TechTalk: Wunderlist

TechTalk: Wunderlist

Posted by tbg | August 28, 2013 | TBG Wired Blog

I am a huge fan of to-do lists (to the point where I actually add completed tasks to the list after the fact just so I can cross them off). I am also a huge fan of Google. So it always made sense for me to use Google Calendar and Google Tasks to keep track of my projects and deadlines. While Google Tasks is great, I thought that in the vast, growing world of mobile apps there must be something better out there. After some research I came across Wunderlist.

 

According to the website, “Wunderlist is here to help you get things done. Whether you’re planning an overseas adventure, sharing a shopping list with a loved one or simply keeping track of your daily to-dos.” I downloaded the app to my phone, set up my account, and began exploring.

 

The first and most important benefit is that the app is compatible with both Androids and iPhones. As an Android user, I get very frustrated when I hear or read about some revolutionary app only to find out that it’s not compatible with Androids. Not only is this app compatible with both phones’ operating systems, but can also be used on your Mac, PC and online. I chose to explore it on my phone since many people use their mobile devices as their primary source of, well, everything.

 

The first thing I noticed after setting up my account was that Wunderlist already had several predetermined list categories – private, work, shopping, movies to watch, and wishlist. As I began adding tasks to my private and work lists, I noticed that the process of adding a task and including details (ex. date, notes, etc.) was, while easy, a little cumbersome. When setting a due date, for example, I had to scroll through months and dates. It didn’t show me the days of the week, so I had to look at another calendar outside of the app to figure out the date of next Friday. It also didn’t show me a calendar so I could set a due date for two weeks from now. While I’m sure some people could probably figure these things out easily in their heads, I am just not one of those people. So I thought that could definitely be improved.

 

After adding tasks, movies and shopping items to my various lists (and creating a new list for grocery shopping because, really, why wouldn’t they have a grocery list?!) I moved on to the “Today” and “Week” pages. These sort your tasks by, you guessed it, the ones due today and the ones due during this week. While this is really helpful for keeping an eye on upcoming tasks, I wished it would extend beyond just this week by showing tasks due throughout the month as well. Regardless, this feature is very handy.

 

The app also gives you the ability to share a list with someone else so they can collaborate on it by tracking or changing tasks. This is a great feature, especially for work lists. I decided to try it out by sharing my “Private” list with my friend KG. Unfortunately, it took several tries and a couple of hours for us to figure out how she could get access. Once in, she said, “I can edit it and put sub-tasks. I think it is well organized and visually appealing, but I don’t know what I would ever actually use it for.” Please note: KG is not quite the to-do list fanatic that I am.

 

By last night I managed to complete one of my tasks on my list: work out (yes, I have to put exercise on a to-do list). When I checked the little box on the left indicating completion, the task was transferred to the bottom of the screen under the “Completed Items” list. Though they allow you to show or hide this list, I would have to go into the specific task’s page and actually delete it if I wanted it completely gone. Not a huge deal, but I’m being nitpicky.

 

Overall, here are the pros I found while using Wunderlist:

+      Available on any operating system

+      Free, with the option of upgrading to a Pro level for a fee

+      Easy to sort tasks and other reminders into categories

+      Can be accessed on mobile device, computer and Internet

+      Allows for collaboration and sharing

+      Aesthetically pleasing

 

And the cons:

–       Doesn’t show days of the week or a calendar when setting a due date

–       When looking at the combined lists, it only shows tasks due today or this week

–       Difficult process to share list with others

–       Somewhat cumbersome to include details with tasks

 

Overall, I thought the app was visually appealing, well organized, easy to customize and useful for aggregating all of my various lists into one place. While there are some aspects that could be improved upon or added to (they could show the release dates for movies you want to see, for example), these are simple things that could be worked out in the next few versions.

 

Happy Hump Day!

Richellem09