Productivity Apps That Abandon Tradition in Favor of Interesting Designs

When it comes to productivity apps, design simplicity and familiarity are usually most important because no one wants to learn a whole new system every time they check out a new to-do app. But sometimes apps break predefined productivity rules and do something completely different.

Good design can make or break an application, and there are many well-designed software out there in the world. But here we wanted to take a look at software that works in a different way. For better or worse, these apps are reimagining the way information is displayed in a productive app. As a result, we end up with some really interesting design choices, and while the software on the list definitely won’t appeal to everyone, it can make you rethink how you organize tasks.

Moleskine Timepage reimagines calendar as a list

Even at first glance, the Moleskine Timepage for iPhone ($ 2.99) clearly works differently. Rather than focusing on a typical calendar grid, Moleskine expects you to spend most of your time in a list. This expansive, continuous timeline lets you see your weekly schedule at a glance. Timepage still has a month view, but even that is slightly different. It uses a heatmap with different color shades so you can see at a glance how busy you are.

Other calendar apps certainly have list views, including our pick of the best on the iPhone, Fantastical , but Timepage is designed from the ground up with that list view in mind, and you can tell. Timepage is more for people with a smaller meeting list, if you have dozens of things to do for the day, Timepage won’t do you much good. However, for those of us with simple daily lists, moving away from the traditional look makes it easier to understand what you’ve planned.

Dials renders your calendar as a watch face

Kits for Android and iPhone (free) are one of the more innovative calendar approaches we’ve seen. Instead of a list or grid, your day is organized and displayed on the clock. It makes sense when you see it in action, and this organization is perfect for people who usually only have three or four events a day. Viewing the hours makes it easy to spot potential problems in your schedule, and there’s also a traditional calendar if you just need to look at some dates. The watch faces certainly won’t work very well for people who have a ton of appointments to schedule, but for the rest of us, this is an interesting twist on the standard design.

Uncheck Ditches, organize your affairs into a heatmap

Clear for iOS ($ 4.99) is certainly old news , but it’s still worth mentioning here because no matter how you shorten it, Clear has changed the way we think about to-do apps. Instead of the traditional checkboxes we usually associate with tasks, Clear uses a baseline list and heatmap to help you visualize the difference between important and unimportant. While you can add alarms, Clear doesn’t focus on due dates, priority, or any of the other common to-do app organizing features, making it best suited for simple tasks. Clear may be old, but for a huge number of people, its simplicity still makes it the best app for people who don’t need tons of features. Android users can try Koalcat’s Clear , a similar app created by another team.

Doo turns your affairs into a stack of cards

You might think there isn’t much you can do at this stage to make to-do lists interesting and new, but the Doo app for iPhone / Mac ($ 2.99) challenges this idea. Doo uses a card system to organize your affairs. Each list is a new card, and you can add notes or a specific due date to it.

The main concession here is the card system, which doesn’t differ much from a separate list, but does change the way you view your tasks because normally only the topmost card is visible. You can of course move on to a more traditional list of everything, but there is no purpose here. What makes Doo work is that you only see one task at a time, and that’s the only thing you should be thinking about at this moment.

Gmail inbox is almost nothing like inbox

Despite the name, Gmail’s Inbox for Android and iOS (free) is a completely different kind of your email inbox than you’re used to. In fact, when we first talked about Inbox a couple of years ago , our first piece of advice was to forget what you know about email, because not only does Inbox look different, it also works completely differently than we are used to.

Basically, Inbox does something that many apps previously couldn’t: It turns your email into a to-do list. But beyond that, in the years since its first launch, Inbox’s greatest strength has been the context it adds to emails. It connects to your calendar to organize events , aggregates travel information, and has a built-in reminder feature . The end result is an inbox that looks more like a social media feed than Gmail. Like most of the apps on this list, Inbox works better for some people than for others, but either way, it’s undeniable that it’s a completely different approach to a traditional inbox.

morning Post

Morning Mail for iPhone (free) takes swipe gestures from Tinder and puts them in your email app. Morning Mail has nothing to do with reading or responding to email, it’s just organization. Swipe left to delete an email, right to archive, and down to mark it as read. It’s similar to the previously mentioned Triage , but doesn’t seem to be getting much updated these days. However, for people who don’t like managing email on their phone, but love to organize it, Morning Mail’s interface is great for that.


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