• Tasks and To-Do: Wunderlist 2 really is wunderful!

    I like things that are complex but are simplistic to interact with. The iPhone is a great example of that. One of the most complicated little things on the planet, yet pretty much anyone from a three year old to your grandma can pick one up and use it. Our Audi A3 is another example of having features that help you out, are probably very complicated to engineer, but don’t get in the way of the joy of driving. For example, the door mirrors have heaters built into them to melt frost, ice or snow. But there’s no button to switch them on or off. In fact if you hadn’t read the user manual, you wouldn’t even know that they were heated. What happens is when the temperature gets below 4ºC the car automatically turns on the heaters to prevent frosty buildup. But all the driver ever knows is that the door mirrors are always clear and visible regardless of what the weather is like. And I think that’s brilliant design.

    Back in September last year I wrote how I’d tried so hard to love 6Wunderkinder’s Wunderkit which unfortunately just tried too hard to jump on the social networking bandwagon and lost sight of the refined simplicity that had made their original Wunderlist so successful. This is what drove me to start using Producteev, which was and still is very, very good software ... however inability to manually rearrange tasks into a priority order and then, the idiomatic Kyle Sandilands in your radio network: THERE STILL IS NO APP FOR THE IPAD (they have a web app that is ‘optimised for mobile devices’ but it’s pretty crap), meant that I was still keeping an eye out for something better.

    About a month ago, as I was still on 6Wunderkinder’s email list, I received an email saying that Wunderlist version 2 had launched and there was a web App, a new native Mac OSX App, a native iPhone App, and *take note Producteev peeps* a native iPad App (plus you can also get it as a native Android and native Windows App if you require). Of course I was excited at the prospect as I had always loved Wunderlist when it first came out, but then I had to decide whether to once again move all my tasks across into yet another program. Finally after playing with the Apps for a bit, I bit the bullet, moved everything across, and I haven’t regretted it for a day.

    If Wunderlist 2 hadn’t come out, I’d still be happily using Producteev, but for me personally Wunderlist is just better. The interface is more highly polished and exceptionally attractive, and this styling carries over into both the iPad and iPhone Apps making for a seamless and enjoyable user experience. And the way it works is just a bit more intuitive and efficient. Where you had to change the star rating in Producteev to reorder tasks in priority, in Wunderkit you just grab it and drag it into a new spot. Simple.

    So what’s the same? You’ve still got lists down the left side where you can group tasks into ‘work’, ‘home’, ‘shopping list’, ‘bucket list’, ‘shit I forgot to buy last time I was at Bunnings’, etc. You can still set due dates, and importantly you don’t have to set due dates for every task—some can just be in the list with no date. You can flag important tasks which shoots them up to the top of the list automatically. You can view your tasks by list, due today, due this week, completed, and a few other options. And all the Apps sync automatically via either a Wunderlist account, or you can sign in using your existing Facebook or Twitter account. You can also still print your lists for WIP meetings or other reasons, though with the new version the print layout design is vastly improved.

    So what is new? Well for starters, the interface is even slicker and more refined than in the original Wunderlist. The syncing works really, really well instead of sometimes not working. And also some really crucial additions which sold the deal for me: reminders, notifications and subtasks. The subtasks allow you to add a list of things to do within a task, allow you to reorder them, and then tick them off one by one. The reminders are a big bonus and something that was missing from the original. You simply set a date and time that you want Wunderlist to remind you about the particular task, and through it comes—on all devices! And on the Mac it ties in with the notification centre, and though it defaults to ‘Banners’ like most apps, a quick trip into ‘Notifications’ within System Preferences allows you to change it to ‘Alerts’ that remain on the top right of the screen until you dismiss them, ensuring you don’t miss any.

    One final addition is actually a plugin that is available for various web browsers (including Safari) that adds a little Wunderlist button that allows you to add a task that is linked to the particular webpage you a currently on. The popup takes a few seconds to appear (which is a little slow for my liking) but once up it gives you options to edit the task, and choose which list it is going to get added to (including the default option of a ‘Read Later’ list).

    And really, there’s not much more to say. And that’s the way it should be. For me, if task management software takes a long time to explain, it’s too complicated and it will just get in the way of getting things done. Wunderlist on the other hand is just the opposite, meaning no matter which device or machine I happen to be using at any given time, I can pop another task, note or subtask into Wunderlist and it appears on every other device so nothing gets missed. Brilliant.

    Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Categorically brilliant!

    Wunderlist - 6 Wunderkinder Wunderlist - 6 Wunderkinder

    Ben is marketing communications manager for Britax Automotive Equipment. He also owns and runs his own creative company called Evocative (www.evocative.cc) that does graphic design, photography and creative writing. Holding an Honours Degree in Design majoring in Corporate Identity, Ben has over ten years commercial experience—most of which was achieved using a Mac. He's also into technology, audio gear, drums, music, cars and coffee.

    Follow Ben on Twitter @BenJohnston_ or on Google+
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