Super short Nozbe review

Nozbe is a web app that allows you to organise your to-do’s Getting Things Done style. This morning I spent a little while giving it a spin. I decided to sit down and enter a bunch of actions I have in my Hipster PDA (a Moleskine Memo Pockets and a bunch of blanc index cards) into Nozbe. First impressions:

  1. Nozbe is a cool concept. I have really been waiting for a multidimensional productivity web app. They got this part right! (Projects and contexts are included.)
  2. I like the book excerpts that explain the different GTD concepts such as projects, contexts and actions.
  3. I’d really only consider using Nozbe if it’d include a mobile variant (otherwise my actions are only accessible when I’m online behind a computer).
  4. Nozbe forces you to enter each action in a project up front. This is, I think, a misreading of Allen’s ‘gospel’ and increases the cognitive load when quickly entering an action. I’d have actions be forcibly linked to a context but give the user the option to add it to a project. (I worked around this by creating a ‘No Project’ project and adding actions to it before reorganising.
  5. Contexts are fixed, which is a shame. Please, please, please let me create my own contexts, tagging-style. So I can have actions linked to multiple contexts (which again reduces cognitive load).
  6. Don’t show the duration menu by default when entering an action, keep it clean. I’ll add durations when I want to, but don’t force me to.

Productivity apps are hard to get right because everyone has such a personal workflow. A good app takes that into account and offers many ways to do the same things. So again, Nozbe guys: the app is a good start, congratulations on the good effort! However it could benefit from some more user-centred thinking and design. Try to get a feel for the context of your users and tweak the interface accordingly!

Update: For those who hadn’t noticed, I found this tool via the excellent Lifehacker blog. Nozbe have their own spartan blog too.

Another update: The excellent GTD blog Black Belt Productivity does an in depth review and comes up with some of the same points as I did plus a whole bunch more.

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is an independent interaction and game designer who makes things with technology for play, learning and creativity.