The Daily App: Clear -- Beautiful and Simple To-Do Lists
There's your normal to-do list software, and then there's Clear: a visually appealing work-of-art of a task management app.
The to-do list is inherently a simple concept and practice: you make a list of things you need to do, and then you cross them off as they're completed. Clean. Simple. No fuss. But as a myriad of ways "hack" our time and productivity in an increasingly harried world, keeping a to-do list has also evolved in complexity. Fortunately, a set of apps cater a breed of lifehacker -- those that attach priority levels, time frames, location and task dependencies and domains to each item on a list of things to get done.
But managing sprawling to-do lists is a massive chore in and of itself. Longing for a cleaner and simpler interface? Not to mention a lot prettier to look at? Then Clear is for you.
What's the App?
Clear, created for the iPhone by Realmac Software, does away with all the unnecessary bells and whistles of many high-end task management apps, cutting through the clutter with a colorful, elegantly simple interface. The basis of inspiration of the design is the simple piece of paper -- you simply add a task by tapping and typing, just as you would with Notepad. You can keep multiple lists for separate sets of tasks, like shopping, work or home. Within each list, you can rearrange items in order of priority.
It doesn't sound particularly sophisticated, but the magic of Clear is in the ingenuous, intuitive use of gestures to interact with the app. It takes advantage of the iPhone's touch controls to create beautifully intuitive interaction with your information. A swipe to the right, for example, crosses off an item off your list, mimicking the real gesture of scratching off a task, while pulling down an item creates space to add another. A pinch gesture squeezes shut the list you're in, and brings you back to the main screen -- no need to press a button to get there.
It also scores high on visuals, which are clean, simple and uncluttered. All tasks can only take up one line of text -- some may see this as a hindrance, but it does keep the list elegant and minimal. You can also change the color palette of each list, but the most important, top-level tasks are shaded the darkest no matter what the color, while the less pressing to-do items are highlighted within lighter bars.
For $3 with a plethora of free options, Clear is a more difficult sell, but it's just a sheer pleasure to work with, taking full advantage of the ease of touch screens while being a joy to look at.
You'll Want It If...
You're visually oriented, love the original "gee-whiz" feeling of the iPhone and want a way to deal with a to-do list that feels fun and not a chore in and of itself. Or you seek an "Oh, pretty" primal reaction in all your app choices -- Clear will give it to you in spades. If you seek a certain Zen calm and peace in life, you'll enjoy it, since it helps keep you productive without a lot of undue stress that overly complicated task management solutions inadvertently create.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Clear's sound effects can be annoying, a surprising oversight in an otherwise thoughtfully crafted app. If you have complex project tasks, or you need to share productivity lists with groups, it won't be a good fit for you. It doesn't come with features like alarms, for instance, or the ability to set location, create priority levels or attach more data to each item.
If you're looking for more functionality, take a look at Wunderlist for a step up in complexity. Evernote also works beautifully, especially in group project management scenarios. And if you need an essential to-do list app on steroids, OmniFocus has emerged to gain a coterie of devotees, who gravitate towards the ability to attach locations to tasks, organize them both by context and projects and give them a timeline through alerts and notifications. ♦
Categories: Productivity | The Daily App