Task Management on the Web in 2010

There are a few task management web apps that have caught my attention in the past months. Some are in alpha, some in beta and some already available. Their approaches vary greatly as well.

But, in my opinion, they are all going to make a splash in 2010.

Four new apps have gotten some press of late and I think all are worth a look. They vary in their approach: two are minimilistic and sparse by design, while the other two attempt to meet the needs of more strict GTDers. Let’s take a brief look at each one.

TeuxDeux

First off, there is TeuxDeux. The app has gotten a lot of press since it first debuted, partially because of the name(s) behind it. Designed by Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swissmiss), the design of this app will appeal to people looking for a simple solution.

Nice aesthetics combined with a simple feature set.

Nice aesthetics combined with a simple feature set.

The interface basically makes this app a time sensitive digital white board. As seen above, you simply enter tasks one at a time and then click on them when completed. Like a whiteboard, the tasks is still there after completed, but is ‘scratched out’. Overall, it’s a nice look and feel, with excellent little touches (like the ellipsis for tasks with longer names etc.).

Available now, the app is currently free.

TaskFive

In a similar approach, TaskFive gives the same simple time based approach with a simple scratch pad style list.

The focus here is also simplicity, but with more emphasis on the team than the individual.

The focus here is also simplicity, but with more emphasis on the team than the individual.

The biggest difference here is that you can add multiple users. This would allow for management of several team members or employees by one person. There is also the ability to get an overview of the progress of the entire team or to allow a mentor to view the status of tasks by the user.

Overall, the interface is not quite as nice as TeuxDeux, but the usability is about the same.

Nirvana

In a different direction, the app titled Nirvana is a more feature intensive approach to task management. Featuring concepts like a Someday and Waiting For list, this app is built with the GTD zealot in mind.

A slick web based application, Nirvana appears to borrow its interface from the desktop.

A slick web based application, Nirvana appears to borrow its interface from the desktop.

Now, if you’re at all familiar with Things for the mac, you’ll see a striking resemblance in this web application. In fact, there has been some controversy over the approach taken here.

But whether you consider it inspiration or ripoff, there must be some happy Windows users who would love to use a tool like Things, and can now use a close approximation on the web.

Scraplr

Last, we come to Scraplr. Another more robust, perhaps more complicated, approach to task management, Scraplr also attempts to appeal to those who adhere strictly to the GTD process.

Scraplr appears to be a massive undertaking, but it's too early to judge its effectiveness.

Scraplr appears to be a massive undertaking, but it's too early to judge its effectiveness.

Seeing as this offering is still early on in development (alpha), it’s hard to judge just how good the app may be. It clearly has potential, but good looks do not mean much if the usability is poor.

Choose Your Flavour

Whether you prefer a simplistic approach or a more robust and flexible tool, the four applications listed above look to be solid options. It’s exciting how much variety the web has to offer, but it can also be daunting.

If you’re looking for a task management tool to help you be productive, be sure to identify how you work first. Then you’re more able to make the right decision for you. Enjoy getting things done in 2010.


  • http://malcolmbastien.com Malcolm Bastien

    Thanks for posting this. All signs point to minimalism and good design in these wonderful applications that do one thing and do them well. The most important next step is iPhone apps and easy syncing. After that is done, then maybe we’ll be able to see the same sort of growth in these apps that we’ve seen for Simplenote with user developed clients that are as equally as wonderful.

    Again, for the developers of those apps who are reading this comment, iPhone app and easy syncing! Look to Simplenote!

    Malcolm, @malcolmbastien

    • Howard

      Great list. Malcom: Agreed, syncing with iPhone is essential for these to succeed. Adrian: I, too, use Remember the Milk, but I recently stumbled upon meebee.com. It’s not perfect, but has potential (and they’ll be syncing up with more apps soon).

    • http://designwoop.com Stu Greenham | DesignWoop.com

      I agree great article and good point from Malcom, I use RTM because I have the iPhone app and browser plugins to make it all sync effortlessly! I like the look of TaskFive and I have seen Teudeux before but again it all falls back to my beloved iPhone!

  • http://www.webproductive.co.uk Rich Cowtan

    Interesting list of task managers. I can’t help wonder whether there’s a big need for standalone webapps like this though – Ultimately a few of the integrated products like Google, Zoho or MS need only tighten the offering a little to make such standalones redundant, Although I completely take the point that if you want a tool that does just this one thing – then these do the job fantastically.

    For most people who want a list attached to calendar attached to docs (and so on), an integrated option should prevail.

    As an aside, I’d be interested to know what API integration there is – then we can make these tools talk to the right web office products.

    Thanks

    @WebProductive

  • http://zenstealth.com Zenstealth

    Nirvana, in my opinion, looks the best, and I find it the simplest to use after trying Things on a friends Mac, and I tried out TeuxDeux. Since I don’t own a my own Mac, Nirvana is probably the next best closest thing to a PC version of Things.

    Definitely gonna try it out.

    Thanks web.appstorm!

    • http://www.gosterimde.com Bilal

      Another closest app to Things is Doit.im
      It’s an AIR app and free..

      http://www.doit.im/

    • Zeshalta

      +1 Nirvana. I’ve been in beta for a few weeks now and it lives on my desktop via Fluid App for mac and on my Android as a very nice mobile webpage (apps are in the works). The design is gorgeous but doesn’t get in the way and function is great; with a GTD app you don’t want to spend time mucking about – I find Nirvana very intuitive for my needs.

      Only thing I’m waiting on is Time based due dates but I hear that’s in the works.

      Overall though I’m in love :)

  • http://twitter.com/kessler Ben Kessler

    Nice list, I’ve been trying all of these and have yet to find one I’m extremely satisfied with. Also you left out Behance’s Action Method – http://actionmethod.com/

  • http://www.adriantry.com Adrian Try

    Thanks for this list. I’m currently a Remember the Milk user, but have been thinking about switching to Things. Nirvana looks like it might be a great contender. I’ve just signed up for the beta, but have to wait for an invitation.

  • Gaurav Chandra

    Stop me if I am wrong but do we actually need all these softwares to do our task management? I find it easier to use a notebook or post it notes as it is there in front of me always. Using a software would mean that I have to navigate to it everytime I want to see my next task.

    I think I am a bit old fashioned ;)

    • http://twitter.com/kf Katherine

      @Gaurav Notebooks or Post-it notes are often impractical if you do everything online. Notebooks can be lost, and they can be a hassle if you already carry around a laptop. Post-it notes can’t really be carried around on their own; you can stick them into a planner of some sort, but, again, that can be lost and might be a pain to carry.

      That being said, I use Things. Pretty and simple.

  • http://www.twitter.com/IntrepidDNA Jonathan

    Mm why not just use iCal? It is so greatly built and you can sync it with everything…

  • Grey Stockton

    These look like a nice collection of apps. Personally I prefer using the calendar on my phone, but as these develop to incorporate mobile support, their popularity could increase.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the article, I’ve been in search of some task management programs (other than outlook). This is by far the most informative I’ve found yet. Right now I’m using meebee.com to help with my scheduling which works well. Just need some help with task management as well.

  • brengy

    Hi
    Thanx for this list, Is this app look like Toodeldo system ?
    i am useing it but i am looking for something have a nice looking .

  • http://twitter.com/shiido shiido

    teuxdeux looks awesome!

    • http://designwoop.com Stu Greenham | DesignWoop.com

      It is and its very well thought out, so simple and easy to see whats to do! Just needs the iPhone app and i’m sold!

      • http://aymeric.gaurat.net Aymeric

        Teuxdeux does have an iphone app ($5 I think).

        In the same breed, check out http://weekplan.net (mobile friendly too).

  • http://www.madebyguerrilla.com Mike Smith

    I just signed up to teuxdeux. Looks amazing, was easy to add tasks to the list and will be a nice addition to my reorganization :) thanks for posting these up.

  • S2s

    It would have been helpful in your mini-review of TaskFive if you’d mentioned that they charge you after you share with the second user. It’s not horrible, but means I registered for nothing, as I’m not paying to share a task list with my community service club.

  • http://www.suckerpunch-studios.com Brad Weaver

    TeuxDeux is the best in my opinion. I’ve used RTM and TaDa and am a Things user. I use Things for the big list, projects, etc. and then I use TD for my weekly list and mix in all of my other stuff like “run to the Apple store.”

    FWIW I used Action Method and hated it. It’s way too time consuming to enter the data and it doesn’t remember where you were last, so it always starts at the top of the page every time you move from project to project. When you have 10 or 15 projects with tons of Actions each, that wears out the mouse.

  • Jenna

    I would also add the task manager I use to this list, Dooster. I am a freelancer and it works perfectly for me combining all my emails and task management. http://www.dooster.net

  • Pingback: Task management: tools « A Modern Hypatia

  • Scott

    If you do another review (and I hope you do because this is great) I think you should add Dooster to the list. We’ve been using it for some months now and it’s really enhanced communications and output. We’re greatly pleased with it.

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