Sunday, June 12, 2016


This post is about the app tassk I build a while ago out of my own 'need' for it. As is kind of implied by the name this is an app to keep your tasks in. However, I also like to think it's slightly more than just that: more of an ini mini tiny personal project planner. At least that's how I use it myself.

What differentiates this app from others? Well, it has two characteristic features:
1. Tasks can be 'infinitely' nested
2. Tasks can be assigned points. Based on the tasks you have finished so far and the amount of points remaining the app will give you an estimation of when the rest of the task will be finished

Other than that the app is completely focussed on simplicity. Not many features, lightweight to use and pretty much all is done in a single screen. Of course, it has some basic functionalities such as swipe-delete, reordering tasks using drag-and-drop and searching.

The idea of nesting tasks came out of my own way of working. I like to structure my thoughts and put them on paper or in a document in hierarchical way. Usually, I convey the hierarchy using indents. For instance, in a work-related scenario I could come up with the following list:

- Work
   - Build products functionality
      - Add service implementation
      - Build user interface
         - Overview page
         - Detail page
      - Unit tests
      - Visual design / ux check
      - etc.

Writing tasks out in what is in fact a tree (rather than a long flat list) helps me structuring my thoughts and getting clear what it is what I actually want to achieve.

The way the 'tree of tasks' is visualized in the app is shown in the next screenshot. There is kind of tassk-ception going on here since it actually shows improvements I plan to pick up for this app.

Some clarification:
- For each deeper nested task the hue of the background color rotates a few degrees
- The child tasks of the selected task are shown with an indent
- Because the tree of tasks from the currently selected task back to the root task are all stacked on top it's easy to navigate between different levels of tasks. For instance, with a single tap I can switch from the current state all the way back to the root task to see what's in there
- Some animations are added when navigating between tasks as an attempt to make better understandable what's actually happening
- Since tasks typically only consists of one or two lines of text, and no additional description can be added, it forces me to break up bigger thoughts into smaller chunks. Again, this helps in refining an idea.

I do realize this list structure is not entirely trivial to understand to everyone. However, I'm pretty confident people will get it after playing around with it for a bit.

For the second key feature I'm borrowing some agile development principles. Since the application knows when you have created a task and how many points you have finished of the total amount of point it can estimate when in the future you'll finish the remaining tasks. Of course, this is an estimate based on your velocity. In the next screenshot for the currently selected task Admit One I have finished 59 of 91 points. Based on my velocity I should finish the remaining tasks right around the first of July.

To be honest at this point this feature is more of gimmick rather than a very useful feature. Still, it is a insightful and realistic statistic on your progress.

Where do I want to go next? Well, for starters, I'm slightly happy to say that I do actually use the app myself for my keeping track of own projects. Of course, sharing is caring, and I would like others to also try. Who knows, perhaps a few lost people actually will like using it. Currently, I'm at around 200 downloads of which about half are, ehm how shall I say, a bit artificial (I cheated).

The thing that I most would like to get is feedback. Feedback for what? Well, basically everything: features, better name, UX-improvements, design improvements, you name it. In it's current form it's usable for me, the two basic features that I aimed for are there. I'm kind of at MVP level here. Now, I have to resist myself from implementing more useless features just for the sake of implementing stuff. Rather, I would like to hear what your wishes are, why it's completely useless for you or why it does actually work for you. Any help is appreciated!

In the near future I plan to write another post with some more in-depth details on how you could approach organizing your projects in this app. In the meantime you can check out the app at

Stay tuned!

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