30 Mar Ta-Da Lists makes it fun to check things off
I’ve written to-do lists on just about anything: Post-Its, a text file on my laptop, whiteboards, notepads or whatever else you can make marks on.
Recently, I’ve started trying out a free online service, Ta-Da Lists, that provides a really, really simple way to keep track of to-do items. It was made by 37 Signals, a Web development firm, as a promotional piece – which is why they can offer it free without any advertising.
(Mostly, it’s promoting their project management software, which does a bit more than to-do lists, but isn’t free.)
Ta-Da Lists sports a sleek, simple interface that makes it a pleasure to work with. There’s no clutter or distraction; it does what it does, and no more. That will, of course, disappoint anyone looking for more.
Ta-Da’s sharing features are good for a small workgroup – you can choose to share individual lists with specific people.
Signup is painless, requiring only your name and e-mail address (which the owners promise to keep private) and a choice of login and password. That’s refreshing, since a lot of free Web tools these days have lengthy forms that run through your street address, phone number, gender, industry, favorite color and typical diet.
Because it’s Web-based, you can access it from anywhere with a browser. That’s good and bad. It means you’re not tied to a specific desktop application and can get at your lists from different computers. It also means limited offline access, though, which is a problem for me because I take my laptop a lot of places without an Internet connection (yes, such places still exist).
You can create any number of lists. There’s no categorization system for them, but hopefully you don’t have enough action items on your plate to need one. The focus is on your active lists – old lists that contain only completed items get shoved out of the way, accessible but not distracting.
Similarly, once you’ve checked off a to-do item, it is immediately shoved down to the bottom of the list and made smaller. That makes it immediately clear what items are left to accomplish.
Some other features include e-mailing yourself a list of outstanding items (with a single click) and using RSS to keep a watch on changes to your list if you have an RSS reader or use a service that supports the technology, such as My Yahoo.
And that’s about it. As I said, the power here is in simplicity. Don’t expect any bells or whistles. It’s a fairly useful application that takes approximately ten seconds to sign up for.
The Web could use more of those – I, for one, am tired of having to give every Web site I visit my life history.