Todoist’s initial foray into iOS app development resulted in a somewhat-functional, unsightly app that was basically the mobile version of the website with offline capability. Users, myself included, clamored for a more viable iOS solution. The web app is so beautifully simplistic and functional, many users questioned if the Doist team could bring the best of the web app to an iOS model.
A few months back, the Doist team answered the call with a brand new iPhone version. How well does this iOS app live up to its web counterpart? Read on to find out.
The Doist team really hit it out of the park with the design and UI. The dark theme is slick and attractive, and navigating the app is fluid and natural. You move around by sliding your finger across the screen to the right or tapping the icon in the top left. This reveals all of the options to navigate the app, including shortcuts to the Today list, the Next 7 Days list, Projects, Labels and Filters. This is nice because navigating the app does not require moving through multiple levels of hierarchy — all of the options are always a slide or tap away.
The Today and Next 7 Days lists have clear headings that divide tasks by the date they are due. The tasks are automatically sorted by priority under each heading, but can be moved around manually by tapping and holding the task and dragging it to a new spot (this same method applies to rearranging tasks in any list).
The Today list. Notice the headers for dividing tasks by due date.
The projects are presented in the same order with the same hierarchy as the web app. All of the options for rearranging and editing projects avaialbe on the web app are also available on the iPhone. The same goes for labels — all of the functionality from the web have been successfully ported to the iOS version, including changing colors for the labels.
Project view in Todoist. Projects display the same as the web app.
If the predefined shortcuts and filters are not enough for you, Todoist offers very versatile filtering options. Tapping of the filter icon reveals several predetermined filters for task priority and tasks without a due date (these can also be deleted). In theory, you can also add your own filters and filter tasks by any combination of due date, priority and label. Creating the filters is as easy as learning some very simple queries and instructions for the queries are in the app. I say “in theory,” because there seems to be a bug when creating filters with multiple queries. Hopefully this will be fixed soon because it is potentially a great feature.
Filter creation is potentially quite powerful, but seems to have a bug right now.
The tasks themselves have a clean, uncluttered look. There are no checkboxes and icons appear small and unobtrusive. The text of the task wraps to the next line instead of being cut off after one line. This seems like a small thing, but I love being able to see the text for the whole task without actually opening the task. Simply tapping a task reveals the task editing options (including completing the task).
Todoist also performs basic functions like adding tasks well. The plus icon for adding tasks is available on every list screen. Tapping the plus icon brings up the interface for adding tasks. The content box recognizes syntax for adding reminders. For example input “<remind tomorrow at 8 am>” in the content box to make a reminder for the task. Text formatting is also supported using the same syntax from the web app (e.g. !! this text is bold !!). You can also type in task due date information using natural language queries like “tom at 8 am” or “2-22″. Selecting projects, labels, and indenting tasks is also very straightforward. It would be nice if adding priorities and labels using the website syntax were also supported in future versions.
Some features such as push notifications and task notes are only available with a Todoist Pro account. There is also a free account option.
Before I start griping, let me reiterate that the foundations for this app are very solid. All of my gripes have to do with missing functionality that can be implemented into future versions without extensively altering the basic framework of the app. Now that I have the disclaimer out of the way, let me get to griping.
The Todoist Today list needs to have the same default sorting as the web app. Consistency here is important because it helps users know how to find the task they are looking for and get an overview of the day the same way across platforms. The web app puts all tasks with a due time at the top in chronological order and then sorts by priority. The iPhone app should do the same.
Notifcation implementation is also substandard. Currently, mobile notifications are not really notifications at all because there is no sound or vibration. I have missed notifications several times because of this and actually decided to go back to email notifications. Additionally, swiping a notification in the lock screen does not bring you to the task in the app.
Todoist for iPhone also needs to find a better way to handle nested tasks. There is no way to expand and collapse nested lists. An even bigger problem is that tasks nested under a main task with a due date do not show up in the Today list. Users have no way of knowing if a task contains nested tasks, consequently it is very easy to miss tasks.
I have also run into so other frustrations using the app. First, there is no icon to denote which tasks have notes. This means you either have to remember which tasks have notes (which is never going to happen for me) or check each one to see if it has associated notes. Second, many of the iOS task managers I have used allow for editing multiple tasks at the same time, and I have missed this functionality in Todoist. Finally, the inability to sort project lists is a quite annoying.
Have you ever used an app that you liked, but also found extremely frustrating because of its untapped potential? That’s the way I feel using Todoist. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the app has been newly redesigned from the ground up and should be considered a 1.0 even though it is listed as a 5.2. The challenge for the developers is going to be retaining the beauty and simplicity of the app while adding additional functionality such as better support for nested tasks.
Have you been using the Todoist iPhone app? What is your experience? What to do list app to you prefer? Let us know in the comments!