I’m always on the lookout for ways technology can help me stay organized and traditionally I’m not a big fan of to-do list apps. You’d think that would be a recipe for lots of sticky notes on my desk (and it is) but there’s a new app making a big stink recently and it just might have what it takes to make a convert out of me.
I think the reason why there are so many to-do list apps in the app store is because the idea of having a list of everything you need to get done with you at all times is so appealing. Let nothing slip through the cracks, eliminate notes taped up everywhere–perfect harmony in your life, right? The problem is, many of these apps are too cumbersome. They bog down a person’s organizational process to the point where it’s not worth the time and effort required to input items or find lists quickly–after all, writing on a sticky note takes just a few seconds in comparison.
Enter Clear, the super simple to-do list app for the iPhone. At first it was hard to believe so many people were talking about a to-do list app, but when I downloaded it and saw it for myself I was pretty blown away. I’d been reading up about the cool interface for a few days and it really is pretty awesome. I absolutely love the color schemes. Most apps are just the way they are “out-of-the-box” with no thought given to personalization, so it’s refreshing to have the ability to match the app to my own personality. The default reds and oranges of “Heatmap” are nice and bright and seem to correctly capture the importance of each item on the list. I’m also a big fan of the grassy green hues of the “Lucky Clover” theme.
Clear is all about ease-of-use and speed. By eliminating traditional buttons and things like check boxes, the developers not only achieved a unique feel for their app but also created a clutter-free interface that is perfectly at home in a touch screen environment. Nice use of pinching and swiping in addition to the defacto tapping action combines for easy navigation between the three levels: the main menu, lists and list items. Simply swipe an item left to delete it, swipe it right to mark it as complete, pull the screen down to add an item and pinch the screen to go up a level (or back a screen).
Although Clear has an unusual interface (in a good way), it’s easy to master thanks to a great tutorial that’s as simple as the app itself. Ingeniously, Clear comes with one pre-loaded list that teaches you how to use the program. I’d say it takes less than a minute to fully and completely understand what to do.
I love the sounds Clear makes. The app just wouldn’t have been complete without them. They are cheery and satisfying and, to me at least, are a perfect example of the attention to detail the developers paid to make Clear a stand-out in the app store.
While the app is basically perfect as it is, I suppose I could bring up a couple of very minor frustrations. One is that on the screen that lists your lists, you have to click on the number (of items the list contains) to the side of the list to open that list. If you click on the name itself it brings up the keyboard to rename the list. Not really a big deal.
The other is that length of list items are limited to the width of the screen which has two implications. First, I have to think harder about how to abbreviate items that won’t fit (good for fighting Alzheimer’s though) and second, it’s almost too simple in that one regard. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to describe complicated to-do items in so few characters.
There’s only one feature I really wish Clear had: voice integration. I’m so used to using Siri to create calendar reminders without typing that I’ve become lazy and want to type as little as possible.
The bottom line: Clear is the only to-do list app for the iPhone I actually see myself using. Why? It’s convenient, colorful and easy to use. It’s fast, it’s not bloated and I don’t have to over think when I use it. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles and I like that. Take it from a guy who always wanted to like a to-do list app but never found one usable until now: buy Clear immediately. At $.99, the price is right even if you end up not liking it as much as me.