Keeping it Simple with Clear

Some apps just aren’t for everyone. But there is one that may at least give people an alternate way to think about how apps should be interacted with, and how many features one might actually need. This app is Clear.

To preface, Clear is basically a glorified list-making app, but this isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. I’ve been looking a long time for a to-do app that’s both pretty yet simple, lets me get in and out quickly, and doesn’t bog me down with features I just don’t need.

I was diagnosed with ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, in grade school, but I’ve found recently that there’s a few things that can really help get me up and running. A few of these things are coffee, a clean workspace, and— the point here— a to-do list. From Things to 2Do, I’ve tried quite a few approaches to the GTD (getting things done) app solution. But a lot of my complaints come from either an unattractive interface or information overload.

One of the biggest flaws I found in some apps is how slow it takes to enter a new item. Sometimes you get hung up with entering more information than you need to, and occasionally, simply going to a new view is enough to turn me away. Clear solves this problem for me by giving me multiple ways to enter a new list item, and without ever needing to leave the list view. Pull down, tap, or pinch out, and then enter your new item. That’s it. You’re done. No entering dates, alarms, details, or blood-types.

Another thing I love is the flexibility. Considering it’s simply just lists, I can use it for shopping, to-do’s, and even a place to remember an idea. It also supports emoji— the Japanese-based emoticon keyboard built into iOS— so you’re able to create a sort of hierarchy with icons within any view. I personally organized three lists into “now”, “later”, and “someday”, and made them more important than others by putting context-relevant emoji clocks next to them. I have friends who use emoji in Clear to “star” items or label with importance, too. I recommend it.

The speed of the way I’m able to navigate in and around the app is also astounding at times, and I’ve even had to double-check that I actually entered an item. But along with this, the animations and sounds make it enjoyable to the point that I’ve opened the app just to play around before, something I haven’t done since Tapbots’ Convertbot was released. Just exploring the app has its advantages, too, as you’re surprised with new themes for different actions (like even just having Tweetbot installed) to change the colors of the interface. I’m currently using the “Scorched” theme, but I won’t spoil it for you on how to get it.

It isn’t often that a to-do app has been able to capture and hold my attention like this, but Clear has been polished to the point where it’s been stripped down to just my needs. However, for bigger tasks and projects, I’ll still be using Things, especially with the recently released public beta of cloud syncing. Frankly, I’m worried that Clear may never adopt syncing to my Mac, either; it’s one feature that’s very important to me. Though for now, it’s not hard to just open it up on my iPhone. After all, it has earned an easy-to-access spot right on my iPhone’s dock. I really do love this app, especially at only $1.99.

About Chase Oros

Chase Oros is a right-brained human from St. Louis, MO. He can’t solve trigonometry, but he can whip up an interface design with a thin blindfold. He talks to strangers on a regular basis.
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