dNORAM asks ‘what can you do now?’

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By Pete Davison Comment

dNORAM is a new task management app for iOS from Susanku. It’s a free download that purports to “streamline day to day activities in an efficient manner” and help users to remember small tasks that are tied to locations as well as bigger projects.

dNORAM’s interface is minimalist and straightforward. To get started, users tap on an icon in the lower-left corner of the screen to bring up the task manager interface. This allows for the creation of a task by entering a title, estimated duration in minutes — there is no apparent ability to change this to hours — and address. Users may attach the task to their current location, enter a specific location from Google Maps’ database or note that the task does not have a specific location. There is no facility to add notes to tasks or categorize them — the only means of organizing tasks is by physical location.

Once a list of tasks has been input into the app, the user may then take advantage of the large “What can I do now?” button on the main screen. Upon tapping this button, users are prompted to say how much time they have available and are then presented with a list of their tasks that would fit into the available time. This calculation takes into account estimated driving time (again using Google Maps), so a three-hour task that is two hours’ drive away will not appear unless the user indicates they have at least five hours free. It is, however, worth noting that this calculation only takes travel to the task into account — not returning from it.

That, in essence, is all that dNORAM does. It’s a clear attempt to streamline task management into as simple and minimalist a form as possible while incorporating intelligent location-aware suggestions of what a user can do. In that respect, it works relatively well, but the app feels unpolished and unfinished and does not incorporate anywhere near enough features to make it practical as a user’s primary task management solution.

For example, when creating a task, the lack of a Notes section, ability to set times in hours rather than minutes and facility to categorize and filter tasks immediately puts it well behind almost every other free task management solution out there. The inability to set a task as being relevant at a particular time as well as place is also something of an oversight — as it stands, the app is only really useful for tasks which do not have a specific due date or projects that the user simply wants to complete “sometime in the future.”

The interface, while clean, simple and minimalist in design, also manages to be unclear in what it is telling the user at times. When viewing the task list, for example, the app displays the distance to the event in miles (fine) but also the time it will take in a completely indecipherable format. A task put into the app as taking 30 minutes is shown in the task list as taking “0:1h” in time, while a three-hour task approximately two hours’ drive away is also inexplicably listed as taking “0:1 hour.” Compounding the confusion is a piece of blue text that seemingly attempts to show the total time (in minutes) for a task including travel time, but sometimes another seemingly incorrect and/or meaningless time listing appears underneath the travel distance — the aforementioned distant task, for example, displayed “49h” underneath its travel distance for reasons that are completely unclear. See the screenshot above for an example.

These issues and a significant lack of features that users expect from task management apps mean that dNORAM, while having good intentions, is not really ready for the public at this time. There’s potential here, yes — the principle of suggesting tasks that users can fit into a particular amount of available time and taking travel time into account is a sound one — but the execution is, at present, left significantly wanting.

As a new release, dNORAM is not yet listed on the App Store leaderboards at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.