Wunderlist 2 Review: Task Management Made Simple

Released early this year, Wunderkit sought to redefine online task management and collaboration with its stunning user interface. However, down the line, 6Wunderkinder thought it best to refocus the company on the tool that made their name synonymous with tasks in the first place, Wunderlist. Today, they seek to revolutionize simple to-do management yet again with the release of Wunderlist 2.

I’ve had Wunderlist 2 installed on my Mac and iPhone for over a week now, and so far, I can only merit that this app works as beautifully as it looks. And I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Wunderlist 2 comes with a bunch of new features like online syncing, filtered lists, and Facebook integration, to name a few. However, Wunderlist 2’s true hallmark is its simplicity and ease of use that comes with the new design. Featured on the image above, the redesign spans across the multitude of different devices Wunderlist works on, giving it a single, unified interface.

The Interface

A step up from the former, Wunderlist 2’s desktop apps are no longer framed web apps. Originally built in Titanium, they now run native to every operating system they work with. Completely rebuilt from the ground up. Because of that, I’ve noticed a lot of speed improvements and overall stability with the app’s interface, and since interacting with Wunderlist 2 is significantly faster, a lot more emphasis is placed on the app’s excellent visual design.

On the Go: Just like Wunderkit, Wunderlist 2’s mobile app looks just as great as its desktop counterpart, and navigating in-app is as intuitive between interfaces.

Wunderlist 2’s graphical interface features a sidebar, a hidden activity center and a task list. The sidebar, seemingly styled after OS X’s, holds the lists to organise certain tasks, and gives the ability to share lists (a lá Reminders app) with other Wunderlist 2 users. Aside from that, the new sidebar also holds one of Wunderlist 2’s new features: Smart Lists.

Sidebar Smart Lists

The sidebar works as any other. A quick navigator between your numerous lists and the place to add new ones. It also serves as a quick view to how many things are yet to be done in each list.

On the Mac, minimizing the width of the application to under roughly 840px snaps the interface into a condensed version where the sidebar navigator is now moved to the center of the top bar. Switching between lists is then done through a dropdown (account button and activity center are moved to the far right of the top bar).

Smart Lists filter indicative tasks and they only appear when certain kinds are present. For example, if I mark a task as starred, a ‘Starred’ Smart List will appear listing it. The same will happen for tasks that are currently due. It’s an excellent interaction detail that keeps Wunderlist 2’s overall ‘simple’ look by grouping things together.

Activity Center

Wunderlist 2’s Activity Center, another one of its new features, is accessible by clicking the bell icon next to the app’s logo. The Activity Center is essentially the app’s own notification system, alerting shared list activity and invitations. However, because it’s hidden, it can be easily missed; it took me a while to find out where it was and how I could access it (but the bell icon helps). Although I figure it wouldn’t bother anyone if they’re never going to use Wunderlist 2’s new sharing features— which is a shame in fact, if not used.

When a list collaborator makes any sort of updates to the tasks (comments on one, adds a subtask, marks a todo as completed, adds a todo), their actions will appear in this popover along with their avatar and time stamp.

Sharing

The new sharing features of Wunderlist 2 make collaboration incredibly streamlined. It’s yet another feature pulled from Wunderkit that has been stripped to its bones and simplified to match the lightweight theme of Wunderlist. It’s as simple as typing an email address to invite others. Then, a notification will be sent to the person either via email or the app’s Activity Center. And with the new Facebook integration, it’s even simpler to invite those who are on the service, and see their faces. Always a welcome humanistic touch.

Task List and Details Panel

Majoring all of Wunderlist 2 is its brand-new redesigned task list. Bearing some resemblance to v1, the task list still features its quick-entry input bar, task panels, and 6W’s trademark wooden background (a feature I once disliked, but am now accustomed to).

What’s new, however, is the ability to open a details panel per-task, allowing options to set recurring due dates, reminders, notes and even sub-tasks — which is a feature that has long been asked for and one I find truly nifty. When used in collaboration lists, changes will be pushed to Activity Center so everyone’s aware of what’s been done or changed. The details panel works great on both desktop and mobile, and is a real fun to use.

Friendly: The app’s overall art direction gives Wunderlist 2 an inviting feel, and these nice little notifications make for a great personalized interaction.

Overall Usability

While the rest of Wunderlist 2 is all about its design — it’s really top-notch, there’s no denying that— it really boils down to how the app is used. In my week’s worth of heavy usage, I can say this: even for an app that’s designed for simple use, I believe Wunderlist 2 is a worthy enough competitor to the top-tier GTD apps in the market like Cheddar, Kickoff, and in some ways heavier services like The Hit ListOmnifocus, Things, and Basecamp.

In Erondu’s words, “It comes down to the applications’ simplicity. Often times we mistaken a slew of features for a more powerful effective app/experience. Yet sometimes it’s those same long lists of features that end up making the app hard to grasp, or in some cases ultimately useless. We need to stop thinking about simplicity as solely an art direction. It can be a product direction. Focus only on what you want your product to be great at. Add some finesse. Everything else is noise.”

With that said, 6Wunderkinder created an app that’s so well-made, it turns the essentially complex form of a task management, into a simple, brilliant to-do app. It’s use case can be easily described. And as I’d say in German, Wunderlist is Wunderbar!

If you’re the kind of person that’s into task management, a designer or developer in the need to sort out priorities, a small team looking for a tool to keep things in sync, or even if you’re just looking for a nice-looking app to try out, Wunderlist 2 is the app for you. Best of all, it’s free. So go check it out! It’s basically on every device: browser, Mac, Windows, iOS, and even Android.

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