A few days ago I posted about Ta-Da List, noting how friendly the sign-up experience was. Connor Boyack of sustaind pointed me to another online to-do list with a really friendly sign-up and a catchy name: Remember the Milk. Like Ta-Da List, it had a short, friendly sign-up, with some nice real-time validation features that let you know as soon as you typed whether your username was available, whether your password was valid, etc. But once I got into it, I could see that the makers of Remember the Milk had run smack into the classic dilemma: “Do I make it drop-dead easy, or do I include all the features many users want?”
While both are nice products, Ta-Da List and Remember the Milk seem to have taken different approaches to this basic question.
Ta-Da list is minimal-list (pun intended). You create a list. You add items. You move items around. You share. You check things off. And that’s really about it. I appreciated the clean UI, the no-frills approach. Until I found a “frill” that I really wanted.
Two frills in fact:
- Let me prioritize, please! Yes, I can change the order, but it takes extra clicks and the priority is not explicit. Call me a Franklin Covey groupie, but I like my A, B, C’s and my 1, 2, 3’s.
- Let me access my list anywhere, please! One thing I was hoping I would gain from an online to-do list was the ability to access the list from multiple computers, including my beloved Blackberry. Sorry, can’t see how to do that with Ta-Da list. It is not mobile-friendly, which is interesting given the fact that it has a pretty narrow feature set to support.
So I was grumbling about Ta-Da list as I tried to prioritize my tasks while sitting on the bus with my Blackberry.
Now along comes Connor’s note about Remember the Milk. The first two things I check for? Prioritization and mobile access. And lo and behold, it’s there! But so is a lot of other stuff—Groups, Contacts, Tags, Due Dates, details when you hover over a task, etc. And frankly a UI that’s pretty good, but not great. And certainly nowhere near as clean as Ta-Da List.
The Designer in me wants to say, “Use Ta-Da List on principle. Support the reduction of Design Pollution!”
But the User in me wants to say, “If it doesn’t have the features I need, what use is it? Users of the World Unite!”
37Signals would probably say, “That’s fine if our product is not for you. We’re building something simple for people who just need what we’ve provided (and who hopefully will want to upgrade to backpack).”
Time will tell. I’m probably going to go with my User and see if Remember the Milk does it for me. But if Ta-Da List ever offers those two features, I will be back in a heartbeat.