Scadaplan: Clean & Simple Project Collaboration

There’s quite a few project collaboration and task management apps out there, all in varying ranges of features. These days it’s less about how many features the app has and more about its usability and interface design. Features? They’re all packed with features. But a sexy design and great usability? Well, that’s much more subjective and for each of us to decide for ourselves.

Scadaplan is a task management and project collaboration app that appears to do more with less, utilizing a solid modern interface that’s easy to use and looks great. Let’s take a look through the app and see what it’s worth.

Overview

As you’ve already gathered, Scadaplan is more than just a simple task management app. Though if you’re just looking for a powerful task and project manager for yourself or maybe a couple other people, this will still be a great option without loading you down with features and complexities.

Tasks

Tasks

Creating and managing tasks is easy (which we’ll get into later) and includes the kind of details you’ll want to better manage every day tasks and project-based tasks.

Pricing

Since Scadaplan is in beta, it’s free. Whether it will remain free once fully released, I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t recommend signing up for any potentially temporarily free app unless you’re prepared to pay for it should you become reliant on it.

Signup

Signup is quick and simple; not really any different from the normal process we’re all used to. Click the big Create account button on the home page, fill in your details, click the verification link you’ll receive via email and enter a password.

Signup

Signup

Should you decide you want to change your company name or URL, you can do so later from your account’s General page.

Using Scadaplan

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see your main dashboard. Take note of the interface design; it’s utilizing your browser’s available space, leaving no unused area. Why is this great? Well, for starters, no matter how big or small your screen and chosen browser size, the app will adapt to fit the space and in turn act more like an application than a website (in terms of its interface).

Dashboard

Dashboard

Another advantage of this choice of interface design is for those using apps like Fluid on OS X, where a “desktop” version of the app is created (it’s really just a dedicated browser window with customizable settings). This makes it easier to size the app window to your preferences, rather than sizing it to fit the rigid design of the website, also leaving no space unused. And, this is a great way to run Scadaplan in my opinion.

Navigating

First thing’s first. Navigating through the app is dead simple using the navigation bar on the left.

  • The top link (the faded Scadaplan logo) will take you to your dashboard.
  • Your photo, once uploaded, will take you to your profile settings.
  • The bell icon toggles notifications.
  • The plus icon adds tasks (from any page via overlay window).
  • The list icon takes you to your task list.
  • The shifted bars icon takes you to your calendar.
  • The little man icon takes you to your settings.

Settings

The first thing I look at in apps such as these is the choice of settings. I’m usually looking for an easy way to delete the account should I decide the app isn’t right for me and you’d be surprised to see so many apps make this incredibly difficult. Scadaplan doesn’t and to me, that show’s confidence in their product and choosing what’s easier for the user over dodgy practices.

From the settings page you’ll be able to invite users and manage your team; your account’s general settings, projects and your personal profile.

Settings

Settings

Overall I found the settings page (and sub-pages) a little dry and overall left me feeling it was lacking refinement. But remember, it’s in beta!

Tasks

Adding tasks is a snap, regardless of the page you’re currently viewing. From within the Add task window you’ll enter a name and a description, select (or create) a project, assign a user and select a due date.

Add task

Add task

Note that the name of the task and its description are created using separate lines and you are not required to select a project.

Unfortunately, Scadaplan doesn’t take advantage of today’s newest and best web technologies that enable more fluid and desktop-like interfaces. Once you’ve added a task, the page has to be refreshed to see the addition. Other interface actions such as navigating between months in the task list require page changes where JavaScript could be used to reduce full page reloads/changes.

Clicking a task brings up the task’s details and allows you or team members to add comments (with file attachments), update its status and time record or even follow the task. I particularly like the idea of selectively following tasks and status updates.

Task Details

Task Details

The overall task list interface is clean and simple, organized between yourself and your team and easy to get at the information you need. In comparison to other popular task management apps, however, it’s lacking in its design and use of technology to create a faster and easier interface.

If you want to time your tasks, click the black arrow on the far right when hovering over a task with your mouse. This will also update the calendar to show that the task is being worked on.

Calendar

I particularly like the calendar in Scadaplan, perhaps because I prefer line-based designs over blocks with information squished into them. This particular calendar design works better with the type of information being used and uses colors effectively for a fast overview of tasks’ status.

Calendar

Calendar

Clicking tasks in the calendar view brings up the task details pane for quick access to info. However, navigating through dates outside the default displayed date range is, to put it bluntly, a royal pain and completely unacceptable for this type of app. There’s really no excuse for not even implementing a jQuery popup date picker or something similar.

Notifications

Unfortunately the notifications options are very limited. You’re notified for tasks you’re following but the customizations options here are essentially non-existant. This is a rather important aspect in project management apps, especially for teams, so I hope to see some further development here.

Conclusion

Overall, Scadaplan has a decent app concept going but it’s certainly in its beta phase. It has to do quite a bit more developing before it will be ready to take on some of the more popular apps, but I think the Scadaplan team is on the right track. They have a nice, minimal interface in mind and aren’t crowding it with features (especially useless ones) right out of the gate. That being said, they need to make better use of today’s web technologies.

Though I didn’t cover it in the review, team management is pretty good and the app does a pretty good job of keeping a team on track and on the same page with where tasks and projects are at and are going. I look forward to seeing how the app progresses as I think they have a great start already.

I would like to point out that I absolutely love the short roadmap displayed on the home page. It’s simple but gives users a bit of insight into what’s being planned and worked on. I don’t think there are enough apps that do this, so kudos to the Scadaplan team.

Roadmap

Roadmap


Summary

Project management and collaboration tool for small and middle groups.

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