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To Round App Review

Bubbles are brilliant, certainly too good to be confined to the bathtub. Fortunately the developers of the to do list app, To Round, think so too. They have brought forth a free, innovative app which represents tasks by bouncing bubbles. In this To Round App review we’ll see how they can substitute for a traditional list based to-do list.

Pros

  • Unique visual representation of tasks as bubbles in a funnel. A little reminiscent of Stephen Covey’s big rocks analogy
  • Quick and easy categorization and filtering of tasks.
  • Free

Cons

  • Limited platform support. No browser, Mac or PC option.
  • Lacking many advanced features of competitors such as smart date entry, integration with other online tools, calendar views, sub lists etc.
  • Scalability problems for the “bubble”, view. When there are many tasks, the funnel quickly fills up meaning many tasks cannot be viewed. This seems to be a design “feature”.
  • Date and time entry are a little old school whereby one must select a date from the calendar.

Bottom Line

To Round is a fun little app that provides simple task lists via an innovative, even novelty interface. While it lacks many of the more advanced features and platform support of the established players, it is likely sufficient for many people’s needs. And, given the excellent price point of $0, it is arguably great value for money!

Not all to do list apps need to be based on a bottomless, scrolling list

Not all to do list apps need to be based on a bottomless, scrolling list. There are a few apps that break the mold such as Droptask and To Round that are based on innovative user interfaces to manage tasks in a fun and interactive way. In the case of To Round the tasks are represented as bubbles of varying sizes and colour. Certainly fun to play with but one could also say it is the virtual realization of Stephen Covey’s big rocks analogy as aptly demonstrated by the man himself in the video below.

 

Let’s see how it measures up.

To Round User interface

The main reason that anyone would consider To around is of course for its unique interface. The primary user interface is the infamous bouncing bubbles representing the tasks. The goal is to complete the tasks, burst the bubbles and be left with an empty funnel. This is certainly a new and innovative approach to task management but the real party trick is that the bubbles seemingly obey Newton’s laws of motion. The bubbles can be dragged around, bounced off each other and if you tilt your phone, the bubbles will roll around the screen in response.

To Round App Review to-round-interface

To Round Task View

I do have one concern about this novel display – the scalability.  When many tasks are entered, not all can be displayed.  Some are concealed at the top which is rather troublesome if you cannot see what tasks are to be done!

to-round-full-funnel

Not all tasks fit in the funnel!

In addition to the bouncing bubble main task display there are also traditional, scroll-able (a.k.a. less cool!) task displays available. This second screen provides views of,

      1. Completed tasks. Need I say more.
      2. Current Tasks. Those tasks with no future due date.
      3. Pending Tasks. Tasks with future due dates.

I quite like the differentiation between the Current Tasks and future Pending Tasks. Since many of our tasks are not required at a specific time it is quite nice to differentiate between appointments and general stuff that needs to be done.

Features and functions

For such mobile apps one needs to really optimize the interface to get the basic functions right so that they can be executed quickly and easily on the go, given the small touch screens on mobile phones and tablets that serve as the interface. Let’s consider those fundamental aspects that need to be done well.

      1. Fast task entry on the go
      2. Fast manipulation of the tasks between lists
      3. Easy addition of labels, tags, or defined dates for tasks
      4. Quick and easy view of what is to be done given your current context

Fast Task Entry

The entry of tasks with To Round is quick and easy. On the main bubble display there is a little plus sign on the bottom right. Hitting that brings up the new task entry window. On that window, one can quickly set the task title, size of circle and task Tag. At the bottom of this window you can also add some additional details for task comments, reminders and due dates.

Task Manipulation

There are times when one needs to organize tasks between different lists. Given To Round’s completely flat structure with no hierarchy, sub projects or subtasks the only manipulation one can do is move them between the different lists. That can be done by simply tapping the task and selecting another category or tag.

Addition of Task details

There are six possible pieces of information that each task can contain in To Round.

      1. Task title
      2. Size of bubble
      3. Due Date
      4. Reminder
      5. Comment
      6. Tag/Category

The task title, bubble size and category can be readily set by hitting the plus sign from the main task view window. The other can also be set from the task entry window but there is a problem that the mobile phone keyboard conceals them. To enter details for the reminder etc. involves scrolling down or concealing the keyboard to get access to them. More trouble than it should be for these functions.

task-entry-window

Additional task details hidden by keyboard

Furthermore, for the date entry of tasks, I find it a little old school whereby dates and times are entered from a calendar display.  My personal preference is for pre-defined time scales such as Today, Tomorrow, next week etc. as seen on the likes of Todoist.  Not only can these be defined from a single button push but they also reflect how our minds work when considering when things should be done.  It is easier to think I will do something tomorrow, than I will do something on the 29th of November 2016.

Context based view

Since To Round is exclusively intended for mobile operation it is important that you can quickly and easily find the tasks relevant to that context, be it at home, in the bus, at work etc. This can be handled in To Round via Tags or better described as task categories. There are already some pre-configured categories in To Round such as Personal, Grocery, Home and Job. However, they can be modified to your personal needs.

To RoundApp Review - to-round-categories

To Round tag selection

To Round App review Summary

if you are looking for a fun way to deal with simple task lists, To Round is certainly worth consideration especially given the excellent price of $0!

There are also a couple of elements that I like in particular about To Round. The first is that it provides the virtual manifestation of the big rocks philosophy via a unique and innovative interface. Second, the ability to filter by Tag is quickly accessible from any of the screens. I also like the differentiation between a next action list and Pending Task list. In addition to these, it is free. So, if you are looking for a fun way to deal with simple task lists, To Round is certainly worth consideration especially given the excellent price of $0! Let me know your thoughts.

Brendan Toner

Let me welcome you to this alcove of the internet. In this little productivity blog, I detail the trials and tribulations of trying to use my time more effectively utilising the latest productivity tools and techniques. I hope you enjoy the articles, cheers!
Brendan Toner, author of Done Before Brekky

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