I was pretty blown away with how quickly you can start adding tasks to the minimaList app. There is no signup and the user interface is real slick, you simply need to bookmark your lists URL and you can reference it forever. We caught up with creator, Matthew Shwery, and asked him a few questions on the build…
Hey Matt! Cheers for the submission:) Tell us where you’re from and what you do?
I’m an Iowan transplanted in New Orleans, Louisiana – which is endlessly entertaining. I’m a web developer from the world of design. I do all things front-end (sketching/design to HTML/CSS/jQuery), and some things back-end (Rails/API). I currently work as a developer at VoteIt, a local startup that’s making waves in online group decision-making.
Your site is beautifully designed and easy to use, really love how you can actually interact with demo (reminds me of disqus). How long did it take to build?
Thanks. I’ve been working on it periodically over the past few weeks. I couldn’t count the hours. It took longer than anticipated, but the app was meant to be a learning experience. I’m delivering a Rails API to a Backbone JS client-side application, which was something I hadn’t done full-on before.
I see your app doesn’t have a log in module but relies on users manually bookmarking links to the lists they make. This must have its pros and cons I guess… what was the main reasoning behind this decision?
My wife and I needed a replacement for our grocery list that we could both edit on the fly. Why should I have to log in to something to write a grocery list? This isn’t a heavy-duty task management app. For us, minimaList’s predecessor is a piece of paper. So I wanted to get everything out of the way. Click a bookmark (or an app icon if you save the app to your home screen for iOS people) and your lists are there.
There are definitely cons as well – for one, you have to bookmark it or you’ve potentially lost it. It’s also only as secure as you make it. If you post your url in a publicly visible place, anyone with the link can access your lists the same as you. I’m certainly considering an optional log-in.
So why should users use your app and not others like TeuxDeux, Todoist or even Trello, Asana and co.?
If you want a simple list that you can share with a spouse, a friend, or a group – this does the trick. You can manage multiple lists, reorder items, use it on mobile or desktop, and that’s about all you need for the casual user.
It’s not heavy-duty, so you are missing features like deadlines, calendar-based tasks, task assignment, etc. There are already fantastic apps that cater specifically to those needs.
“minimaList gets out of the way to let you write your list. All of its functionality is designed to make that process as easy and simple as possible.”
We featured “Clear” app a while ago and it got mega hype with its stunning UI. Does one need to test and try every competitor out there when building a similar app?
Clear is indeed stunning. Big fan. Clear snuck under my radar until the big PR wave hit from its launch. When it came out I questioned if I should shelf this project, but waited to see what functionality it brought to the table.
I don’t think you need to test every app. It’s beneficial, to be sure. You need to do adequate research if you care about differentiating from competitors or doing something new and meaningful.
It’s crucial to understand what tools people are using, why they are awesome, and why they suck.
So what other projects have you done?
I launched Noladex as a project for all of us attendees to create during Barcamp Nola‘s hack day. I currently am developing VoteIt with a small team in New Orleans. I previously created web sites & apps with Squarefour (I know, I know. But it predates Foursquare).
Cheers for the insight Matt, what can we expect from you in the future?
A locally-focused app that’s highly secretive right now. Just kidding. But really, I can’t tell you.
It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for the support and opportunity to share.