Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Mangotasks - Task Management for Teams

Intro to MangoTasks

MangoTasks is a web based social collaborative task manager that is target at teams of any size.

MangoTasks is a small but important part of Mangosprings larger business application and collaboration suite "MangoSuite". In this regard it is similar to complete web app suites such as Zoho or the 37signals apps around basecamp. MangoTasks can be used as stand-alone version as well.

While seems very similar to the bantam task management tool (which we are currently using for our todo management) - MangoTasks has some features that make it more interesting for any team that collaborates on tasks and projects. Especially if you combine it with some of MangoApps other features such as MangoProject.

task management mangotasks screen

Feature Set: Small but Effective?

  • tasks and their properties
    • assign to co-worker
    • due date: today, tomorrow, sometime soon, specific date
    • visibility: team, project members (if MangoProjects is part of your suite), specific people
    • assign to project
  • activity stream (microblog)
    • tasks, status updates (similar to twitter), etc. are shown in a dashboard and can be commented on
    • you can create a task from a status updates
  • task overview
    • sorted by pending, completed and "assigned by me"
  • team chat
    • you can start chatting with coworkers directly within the MangoSuite - the design is very similar to the current facebook chat
  • email notification
    • you can have your daily tasks emailed to you

Lack of Task Management Flow

Overall the feature set is compact and not bloated. However it seems, similar to bantam, that there has been little thought put into how tasks and task management really works. At least from our perspective.

A major focus lies on the social aspect - microblogging, commenting, assigning tasks. However there is no real flow to either solve tasks or manage tasks. You cannot create subtasks, assign a task to several people, tag a task, set it's importance. When showing the tasks in a list - sorting functions are very limited. This way you always see a overwhelming list of tasks. This way you are not likely to create and in the end complete tasks.

Feature Rating: 3/5

Design and Usability: Solid but slow

The overall design is solid and presentable. Due to a lot of features and cross-features it is a little more bloated than your average todo or task manager would be. Items on the page could be better wheighed and pro- or demoted. This would certainly give the interface a clearer flow and make it more usable.

Slow Response Time: Not Desktop-App Like

One definite drawback is the slow response time. Most interactions either happen on a new page (reload) or as pop-up which both costs the user quite some time. Current Ajax technologies should enable you to control everything on one page without any time-consuming reloads. This way the web app would seem to respond more like a real desktop application.

Design Rating: 2/5

Pricing: Targeted for Business

If you plan on using MangoApps as a standalone you have invest $9.95 for 3 users up to $100 for 40 users per month. If you want to use the whole MangoSuite you pay between $49.95 for 3 and $500 for 40 users per month.

For either private or even business use this seems to be a little to much, considering the feature set and design being somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Price Rating: 2/5

There is no free plan. However you get a 30 day trial for which you still have to enter your credit card details, which I found quite annoying.

Overall Impression: Social is Good but Not Enough

Even though the whole idea between social collaboration is really interesting and even productive, it is not enough to make a tool useful. If you are looking for a tool that helps you get things done, MangoApps will probably not help you that much.

The application is more of a paper solution put to the web and social features added.

Overall Rating: 2/5


If you are interested in the complete MangoSuite here is 7 Minute video walk-through:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Bantam – Todo Management

Bantam is a CRM multi-feature-application, which we use primarily for task management. We were looking for a todo-management-tool. We started using bantam, because it is fairly simple, we have the possibility to add tasks for someone else in our team, and can also see who has what tasks – and which are overdue :). As a nice addition we also use the dashboard to post work-related status-updates.

Feature Set

  • tasks with:
    • project link
    • type
    • due date
    • assign to person
    • hidden / public
  • tasks overview with different view points
  • team messages
  • dashboard
  • contact manager
  • deals
  • projects
  • files
For me, the major drawback is the superfluous stuff. I just want the task-management. I do not need “Messages” – for that I use email. I do not need “Contacts” – for that I would use the contact-manager of my email-client. Furthermore I do not see the need for “Deals”, “Projects” and “Files” in our company.
There is no possibility to add subtasks to tasks. The calendar can be integrated into the personal Google-calendar, which is nice.
The pricing can be found here – it ranges from $19 per month for a single user to $140 per month for unlimited users.
Feature Rating: 3/5

Design and Usability

2010-11-30 18h12_01
The design can be confusing at times. But once accustomed, it is as simple. The buttons and what they stand for is not intuitive.
A negative aspect of bantam is that it is slow when switching between webpages or after making a drop-down-list selection.
I also found it in the beginning partly non-intuitive to create a new task with the properties I liked the task to have.
Design Rating: 2/5

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Toodledo - Lots of Features - Little Design

Toodledo is a poorly designed task organizer that comes equiped with a couple of interesting features such as scheduler and statistics.

Feature Set
  • create a task
    • folder
    • due date
    • repeat
    • priority
    • note 
    • context 
    • location 
  • display and sort tasks in a list
  • longtime goals 
In the Pro Version (15$ per year) or Pro Plus (30$ per year) of toodledo you have access to following additional features:
  • scheduler (toodledo tells you what you should work on)
  • task sharing with collaborators
  • file upload
  • statistics of tasks
  • notebook for reference material
  • history 
Overall the impression is, that toodledo attempts to do a lot of things and does not focus on one user scenario or user flow.

Feature Rating:  2/5
Design and Usability

The overall design is very crowded and poorly layouted. A lot of colors, shapes and links are visible without being prioritized in any way. I felt annoyed pretty fast and would not use toodledo on a daily basis. 
The performance was acceptable even though the page reloads inbetween different features had me waiting for a while. 

Design Rating: 1/5 

Overall Impression

Toodledo sure does have a wide range of features most of which are only available in the Pro or Pro Plus version. The design is rather annoying and does not help to get things done.

Overall Rating: 1/5