DropTask brings some eye candy to the world of online team task management. DropTasks trump card and it’s differentiating feature is to view your tasks as a galaxy of orbiting baubles – each big bauble as a project activity and each little bauble within as the tasks the project contains. Here’s my take on this sugar coated task system.
The range of online task management products is exploding – HiTask, Trello, Producteev, Todoist, Teamwork, Flow, Asana to name but a few. All of these web apps offer the possibility to manage your tasks online and often support multiple platforms. Where they excel over local solutions is their ability to support collaborative, team based activities. Being web-based clearly has huge potential benefits in this area. It enables teams to communicate on tasks in real time, to fluidly allocate people, to get notifications on task changes, to see in real time which tasks people are doing and much more. This is especially useful in widely distributed teams.
DropTask is another player in this arena and offers similar kinds of functionality. Where is diverges is the user interface. Most task management approaches gravitate towards lists. Definitely a tried and tested approach and many would say difficult to improve upon. However, that has not stopped DropTaskfrom trying something different – an interface more akin to a Christmas tree than a task list. Let’s review.
The screenshot below indicates the kind of interface a user may be seeing. I say “may’, because should you find this eye candy too sweet, there is the option of returning to the comfort of a task list. Dwelling upon the baubles view for a while longer though…..
To the left of the screen you can see a drag and drop interface for Group tasks/Projects, single tasks and resources. The centre shows the tasks to be done. The tasks and projects can be dragged around here and scrolling the mouse wheel will zoom that view. On the right of the screen gives task information. So, clicking a task will open this dialog window, where options can be set including,
- Task status, for example in progress, complete etc.
- Linking or uploading files
- Setting reminders
- Setting dates
Finally, on the top left, you will see a few icons. One of those will enable a list view of the tasks where they are ranked in terms of urgency. In this list, tasks can also be dragged and dropped, sub tasks added and task information updated.
Important point to mention though. On the group (baubles) view there are filtering options for tasks that are not possible in the list view. In general I find the interface easy to use, pretty slick with no delay.
Features and Functions
The simplistic view and operation of DropTask is one of it’s selling points. That is not to say though that it does not come with a comprehensive feature set.
- Much of the normal task management functionality is there,
- Adding projects, tasks, resources
- Task oriented chat
- Quick Inbox entry of new tasks
- Simple entry of task information such as importance and task status
- Task history recording
- Task notifications
- Integration with Outlook, Google calendar/tasks, Evernote
- Linking to online storage
- Unlimited subtasks
Some more advanced items are absent though, for example Gantt charts for Project management lite. However, given the intended simple interface of DropTask this is understandable. Since DropTask also enables the task status to be determined, a Kanban style view may also be appropriate.
Apps are available for Window, IOS, Mac, Android and of course everything is viewable from a browser window. Of these, the most notable is the addition of a Windows app. This area is normally avoided by many online task management vendors, so nice to see native support.
Before I come to the pricing, let me first indicate the features that are not supported in the free version.
- Delegating tasks
- Uploading files
- Quickly Moving tasks to projects
- Project permissions
- Limited additional people
- Exporting project
- Syncing with Google calendar/Tasks
- Adding >1 level of subtasks
- Adding comments
The restricted list continues on….
So, to get even basic functionality the paid version of DropTask is necessary. For the “Pro“, version the price is $6.50 per month or $65 for 1 year.
Some final thoughts about DropTask. First, there is no shortage of eye candy. In terms of a simple, fluid user interface it cannot be faulted. It is very intuitive and user friendly. Indeed it may win over many who avoid task lists simply because it is different and fun.
Second, even if you want even a minimum feature set, you will have to pay for it. The free version does not have sufficient functionality to allow work to be done effectively. So, get your wallets ready.
So, if your team want a simple, user friendly web based task management, I think you could certainly do worse than DropTask. I also think the ability to have a windows app that can work offline is also a newer feature in such products. It is a strong contender among the current entrants in this market.