Asana (for iPhone) review

If you use the powerful and collaborative task-management platform Asana, you'll definitely want to install the free Asana iPhone app. It has room to grow, but it's an essential piece of the Asana puzzle as-is.
Photo of Asana (for iPhone)

If you use the popular task-management and project-management software Asana (freemium), there’s little doubt you’ll want to download the Asana mobile app (free). The full version of Asana takes time to learn and master, but the mobile app does not, and that’s how it should be. This simple and elegantly designed app keeps essential information and actions at your fingertips without bogging you down with every single feature in the powerful Web version.

Push notifications and badges help you stay on top of your tasks. Good-sized fonts help keep the text readable, although you can’t adjust the themes or fonts in any way. I love that Asana is collaborative, and it’s free for up to 30 people. The mobile app does rely on having an Internet connection to make sure it’s getting the most up-to-date information from all your collaborators, although I’d love to see Asana offer an offline option for projects that are solely handled by you. And an Asana representative says the company knows this. Offline availability is a highly requested feature.

Asana Mobile Features
Asana’s iPhone app keeps your tasks front and center in the main window and hides in a collapsible left pane everything else, such as your list of workspaces, each workspace itself, and individual projects.

Push notifications, alerts, and badges help remind you due items in your Asana account. The badge count shows the number of new messages you have across all your Asana inboxes since you last opened them.  Alerts include tasks assigned to you, tasks unassigned from you (off the hook!), tasks due today that are assigned to you, comments on tasks you follow, and completion or incompletion of tasks you follow. All these alerts allow busy businesspeople in particular to stay connected to the day-to-day operations happening among their collaborators.

In the mobile app, you can create new tasks, projects, and workspaces as well. You can also comment on tasks, attach documents (including local photos and documents from Dropbox), mark tasks with a heart, change due dates, and a whole lot more. Drag-and-drop functionality for reordering tasks works extremely well and makes it easy to manipulate to-do lists.

There are a few improvements I’d love to see in the future. I do wish there were shortcuts to inboxes across different projects, or an “all inbox” view, or even a “mark all as read” button for clearing the badge count quickly. To get to each inbox, you have to navigate out to the project first, and then dive into it.

When setting up recurring tasks, you can select daily, weekly, monthly, and so forth. It’s a little tricky to realize that you can in fact have a task occur only on certain days (only Monday through Friday, for example, or only Tuesdays and Thursdays) because that function lives under the “weekly” selection, rather than the “periodically” choice. The option for “daily” recurring tasks selects all seven days of the week, whereas I would expect an option for weekdays only here.

While the app has a very functional design, with text displaying at a readable size, I’d like to see some customization options eventually give users some choice in the point size. I’d also like to be able to customize the theme of the mobile app a little bit. I’m a big believer that the more we like to actually look at our to-do lists, the more we will use them. If the pre-loaded theme doesn’t jibe for someone, she should be able to jazz it up to her liking.

Asana: An Excellent App
Asana is a wonderful service, especially for those who use it collaboratively and spend some time getting to know the deep features. The Asana iPhone app is an Editors’ Choice, in part because it’s much simpler to use than the full Web app, which is how mobile apps ought to be. I’m excited to see this little app grow more, even though it’s excellent already.

Whether you use Asana to track your personal to-do list or to manage complex multi-person projects, the app gives you what you need when you’re not in front of a full-sized computer.


Verdict
If you use the powerful and collaborative task-management platform Asana, you'll definitely want to install the free Asana iPhone app. It has room to grow, but it's an essential piece of the Asana puzzle as-is.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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