Wunderlist 2 Review: Task Management Made Simple

Wunderlist 2 Review: Task Management Made Simple

Dec 18, 2012 Reviews

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.

  • http://jarederondu.com Jared Erondu

    Great update to an already killer app

  • Mat

    How are those repeating tasks treating you?

  • Chris Beiser

    I’m not sure about your assessment of Cheddar and Kickoff as GTD apps (they seem more like a simple todo list and a full collaboration platform respectively, or the distinction of The Hit List as a ‘lighter’ app than Things, which are very much the same in terms of structure, other than a couple semantic differences regarding ‘projects’ and the ‘Today’ list.

  • fakedieterrams

    Too bad they’re down since they updated.

  • http://hectorarjr.com/ Hector A R Jr

    Giving it a second try, great updates.

  • Flyingfemme

    How about an updated review? The system has been down for 3 days now….I could have some sympathy if it was just a server capacity problem but the software doesn’t work. The desktop version doesn’t work on Win XP, Win 7 or Win 8….there is no iPad version. The completed tasks don’t get hidden so, if you can can get a screen, your data is lost in a sea of completed tasks from way back. The data migration has left hundreds of thousands of people with an out of date database…..what use is a ToDo list that is a week old??
    As a retired IT designer and tester I think this is just not acceptable. A real shame because the idea is good and version 1 was nice. The promised updates to V2 were good but some huge steps backwards have been added as well.
    They are claiming 3 million users…that is a lot of tee’d off people trying to run their lives, their holiday plans and their businesses being chopped off at the knees.
    Not good.

    • http://geekbug.tk/ Kamran Mackey

      Okay, all those thing you just said are WRONG. I am having no issues using the Windows app. You gotta update. Because I’m using the Wunderlist 2 desktop application right now!

    • mickeyparrot

      Same issue. Data migration reset my todo lists back to a week ago. WHEN WILL THIS GET FIXED???

    • Bryan

      This is spot on. I’ve been really set back on projects after being totally happy with Wunderlist 1- shows me for being dependent on a technology I suppose. Now seeing really valuable features and bigger picture simplicity forgone in the name of ‘tweaking every aspect’ of it. Additionally I’ve wasted so much time trying to figure out when things will be resolved or trying to contact support and all of this without warning up front to users about the possible downtime. Two weeks later, still there…

  • taylor

    Wunderlist has completely failed with its release of verion 2. We have lost features from version 1 such as landscape format and they completely failed to add the things that many of us have been requesting for some time now such as repetitive lists. My many emails since December 18th have all received responses that ‘soon we will roll out theses new features’. Vague and unacceptable. It is time to call wunderlist the “emperor’s new clothes” that it is.

    • Wam100

      I received no heads up that I would lose all of my lists as an unregistered user before they updated. I am very disappointed as I had many real estate follow up appointments listed which cannot be recovered. I wish that developers would take the time to research bugs and glitches before releasing an update. I will not be using Wunderlist moving forward.

  • Sebastian

    Task management made buggy. Try inviting somebody to the list. Headache.

List Grid
Load More