It’s finally time to demonstrate how an alternative to the default touch UX/UI can be achieved with a fun but practical daily application on iOS, with Clear App, details here:
Introducing it at just 99 cents, it’s worth a try. But because the user-experience and user-interface is a tad bit different, I thought it would be fun to write a small article with some tricks and tips, including a currently undocumented little secret on how to unlock additional themes.
An introduction to the application
It’s very simple, and right up my alley as some might remember my blog posts about how to NOT manage a todo list in order to make it work: It’s a todo list you don’t have to manage. And yes, there are 500 other todo lists out there, Things.app, Wunderlist, and Apple’s own Reminders app. Each caters a unique interface, and has a slightly different approach. This one is for my daily usage, my grocery list, my little post-its.
What’s so special about it?
Nothing much really as it seems straight forward: Swipe to mark something as completed, or to delete it from the list. Pull or tap to create a new item. And hold and drag to change the order. In a nutshell, that’s it.
But there’s complexity behind it’s front-end simplicity: Colored (un)ordered listing.
Automatically new items are getting a color, like a heat map. Items at the top are more red than the yellow-ish items at the bottom. And it occupies the whole screen. The font is easy to read, and you’re provoked to keep it short and simple. Of course, you can re-arrange the list. This, however, allows for a subtle interface that’s logical, intuitive and provokes a smile on your face. There’s certainly no corporate feel that I can detect.
What I like about it is that when items are created, edited, deleted, ordered, etc, it automatically re-arranges things, changes the colors, and gives you no-click one-glance impression of what’s more important and at the top of your list. From a usability standpoint this means you open the app, and then do it (or read it).
I forgot, when does managing your todo list come into play? Exactly: It doesn’t. The only editing you will be doing is marking it completed, or perhaps to delete an item.
How to use the iOS Clear app: Tips & Tricks
Let’s get to it.
- Tap to add a new item to the list
To quickly add a new item at the bottom of the list (a lower priority one which will get a lighter color) all you have to do is tap the screen at the bottom of the list. You can type instantly. You can also tap on a completed item to push a new one in.
- Add multiple items quickly
If you are adding one item, you can just pull down and it will quickly create another one. This way you don’t have to confirm your new item (or edit) which will hide the keyboard again, and pull to create a new one. Rapid fire item creation.
- Inline-editing quick erase
When you are adding or editing an item and the keyboard is up, you can swipe to the left to quickly remove all the text. Saving you to keep pressing that backspace key. If you did this by mistake, you can swipe to the right again to undo this oopsy.
- Pull harder to level up
To quickly add a new item at the top, pull down a bit to slide in a new entry. However, pull a bit harder and you find it will let you level up in the layers of the app. In this case, it will switch you to the list overview. Do it again to go from lists to the settings layer.
- Quick Exit / Exit Overlays
Just like in a lot of web apps, when there is an overlay such as the keyboard or an edit panel, you can tap the empty space to close it. Quick exit out of your edit by tapping the screen below the edit field (or above the keyboard I guess) instead of having to press Done on the keyboard.
- Mass Complete / Delete Lists (Swipe Left/Right Navigation)
As you have learned, you can swipe to the left to delete an item in the list, or swipe to the right to mark is as completed. Go up a level and do the same on the Lists. Swiping to the left will let you delete the list itself, and all items in it. Swiping to the right will mark all the items within the list as completed. Can’t really get any faster than that.
- Quick Editing the List
Nope, you do not have to delete and re-create the list if you made a mistake or decided to repurpose a list. Just tap the name and you can edit it. Tapping anywhere else will load the list.
- Customize and Personalize with Themes
Is the heat map not really to your taste, perhaps the sound irritates your boss every time you complete an item (and are actually productive). You can change the theme, and turn all sounds off, you can even turn on just vibration. Use the pull-harder trick as mentioned above to go all the way up the layers until you are in the settings, where you can click on Themes, or Settings, and customize / personalize it to your needs.
- The Basics
Tap and hold an Item to change it’s priority. It will automatically change color.
Instead of the pull-harder trick, you can also pinch vertically to close the current level.
Pull at the top of the screen to add a new item. Or just tap an existing one to edit it. You can also add an item in place by pinching two items apart.
You can clear completed items by swiping up from the bottom.
A little secret: Unlock Themes
Not everything is documented, so play around with the app. Get to know it, have fun with it. You might just discover a few secrets. Here is one to unlock a couple of hidden themes.
First of all, if you have Tweetbot installed, you get rewarded with a Tweetbot theme. How awesome is that. Seriously, that’s awesome.
Secondly, show some love to the team and follow them on Twitter, you might just get something back in return. Such as the Scorched bonus theme. Which I really like!
And finally for version 1.0, if you use the app enough you get asked to share with friends, at which point you can earn the socialite bonus theme. (mark 100 items as completed to share with friends)
Thirdly, since Clear 1.1:
If you have the iOS Path app installed, you will unlock the Path theme.
If you are kind enough in the app the “Gift me” option will appear. And clicking it will unlock the Gift theme.
When you use Clear for seven days in a row, you will unlock the Ultraviolet theme.
And if you are a vampire you can unlock the Night Owl theme by marking items complete between midnight and 3 am.
Finally, if you are a gamer and have these games installed: The Heist, Temple Run, and Bumpy Road you will also be treated to three themes. NOTE: Only Bumpy Road and The Heist gave me a theme, the last one hasn’t been unlocked yet, we have to wait for the game to update first.
That’s it, I hope you like to simplify your todo items, and have a todo list without spending time to manage it, with a fun interface that makes it even more fun to use it.
Find out more about Clear app on twitter via @useClear or search for hashtag #clearapp and/or #clearbonus
[update: 1:23 PM / May 23, 2013]
As per popular request, there are a few updates to Clear app and that means new secret themes, here are a few:
Connect to iCloud, and you unlock Cloudy.
Install the free app Letterpress to unlock the Letterpress theme.
And 1.2.2 will have a secret theme, so stay tuned.