Theresa and I are often asked about the applications we use on our computers, tablets, and mobile devices, so we decided to write a monthly blog post about hot (and cold) new apps we discovered. Found a golden app yourself? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll review it!
Application Description (from orchestra.com):
Orchestra is your to-do list, connected to everyone. It helps you organize what needs doing and communicate with others to get it done. Orchestra blends organization with communication to make working with others a piece of cake. Every conversation is focused around a specific task, and you can collaborate with anyone in the world with only an email or phone number. Orchestra also uses advanced voice recognition technology, allowing users to take handless notes with their voice. The application also syncs with other devices and also with an online version at orchestra.com.
Key Features (from orchestra.com):
- Collaborate on tasks with an integrated chat
- Voice recognition for entering to-do items
- Device and online syncing of to-do list
- Forward emails to orchestra to automatic adding
- Receive email notifications of collaborator activity
- Receive email notifications of upcoming to-do items
This month we decided to review an application both Theresa and I use for day-to-day workflow organization at Colordrop. Orchestra is a beautifully designed application useful for organization management. Like an orchestra, the application allows users to collaborate on to-do items in order to create beautiful things together. Of course, despite how much we love this application, I do see room for improvement and expansion. Read further for my full review and the pros and cons listed below.
The most important aspect of this application is that Orchestra is incredibly easy to use. The user interface is similar to other to-do lists in that one adds to-do items and then checks them off once they are completed. However, this isn’t just any to-do list as Orchestra is built around collaboration. It is equally easy to add team members and to assign them to-do items. In addition, team members can also view your items as well in case they can assist during their down time.
A key feature we use daily at Colordrop is the chat option, which is active on every to-do item. This allows users to comment in more detail about the item and to have a conversation if needed. The chat option isn’t found in many other to-do list managers and I find it tremendously aids in our workflow because we are able to communicate more about the tasks. For example, if Theresa is too busy to complete an item I can add a note saying I will complete it if she doesn’t have time. Theresa can then add a message that she is too overwhelmed to complete the item in time and also re-assign the task to me. Two major features I am sure others will enjoy are the abilities to email to-do items and voice recognition for recording new tasks. These are not aspects of my daily usage, but I am sure others will find them useful.
One major fall back is that the app is only available on iOS with no iPad native support. Therefore, one can use the app on an iPad, but the application will remain at the resolution of an iPhone. Android, WebOS, and Blackberry users will have to cross their fingers that versions for their platform will arrive in the future, but so far the Orchestra blog does not state interest in developing for other platforms. For Colordrop this is no problem, but better options exist for an office or organization where employees use a variety of platforms. Also, Orchestra does not play well with other applications (such as iCal) and thus is not able to incorporate cross application functionality like scheduling a to-do item and having it appear on one’s iCal. This isn’t a deal breaker for Colordrop, but I can see where others might need that capability.
Overall, Orchestra is a powerful, well-designed to-do management app for the iPhone. Theresa and I tried other options and found this task app works the best for our business. If the few cons mentioned above are not necessary for your own personal workflow I would highly recommend giving Orchestra a try!
- Beautiful, user-friendly interface
- Helps reduce email clutter
- iOS and online versions auto-sync
- Only on iOS w/o iPad support
- Does not integrate with iCal or other applications
- No repeat task option