As part of my own goals of optimizing my workflow and toolsets, I frequently test new applications, services, etc. I’ve decided to start publishing these, where appropriate (e.g. not if it’s a private alpha or something). So here’s the first, a promising new task manager called Lunatask!
Productboard for Feature Requests: Under Consideration - Lunatask: Idea Voting Portal | Product Roadmap
A caveat: I tend to dive straight into any new tool without reviewing the docs in full and write my notes from that perspective. I do go through any provided onboarding. I do it this way because I think many other people do, and also because it helps expose things that may be unintuitive and worth reconsideration, but which might be missed if I read an explanation of it beforehand. I also did not review the Productboard prior to this, for similar reasons, although I’m sure some of what I mention below is reported there.
As a result of this approach, some of my feedback below is actually addressed by the docs. This is expected with my approach. It doesn’t necessarily mean this thing needs to change, but consider better in-app tooltips, tutorials, references to docs, etc. to help address any unintuitive aspects.
Testing Time: ~2 hours
I may revisit and update some of this.
Platform: Windows 10
- Very nice, clean design and aesthetic
- Very fast, responsive app, feels good to use
- Nice concepts and initial execution
- More “opinionated” than Amazing Marvin, but easier to figure out and start using effectively as a result
- Appreciate the in-app onboarding tutorial and that it is brief, though may benefit from a few (optional) additions.
- Some good documentation (though not necessarily comprehensive), especially around comprehensive explanation of sorting, prioritization, etc.
- Auto task ordering requires a lot of trust for someone to commit to, especially if they’re used to a more manually managed tool.
- This should probably covered better in the onboarding/starting tutorial, i.e. methodology, some proof/evidence of efficacy or rationale, etc.
- Lots of nice touches like mood tracking and integrating that into e.g. habit tracking area
- Nice, fast, global search (e.g. includes notes and tasks), and contextual results (brings you to respective area with highlight of result).
- Quick Add is a cool feature in lieu of a mobile app
- Impressive that Zapier integration already exists
In general I am impressed by Lunatask in beta. It is a really nicely designed app with some good ideas and well thought-out little touches like integrating mood with habits as just one example. I am uncertain how I feel about using its prioritization system, but it seems well considered, and to have enough flexibility to work for a variety of people. I’m not inspired to consider switching from Amazing Marvin yet, but I’ll definitely keep an eye on it.
- Odd non-standard placement of max/min buttons
- Possibly due to initial Mac focus and the Windows version came second?
- In fact the whole left sidebar seems to ask like the application title bar as it’s the only place you can click to drag the app around, which is definitely weird and non-ideal.
- No undo support yet?
- The fact that it goes back to the last-used/viewed area in the app on launch is good!
- But it probably should not do so in the case of Options… I doubt anyone wants to launch into options.
- Window size is not maintained upon close/relaunch
- And default window size on Windows is tiny
- Bug: Click on left titlebar, drag window somewhere, stop moving mouse and hold
- Window size seems to grow automatically right and downward…
- Possibly direction of expansion is related to the direction you were dragging in…
- New Task button is all the way at the bottom of the toolbar, while new Area is just below Search. Surely new task is the more commonly used function and should be placed higher! Arguably it might even make the most sense at the very top.
- Also ideally there would be a more clear visual distinction between these buttons
- In fact consider whether creation of new Areas even should be an always-exposed thing like this, or would be better in Options or something.
- Alternatively, e.g. a long-press of the Add button gives you multiple options, e.g. new Task, Note, Area.
- Had a bug after completing tutorial and trying to add new tasks with Ctrl-N. Couldn’t type anything into task name or description. Fixed itself after I went to options then back out to Home Area. Unable to reproduce so far…
- Clicking on dropdowns for e.g. task duration sometimes only triggers on the arrow. Haven’t been able to reproduce this consistently.
- Canceling out of Task and Area creation should remove Task/Area rather than create it empty and then require deletion. It’s too easy to end up with blank tasks.
- This is especially true with Areas and how accessible that button currently is, and the placement and icon of it making it seem like the New Task button.
- Until I build muscle memory for the unintuitive place the New Task button is I think I will have a few accidentally created Areas and deleting them is cumbersome as I have to assign an area for the (non-existent) tasks to go before I do so.
- Up/down arrows on right of task list have initially unclear function. Apparently it’s for priority, but this way of indicating it is non-obvious (though it looks cool) and makes it look like it has some function (move up/down or something). At the least there should be info on-hover to explain.
- No drag-and-drop between sections (now/later)
- Purpose of Bold formatting on top task is unclear. I thought it would be for any task that was Started, but that does not seem to be the case.
Still not sure what it does/means.
- OK, it appears to be what Luna determines is the most “urgent” task. That’s useful, but it’s unclear that this is what it means. And also seems somewhat arbitrary when e.g. two tasks are both “normal” priority and have no time estimate so are equivalent “urgency” as far as I can see… In such case an arbitrary urgent indicator seems unhelpful. Either none should be bold or both should be.
- Inconsistency between how the State of tasks is handled. “Waiting” has a visible tag, but no other status appears to, and some statuses literally move between areas. Just a bit inconsistent/unclear.
- I know this is somewhat related to how the sorts and grouping work. But “waiting” still seems to be treated specially somehow. It’s the only thing that really seems to be “tagged”.
- Should be an easier way to confirm out of editing a task, particularly from Description and setting e.g. time estimate. Ctrl-Enter, perhaps. Esc. works, but typically that is for “cancel” and one would worry that changes would be discarded.
- Ordering of tasks is not clear aside from Priority. Is it otherwise by Creation Date?
- Setting status to “Next” changes ordering to bottom of list, but no clear visual delineator between “started” and “next”. I.e. inconsistency or lack of clarity between Statuses and Workflow sections…
- I now understand this is one of the grouping options, but intermixing of these options still seems a bit confusing, although I also see some power/utility in it once understood
- Should be an easier way to “unfocus” without right-click, e.g. double or single click on the focus timer.
- Could be more clear delineation of repeating tasks. Just saying “Today” doesn’t show it’s recurring unless you already know that non-repeating tasks don’t say that.
- Very nice feature and smooth, well implemented!
- Should be able to drag from top of time blocks to resize downward as well as the existing drag from bottom
- Removing things from the calendar probably should not have a “trash” icon. This makes me worry I am deleting the task.
- Mood logging is a nice feature, but there are some concerns and possible issues.
- Ordering of mood options is unclear (I can guess at what the 3 columns might mean, but not sure)
- Some options I might want are not included (e.g. curious).
- Basically the included emotions seem useful but arbitrary.
- Putting as many specific options in seems to imply that one should get specific, but then you run into the likelihood that there will be feeling states you have not represented.
- Perhaps more importantly, providing so many options means it will potentially take longer for any meaningful patterns to emerge, unless one tends to just pick the same few options anyway, in which case a smaller, perhaps self-selected list would be better.
- Additionally, with the specificity of things, comparing over time becomes potentially harder because samples can be differentiated to only a small degree in sentiment, but will not be correlated, thus spreading the samples out perhaps more than necessary/useful.
- I would suggest either fewer options that are more broad but still useful, or letting the user choose. Perhaps start with a list of e.g. 10 specific emotions, and have a pop-out “full” list that people can pick from optionally, and if they pick one e.g. 2+ times, it will automatically show up in their main list or something.
- Ideally, if you’re going to be comprehensive, you would use some more full emotion list like the NVC Feelings Inventory here: Feelings Inventory | Center for Nonviolent Communication
- Also not sure how I feel about the visual representation of mood, e.g. a face half one color, half the other… I get the intent, it can just end up looking a bit odd.
- If you start typing when note body or title is not selected, it appears to automatically create a new note. This is unintuitive if not confusing.
- Click to focus note contents area requires you click on a small text area. Should probably just go into note edit by clicking anywhere in the note contents pane.
- Would be nice to interpret markdown in pasted text
- Drag to reorder notes would be nice (or some other way, e.g. Ctrl+arrow keys).
- Consider a better way of exposing Notebooks
- Ideally something like a hierarchical list with collapse of notebooks as “folders”
- Or perhaps Notebooks exposed fully in left menu, perhaps with expand/collapse of showing Notebooks by clicking on main Notebook icon?
- This would also allow easier reorganization of notes with drag+drop.
- New Notebooks have default text that you have to delete. Should just be blank on-click. Nobody will use “New notebook”, hah.
- Would be nice to have ability to scroll back/forward in dates
- Also zoom in/out might be nice
- Setting a specific time frame to view that doesn’t depend on size of app window would help with focus and clarity of info presented
- Also visual week/month delineation (e.g. shading/highlighting/outlines) in calendar/dates at top would be helpful
- Unclear what the number (1) on right side of habits list (in my case under Sunday) means. It appears to be some kind of counter, but doesn’t increment with the total number of habit completions? Maybe it’s “most recent streak”?
- Need drag-and-drop between habit groups
- And for ordering too
- I get it now, but at first I couldn’t figure out how to create a Habit! Docs should make this clear.
- “Other” as a sort of default habit group seems unnecessary and strange. You can’t delete it, it just disappears when you move all new habits out of it. Other groups do not do this.
- Why not just let new habits get created in group of choice?
- It’s unclear how to create Habit Group, you have to find it in a sub-menu of right-click. Seems needlessly clunky.
- Consider replacing “New Area” button on left menu with “New habit group” contextually when in Habits section.
- Same feedback regarding placement of buttons here as in Tasks: New Habit should be high up, New Area (or Habit Group) should be lower. But still above options!
- How can Ctrl-N be both for Add New Task and Select All Tasks in the List? I can’t get it to do the latter, only the former, which makes more sense anyway.
- This appears to possibly be an error in the docs. Ctrl-A selects all tasks, intuitively.
- However, once all are selected (highlighted), it’s unclear what one can even do. Actions do not seem to affect all tasks.
- Unselecting is also unintuitive. It is the perhaps unwisely chosen universal “end current action” of Esc. I can’t think of another app where Esc ends selection, for example…
- Undo support (unless I missed it)
- Would be nice to have tags, although not strictly necessary since you have Areas and other organizational functions.
- But cross-area tags could be nice indeed…
- Search should definitely include note and task description contents
- Some place to see current version in-app would be wise to add, e.g. “About”
- A mobile app is probably going to be important to people (and is already in feature requests, of course)
- I didn’t review/test all the different workflows, sort, and grouping options.
- Didn’t fully test Recurring tasks
Header image is copyright of Lunatask, from their official website