Things is a to do list app that sets out to replace pen and paper.
In my opinion, writing a to do item down on pen and paper is much more easier than tapping on a screen multiple times. My trusty Muji todo pad has been serving me well since the start of University days.
However, to facilitate learning about what has Things done well, I shall list down the three points about the application which makes it really popular.
It has only four fields to fill in
I feel that this is one of the main attraction of the application. Having only four items to consider when creating something to do reduces the amount of time planning, to actually doing. In fact, I believe that the time taken to fill in those four fields should not take longer than the time to actually write down in pen and paper itself. Also, it gives the app a very clean feel, removing the clutter that we see in forms we encounter everyday.
Clean and efficient UI/UX
Things does what it does beautifully. The UI/UX of Things stands out above the rest as really simple and intuitive to use. User retention is often about how beautiful an app looks and Things have done that well by putting in lots of considerations about their look.
Things did not have collaborative features such as Todoist or Trello. (if that is even considered a todo list) I think they hit spot on with this decision since a todo list is something very personal and private. In actuality, we do not write a todo list and share it with everyone to clear it together. (there’s the post-its to do that, but that’s more of a Trello thing) Perhaps we can gather around in a meeting and list down the things we have to do, but a todo list is something that one writes down to set his productivity achievements and target for the day. It is something personal and should not extend to a group.
With regards to Things being Apple-ish about this, “use it or find something else”, I love the attitude too. It shows how much the company believes in their own values and is definitely something worth learning from.
There’s a problem which I cannot get over with about Things. The price. Why would I pay a hefty $10.00 for an app that can be easily replicated with pen and paper, or even something free such as Chrome’s Momentum or Todoist?
In fact, there’s even the Open Sourced TodoMVC by Addy Osmani which makes writing a web version of todo list very easy. (At the same time learn one more new MV* framework out of the 1259812 ones out there)
One can argue that the company needs a small amount of paid users. I believe there needs to be a balance in this. To me, $10 for a todo list app is way too much that I am willing to fork out.
In conclusion, I am convinced that Things might have done certain things right about a todo list app. But to totally replace my awesome Muji pad at a price of $10? Probably not.
P.S. A Muji pad costs something too, but I’m willing to spend that amount for convenience of a tried and tested method, rather than an app that I may or may not continue using. 😀