To Do Apps to Go

As I continue to use Asana on my Macbook Air, it has become more apparent that the lack of a native mobile app is a huge detriment to my productivity. It appears as if Asana isn’t the only one lagging behind in the mobile game, as my Lifehack colleague CM Smith pointed out his woes with another popular task management app that has the same issues. There is no getting around it: when developers release a to do app of any sort, they need to make it mobile going forward – and they need to make sure it happens very early on in the game.

I’d go as far to say that if developers don’t release a native mobile version in tandem with a web or native desktop app, they are going to be having a huge problem with adoption and retention going forward. Never mind the actual usage of the app to its full potential.

I’ve talked about how I use Pop with Asana, but I’ve actually added another app to the mix, thanks to this tip by reader Jos van der Voort:

Captio let’s you take a small note and mails it to a preset email address. The email address it shoots the mail from is Send the mail from Captio to your own email address that is linked to your Asana account. Simply make a filter in your email program that forwards the mail from your account to Asana and bypasses your inbox in your email client. Each note you take will end up in your inbox in Asana. No copying and pasting required. Not all email clients will let you forward. Gmail does and although I use Postbox as my email client, this set up works fine with Gmail. Adding a little code in your email filter could even have your Captio notes end up in different workspaces and/or projects. Don’t forget that when you send the verification mail to Asana from Gmail (for authorization of the forward address) obviously there is no one on the other end to click the verification link. Asana is nice enough to tell you it cannot process the email by returning the email to you. In the email you find the verification link and the verification code and you can finalize the forwarding authorization process.”

While I’ve been using this tip, I can’t help but think that all of these little workarounds could be avoided if Asana had a fully-functional iOS version ready either at launch or very soon afterward. I realize that features are being added all the time and that there are going to be things behind the scenes of such a huge service that make this far less feasible, but I can’t help but think that based on how the iPhone app currently works that perhaps an iPad app might have been a better option considering how much screen space Asana can (and often does) require.

To do apps have to be able to be used efficiently and effectively on the go. OmniFocus has it nailed down (and a lot of users prefer to use the iOS versions more than the desktop one, so there’s that). The folks at 6Wunderkinder have seemingly built their suite of apps in tandem, and it’s proven to be a boon to their user adoption and retention. And I’m not suggesting that the mobile version that should be released in tandem needs to be iOS. Android can’t be left out of the game here. Nozbe is another example of a to do app that has focused on platform expansion just as much as it has on feature expansion within platforms. That leads to stability on existing platforms and an ability to add users by expanding beyond the base.

To anyone who is developing a to do app, I’d say you no longer have an option to develop for mobile at the same time you develop for the web or for the desktop if you want your app to be used – and successful.

So get going on that. Literally.

Photo credit: XN3CITY (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)