The productivity app space yields what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches these days, but is there something for everyone amongst the goods?
iProcrastinate is a productivity/to do list app clearly geared toward students. It appears to be a one man show over at craigotis.com, but the results seem solid. My first experience for iProcrastinate was way back before a major UI redesign, and (I believe) while the app was originally available for the first generation jailbroken iPod touch.
The app has come a long way since then, but what does it have to offer in the ever expanding sea of productivity tools?
I believe that in order for a productivity tool to actually make you more productive, you have to use it (and enjoy using it). If a user interface is unpleasing, or difficult to use, you’re less likely to use it. Most of these things can be attributed to personal preference, which is why different apps work better for different people, but the fact remains that design is important.
The first thing that jumps out about iProcrastinate is the smooth, dark interface. I remember when the interface was quite unpleasant, and while it’s a significant improvement, its near-monochromatic sheen leaves some ease-on-the-eyes to be desired.
I certainly appreciate the dark, OS X compatible theme, but I can’t help but feel like with the compartmentalized UI design, a bit more contrast would be beneficial for ease of use.
Despite the flooding darkness, the user interface really is quite nice. It’s simple, compact, and keeps necessary information available a glance or, it some cases, not more than a click away.
I found iProcrastinate surprisingly intuitive: it took me only moments to fill it with tasks and I was able to start using it to get stuff done right away. The partitioned UI design organizes the useful information you need and essentially hides the information you don’t.
The left sidebar contains your smart groups (which can be entirely hidden, if you so choose) and your subjects. The central pane contains the tasks for the currently selected group or subject, with items due today appearing with orange detail, rather than green.
Finally, the right sidebar contains a steps pane, for breaking down your tasks, and a files pane, for attaching relevant materials that you may need to complete the task.
The app sets a (rather attractive) icon in your menu bar that provides a drop down menu displaying the day’s tasks, but the icon can be removed from within Preferences. Tasks are easily editable via a pop up editor, and allow items to be scheduled, repeated, and assigned priority.
If you need to see a comprehensive view of your monthly agenda, simply click the calendar button in the bottom left to bring up a color coded month calendar. You can show all subjects or certain subjects, as well has hiding completed items
Finally, iProcrastinate syncs with its mobile counterpart either via local Wi-Fi, or through Dropbox. I didn’t test out the mobile version of the client, but at first glance, it seems to be contiguous with the UI and aesthetic of the desktop version.
I will say that I appreciate the discrete pop-up sync pane–it seems as though the feature is useful yet lightweight.
iProcrastinate, despite a few flaws here and there, seems to be a solid productivity app. There are plenty of students who need to be organized, and plenty of organized GTD’ers out there, but is the market strong enough for a non-GTD app designed for students?
If my personal productivity mantra hadn’t become so rooted in the Getting Things Done philosophy over the past few years, I would seriously think about giving iProcrastinate a shot at becoming my go-to productivity app. As it stands, it isn’t all that well suited for the dedicated GTD mindset.
I’m curious about everyone else’s philosophy on UI design when it comes to to do list apps. Does it have to be visually appealing, or will you use whatever gets the job done?