Never forget whose round it is with Turn Taker

Turn Taker is a new iOS app from independent developer Malcolm Christie. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries no additional in-app purchases.

Turn Taker is a productivity app that allows teams to collaborate on various repetitive tasks and easily determine whose turn it is to do something. The examples given by the developer include mundane activities such as buying milk and taking out the garbage, but there’s no reason why it can’t be applied to more complex scenarios which involve repeated tasks.

To use Turn Taker, users must sign up for an account, which may be done using Facebook, if desired. Once signed up, the user then has a number of different options. They may create a new team, join an existing team or manage the tasks and teams they are currently involved with.

Creating a new team is a simple matter of giving it a name, tagging it with a location via GPS and determining whether or not it is “public.” The latter option determines whether or not any other Turn Taker users in the nearby area will be able to find the team and join it — this is good for situations where the team manager would like people to volunteer for the team rather than inviting people directly. The app does allow for direct invites too, of course — this may be accomplished either through the iOS contacts list or Facebook if the user has connected their account. If the team is set to private, inviting users is the only means of adding them — all team members must accept and join the team before they can participate in the activities.

Once a team has been created, users may create tasks for the team. The app assumes that all tasks will repeat indefinitely and that it will be used to determine a “rota” for who is responsible for any given instance of a particular task. Once a task has been created — again, a simple matter of naming it — any members of the team may either volunteer for the task, or alternatively the team owner may allow the app to decide whose turn it is automatically. Once a task has either been volunteered for or assigned, it may be marked as completed at any time, which then allows it to be volunteered for or automatically assigned once again. Each task tracks who has performed it and when, and also notes whether it was assigned or volunteered for. Users may also mark themselves as inactive if they are going to be away or otherwise unavailable to contribute to the team.

The app is relatively intuitively designed and makes use of an attractive “block-based” interface vaguely reminiscent of Realmac Software’s Clear. There are a few crucial features missing, however, and it’s these flaws that prevent me from recommending Turn Taker without some reservations. The most serious issue is the fact that there does not appear to be any means of deleting tasks or teams once they have been created. The user may leave a team at any point, but this does not delete it. Similarly, a user may rename a task at any point, but there is no means of eliminating it entirely. For Turn Taker to have value as a serious productivity tool — or even simply a means of managing household chores — it needs a bit more flexibility in terms of the data the user can input and remove from it. At present, it’s simply a good idea that needs a bit of work to improve its implementation.

You can follow Turn Taker’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

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