into the minimum of the screen area. How does Cultured Code deal with this?
For example, the main “home” screen of Things for iPhone.
Total compliance with HIG, but at the same time – correct adherence to the “gradual descent” paradigm. At the top level, we have various filters by task types, persons, etc.
The next level contains lists of tasks corresponding to a category. Finally, at the last level, there is a specific task with all its details.
Each level has its own controls that allow you to manipulate the corresponding levels. In the task view, these are different options for moving and editing it.
In the view of the list of tasks – more general operations.
Small “touches” look just brilliant. When you click on the arrow for transferring tasks – to the left of the tasks, arrow buttons appear for selecting an action. When you click on a star – buttons with asterisks.
The task input window has also been “verified”.
Initially – strict minimalism, just so that everything fits on a half-screen, taking into account the keyboard, everything else is opened after pressing a separate button.
Now – a planner for iPad. Many developers make a rather serious mistake here, and the iPad application looks like a “bloated” iPhone application, and there is a lot of room left to “walk”. In this case, it is necessary to “master” the enlarged iPad screen with its 10 ″ diagonal, but at the same time – to preserve the continuity of the interface with the iPhone version of the task manager. How does Things deal with it? Fine!
Here, the interface pattern popular on the iPad is used, when in portrait orientation, to select sections, you need to press a separate button that opens a popup with a list.
Thus, you can immediately select the required level of viewing detail.
At the same time, all the main controls and their location are clearly preserved and coincide with the iPhone version.
And the last thing I would like to note is that any program of this level simply must have synchronization in order to create a single ecosystem for the user, allowing him to conveniently work with the same data on different devices. After all, it is clear that a convenient ecosystem for a software user is built on such components: the unity of the interface, the unity of the data processed in it, and the unity with other services of operating systems.
Things allows you to sync over your local network using bonjour, although work has been underway on cloud sync lately.
That is why programs like Things occupy such a large place in their niche, displacing almost all competitors from there.
Things: for Mac / iPhone / iPad.