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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Next!, by LefTurn Labs [iPad]

    Next!, by LefTurn Labs
    $9.99, ****


    • Nice way to link various goal, activities, and tasks
    • Sort of easy to navigate (see below)


    • Sort of difficult to navigate (see below)
    • Categorization can be confusing

    Next! is a multi-faceted task /goal/activity management program, that goes beyond the simple reminder or to do lists. With Next!, you don’t just create a to do list item (or items), instead everything is centered around goals or multi-activity projects. When you create different activities, projects, or goals, you can link them together to create a networked set of events and responsibilities.

    The interface revolves around a virtual “wheel” of activities. You start on in the center, with a view of the specific action/goal/reference/project you have selected. When you are in the center view (looking at the goal, action, or project) you can also easily tap the item you are viewing and see all the linked items.

    To the left, you have a project view with all your projects, to the right you have a list of actions. Swipe down (moving up) you have a list of goals, and at the bottom you have a references. If you move to one of these side screen and tap on an item, that item than appears in the center of the “wheel”. While the interface is pretty cool, and nicely uniform (you can always tap the same way to view the different categories) it can also be somewhat confusing because superficially the different categories appear the same – a heading with a list below them. You might say “Well, just read the heading, and you know what you are looking at!” but when moving around it would be nice if there was some visual difference that would allow for a more immediate recognition. They are different colors, but the colors are all somewhat muted pastels. For this reason, I listed the interface as both a plus and a minus. I like it is theory, but I wish the implementation were a little different. It might also be nice to have some sort of “overview” option – see all the projects or tasks or goals in the wheel view, so you can see how many things you might have to do!

    The coolest thing about the app is the ability to link things together – certain actions may be linked with a specific project. You may have a goal linked with multiple actions, or multiple goals with a single project. While it may be nitpicky to separate goals, action, and projects, it might help some people when they are organizing the to do items.

    The biggest concern with this app is the complexity of entering data. Don’t get me wrong, putting an item in one of the lists is very easy (just tap, and start typing). But if you really want to take advantage of these “linked” features, then it becomes more complex. I wish there was some sort of flow chart view, where you could visually see what things were linked with each other. This might make it easier when linking up various actions, goals, and projects. While interesting, I found all the linking aspects somewhat confusing and time consuming.

    As with most reminder/to-do list apps, you can set priorities (1, 2, or 3 stars), you can set due dates, you can sort items by priority, due date, or alphabetically. There are a number of specialized settings as well – ranging from changing the background colors to adding tags (email, research, administrative, etc) to various items. You can also archive old items, schedule items to start sometime in the future, and email items to someone else. There are no other options for sharing (nothing can be put in the calendar, for example) and I didn’t see any option for using the notification system for important due dates.

    All in all, Next! is a nice project management tool that goes beyond simple to-do lists and reminders. It appears to be aimed at businesses and corporate settings, where you might have to manage multiple projects at once in order to meet certain goals. The interface is an intriguing new concept, as is the idea of “linked” components, but I found it a little confusing in day to day use (I suspect this concern might vanish if I used it more regularly). At $9.99, the app isn’t cheap, but if you find yourself with hefty management responsibilities, this app may help out with your organization, but I found it a little overpriced. Three and a half out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.

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