The world of task managers, todo lists, and list makers is always crowded with really good choices. It’s hard to make the right choice, especially for someone else, and it all depends on what you need out of your task manager. I’ve detailed some of the things I’d like my task manager to do, the void which is yet to be filled.
TeuxDeux was a web based task manager, introduced late in the year 2009. It had a fresh new user interface, that presented itself as a weekly planner. You didn’t have to deal with dates, groups, tags, search, or any of those other ‘features’. It was pure list making, but with the ability to schedule those lists. But it was a web application, and in the age of the iPhone, there can hardly be a useful todo manager which doesn’t have a native presence on the iPhone. Moreover, the web service wasn’t even iPhone optimised, so you couldn’t imagine using it. The team promised an iPhone app, and it’s finally here.
TeuxDeux for iPhone stays true to its goal — rapidly planning your days. Just keep entering items for the given day, and you have a good looking list. The general look and feel is far from the native iPhone user interface, but it looks good. Helvetica lovers will love this.
Interaction is very straightforward. Swipe sideways to switch days, and double tap the day header to come back to today. You can drag and drop list items into the scrolly date carousel below, which allows you to quickly reorganise your days. Even drag items into Someday for the tasks you don’t want to attend to in your flow. Tap a task to mark it done. Tap it to mark undone. All of these changes of course, are synced up to the cloud, so when you view the website on your desktop, it’s all there.
One of the things I like about TeuxDeux, is that you don’t need to worry about tasks overflowing into the past. If you don’t complete a task from ‘today’, it will merely show up in your Today list for the next day, accumulating tasks as you go. This is kind of like the “next” view in your GTD app, except TeuxDeux (web) gives you a much broader view of how you want to organise your week.
The web app itself is fairly polished. You can drag and drop tasks around your week, or into someday list. To edit a task, just drag it back to its text box. It’s very fluid, and light weight, and the strong force behind this app. If you’re not happy with the web app, it’s no point getting yourself into the iPhone app flow.
One feature unique to TeuxDeux for iPhone allows, is multiple accounts. I didn’t think of a use case for this until they suggested it. This allows you to add tasks to your spouse’s list, or maintain multiple accounts for the various facets of your life.
There are some sucky things about the iPhone app. For instance, the scrolling list is non-native, so it has no rubber banding effect (more annoying than you’d imagine). The sync button doesn’t animate, though you sometimes see a spinner overlayed on your screen. And it takes up the whole screen, so you don’t see your iPhone’s status bar. I also hate that you have to wait for it to sync (on launch) before you can start interacting with the app. It does, thankfully, work offline. These are all minor issues, but painful, especially considering the competition has such fluid user interfaces.
At the end of the day, TeuxDeux is still meant to be used largely as a web app on the desktop. The wide week’s view is its USP, and the iPhone app feels more like an extension to that experience. If you’re comfortable using web apps, you should give Teux Deux a try. If you like it, the $2.99 iPhone app is the perfect companion.