Almost all of our favorite to-do list apps these days have cloud components, either in the form of a free or pay-to-use browser-access service, or Mac/iOS apps that sync over the air with a pay-per-year plan (not to mention the future implications of iCloud). But what about a free-to-use system with Mac, iOS, and web browser access?
Enter NotifyMe, a cloud based to-do app for Mac and iOS from the folks over at PoweryBase. Once the apps for each device are purchased, the syncing service is free to use, and data is stored in the cloud for easy access from any computer via a browser portal. So how does NotifyMe stack up?
NotifyMe has a clean and easy to understand interface, with unique and colorful icons for quick visual cues. In fact, its bold simplicity and use of uncluttered space reminds me a bit of the interface of the journaling app Day One. While the interface is simplistic, most of the power of NotifyMe is under the hood, which we’ll discuss later.
The toolbar contains a precious few buttons, mostly for task (referred to as “reminders”) input. The Quick Entry can be mapped to a global hotkey for on-the-fly input, while the remaining buttons located in the middle of the toolbar create, edit, and remove tasks respectively. The toolbar also contains easy access to a Sync button, as well as the Preferences Menu (more on that later).
The sidebar contains two tiers of organization: chronologically and categorically. The first three options organize your reminders chronologically. You can view your upcoming reminders, as well as recently completed entries. Below that is a breakdown of your reminders by category, with a series of default categories and the option of creating new ones. The icons denoting these categories, while distinctively different from the native OS X style iconage, are still pretty cool looking. Located at the bottom of the sidebar is an activity monitor, letting you know when the app is syncing with the server.
The body of the window–where your reminders are displayed–use wide bars with clear information regarding chronology, task, and category. A task will appear red if it is overdue, black if it is “upcoming” and may require swift attention, and grayed out if its content won’t be relevant until a future date.
I’ll come right out and say it: NotifyMe’s Mac client leaves a little to be desired in the interface department. The caveat, though, is that this is only the case on OS X because the iOS versions of the app are both absolutely spot-on beautiful. As a last note on interface, the saving grace here is that PoweryBase designed the web-app in a similar fashion to the iOS apps, so you can still experience that well-crafted and unique user interface
As I mentioned previously, the power behind NotifyMe’s organization is well hidden behind the scenes. A global hotkey can launch the Quick Entry pane, which presents you simply with a field to input the main content of a task.
While a lot of quick entry features in other to-do list apps might leave you with an inbox full of tasks that need attributes, the Preferences window can be used to define preset parameters for your Quick Entry tasks, allowing you to input a reminder that will integrate into your workflow, rather than making a note of a task that you’ll have to flesh out later.
The depth doesn’t stop there, though. Clicking the down arrow below the text field on the Quick Entry window will reveal a series of fields outlining the details of your task. This is also accessible by clicking the New Entry button on the toolbar of the main window.
As you can see, each item gets a due date, repeating parameters, a pre-alert, a category, snooze commands, and even its own melody for reminder alerts. You thought you were organized with tags and color codes, how about aural organization? All of these parameters can be edited after the creation of the task.
The account management tab of the Preferences window allows you to set options for Growl notifications, push notifications for iOS versions, iCal syncing, password protection, and even the sharing of tasks among other users, making NotifyMe a useful tool for collaborative productivity.
Most of my favorite productivity apps were first created a long time ago (in Internet years, of course), and as a result, have had to adopt cloud storage/syncing into their original architecture. NotifyMe has the advantage here, being so relatively young, of being built from the ground up to be a cloud-based app. The integration with iCal, Growl, and it’s collaborative features serve to make NotifyMe a strong contender in the productivity game.
What are your thoughts on cloud-based productivity?