Gone are the days when your mobile phone was only for making calls, sending text messages and playing Snake. These days, with the current technology, your mobile device is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment capable of all manner of astounding tasks. It’s not just Infinity Blade and Instagram either – with a vast array of productivity apps available, your iPhone is now an invaluable business tool.
For anyone in the business arena, especially those in direct contact with any aspect of project management, systems planning arrangement or workflow control, an application like InShort could prove vital. Essentially we’re dealing with a task manager, but don’t let that summation fool you – this is no “To Do” list app. Developer Jury Shortki has aimed this one at the power user, putting a complex, versatile tool set in your hands.
At its heart, InShort focuses on organizing tasks and projects from start to finish. Detailed schematics break down even the most daunting undertakings into manageable segments – neatly arranged, deeply customizable workflow diagrams mean it’s much simpler to make sense of things on a macro level, and easier to dig into the finer details of the project. InShort also implements an essential time management mechanic when in planning mode, attaching project flow to your Calendar app – no more excuses for missed deadlines! And being able to make sense of your inputs later via Gantt charts and various reports means that your hard work will be easily digestible.
Putting all of these features to use starts off simple, but becomes increasingly complicated as you gain confidence. The straightforward touch interface streamlines the flow chart mapping process on the worksheet – color coding various sub-sections; sorting “drilled down” charts-within-charts; popping in side notes where needed; it’s all handled with relative ease. That being said, for anyone new to this sort of thing it’s definitely suggested that you take the time to wade through the immense tutorial guide before you get stuck in. That’s not to say that only those in upper management will find use for InShort. In effect, InShort is as complex as the user wants it to be. While power users will find all the tools they need to manage sprawling, industry-sized projects, the home user might find it useful for more personal tasks – planning a holiday, school projects and so on. Hardly the core purpose of the app, but handy all the same.
The drawback, particularly for the uninitiated, is the style of language used here. The user guide, as detailed and neatly laid out as it is, speaks to people already familiar with the basic concepts of workflow management. On a technical level, there’s one stand-out frustration: to set a particular frame as “complete”, there’s a little square checkbox to select (or a percent slider), and these are terribly finicky to hit accurately. So you end up missing the button repeatedly, bringing up the frame’s detail window instead. A small issue, but an issue all the same. Also, while InShort is optimized for the iPhone 5 (and requires iOS 6 or later), the screen is possibly a little small for extended use – the iPad version obviously negating this problem.
It’s also rather pricey compared to most of what you find in the App Store, although not compared directly with other productivity apps of this kind. For your money you get one of the more in-depth management tools available – complex, feature-heavy but also useable without too much of a time investment to get the hang of it.