To-do lists are not necessarily the most exciting applications ever, and the UI for most Android apps is often on the bland side. That’s the starting point for Any.DO, and it takes these two dull facts, shakes them up, and turns Android to-do lists into something compelling, fun, and dare I say, sexy. If you want to see how a humble to-do list app can get over 1,100 Market reviews with a 4.5-star average within a short while after launching, just keep reading.
Getting Started with Any.DO
When you first launch the app, it shows a quick-start tutorial:
It’s a simple tutorial consisting of a few slides; the most noticeable thing is the typography, which is very different from the stock Android font. Slides are short and to the point:
Adding a task couldn’t be simpler, really. The textbox for doing this is already active when you reach the main screen; you only have to start typing, and the app provides auto-complete hints:
You can also tap the microphone button and use Android’s built-in speech recognition. Once you add the task, the screen looks like this:
One drawback is that the app doesn’t respect Android’s date display preferences, and defaults to mm.dd.
There is no “Done” tick box; to mark a task as done, just swipe it from left to right, as if crossing it out with your finger. In general, note how simple the layout is: The due dates are today, tomorrow, this week, and later. You can’t really set a specific due date other than those; to move the task between these dates, just drag it. There are no tags, but there are folders, shown in the task options:
These are the options shown when you single-tap a task. Again, simplicity is key here. You don’t get multiple levels of priority – you can either mark tasks as “priority” or not, and the mark is a thin red bar on the left side of the task:
The folders are synced with Google Tasks (the task management service built into Gmail). In fact, the whole thing syncs with Google Tasks (optionally). The reminder dialog looks like something out of a Microsoft concept video, and I mean that as a compliment:
A full calendar, an option to set the task to repeat, and not a default Android UI control in sight. This whole thing screams “custom design” – I wish all Android apps looked this clean. I also wish I could get as excited about the Notes interface, which looks like this:
These are per-task notes. For some reason, they are designed as one-liners; meaning, when you tap the “Add a note” field, it doesn’t expand. You can add multiple one-line notes about a task, which is nice, but I would expect the app to let me enter and edit a lengthy note with ease.
The Options Menu
When you hit the Menu button, most Android apps pop up a small menu at the bottom of the screen. Any.DO does this instead:
The JPG compression isn’t doing the typography justice here; the fonts are very thin, but are super-smooth on my Samsung. You can set the sort order, clear all the tasks, turn on the Google Tasks sync (it’s off by default, which is nice), and look at all of your done tasks. The “More” button opens a host of other options:
“Shake” means you can shake your device to clear all done tasks. You can also pick a dark theme if you like to plan the next day late at night.
If you care about Android, you should be paying attention to Any.DO. It’s a great to-do Android app; but more than that, I think it’s an important UI proof of concept, and it brings something truly new to the table. I could see a music player done up in this style, or a device automation solution (Tasker-like).
What do you think about the UI? Would you like to see other apps done in the same style, or do you like the Android default look better?
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