The no.1 rule of creating a Productivity app?

screen-3A few days ago I was approached to take a look at a new productivity application thats currently in beta called GTDNext, whilst I’m not looking for a new productivity app I do like to keep up to date with any new products that are in development.

My initial impressions are very favourable and I intend on writing a mini review when time allows. Due to it’s early beta nature the developers have all their focus on the core web product, they are striving to get that ‘right’ before creating any mobile versions. This for me is the right way to launch a productivity product, the core application (in this case the web app) has to be ‘solid and refined’ before progressing onto any other platforms.

This made me think about what my no.1 rule of creating a Productivity app would be?

h5_logoFor me it’s fairly simple, the solution has to be available everywhere. Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile. The best way to accomplish this? Start with a great Web app.

For some reason the Apple Mac OSX and iOS platforms are king when it comes to productivity app development; Things, Omnifocus, Clear and a whole heap of others I’m thinking of you.

You see, It’s my biggest gripe with developers that create excellent products for Apple devices, I have to use a Windows device at work. My productivity work flow stops when I get to work. Windows is still the number 1 choice in the corporate world yet it seems to be so overlooked in native productivity app development.

Some workarounds do exist but it just makes things more complex where your task manager should be making things easier for you. This is one of the reasons I choose to use Nozbe.

The desktop solution is here already

Not too many years ago it was imagined that the whole world of app development would be on the web, html based apps were the way forward. Unfortunately the 1st few attempts could only be described as developers finding their feet, the apps were basic and slow.

Now web development has grown so far that the original dream of what a web app could be has now been realised and then there’s little reason for developers to develop individual desktop apps anymore.

Wunderlist-2Just take a look at the Google Chrome packaged app versions of Wunderlist or Workflowy, they look, act and feel just like a native desktop app on both my Windows laptop and my Mac desktop. This is what’s needed, Web apps that work on any desktop, as long as you have an Internet connection to start with you can also work offline with them.

Mobile is getting close also

screen-shot-2012-09-05-at-2-30-27-pm1-158x300Mobile still has a little further to come owning to the lack of 100% mobile data coverage. Web html5 apps lag behind specific app software, for example Asana uses a html5 app wrapper that’s usable but can be painfully slow in a low data coverage area. Anyone who’s ever taken out their phone and launched their html5 app in a mall/shopping centre in a low data coverage area trying to see what they put on their @errands list will know the frustration it brings.

Yes the html app is probably cached but it will always try to connect to the main server to check for the latest version and data, if you have a poor connection it causes you to curse the technology as your faced with a slow experience.

Final thoughts

For me, developers need to develop a great Web app that will cover all desktop platforms, Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Linux. If you can make it available as a packaged app (Through Google Chrome or dedicated Windows/Mac versions like Nozbe) even better.

Mobile versions of your product still need a dedicated app for now, until mobile coverage problems are resolved. Unless you can work around these issues!

Lastly, ignore Android and Windows users at your peril developers, everyone needs productivity apps!