I am a programmer, a de facto project manager and anal when it comes to organization. I code for a living, code on the side and I’m also on the board of a local young professionals organization. My life is quite hectic at times and tasks can come at me from any angle. Unfortunately none of the task managers at my disposal ever really met my approval.
My latest foray into this arena comes from REXwireless. Their todoMatrix application does not fail to impress. Task organization is very natural - your tasks are organized by “drawers” and then by “folders.” A task takes under a few seconds to create, this is a great deal quicker than any of the other applications I’ve used.
Why I Love It
Another nice feature they have is named “injection.” todoMatrix installs an injection option to the menus provided by your Blackberry. Injection allows you to take the text currently displayed into a new task, saving a great deal of time.
todoMatrix is not without its quirks. It would be nice if there was option on the menu that displays the shortcuts available. I’m sure they’re in the documentation but I’m too lazy to read it and I couldn’t carry it with me.
Also, I find the UI to be lackluster. I’m going to break that comment into three separate parts - 1. The Main Screen, 2. The Folder View, and 3. The Item View.
A Lackluster UI
The Main Screen
The main screen displays a tree which contains all of your drawers and folders. Although you can configure the colors of the folders, it still feels clunky to me. In Rex’s defense, I’m not sure what more can be done with a tree.
The Folder View
This view shows all of the tasks that are stored under a particular folder. The top quarter of the screen displays information related to the selected tasks and the bottom three quarters show all of the tasks.
The task detail section is too small. So small that labels for the six data elements that are displayed contain acronyms. These acronyms, although logical, I can’t get their meaning as quickly as I’d like to. I’m forced to look at their values in order to determine what I’m looking at. It seems to me that there is room to expand this section or at least expand the label names.
The tasks displayed give you a hint as to their status but there are only two colors used - a light blue for uncompleted tasks and a light gray for completed ones. I would like configurable colors for each status or priority. I understand that this could lead to confusion for the user, but if the colors are configurable, then the user could use as many or as few as they like.
The Item View
The Item View suffers from the same problem as the top portion of the Folder View but at least there’s a line that explains the meaning of each label.
This is probably my favorite feature of this application. Unfortunately, it too suffers from a UI problem - it sucks. In a world full of Ajax and flashy UI’s this web app still looks like something from the late 90’s. It is fully functional it just looks ugly. But I’ll still choose function over form.
Although I write a great deal about the things I don’t like, todoMatrix is a great application. I feel that its strong points speak for themselves. I can’t wait to see how this application matures in the coming versions.
Sunday, April 13th, 2008