Review: Let’s Take a Short Walk with Steps
As we’ve seen from the success of Clear by Realmac Software, the craving for a simple UI with no complexity is massive among the ranks of people who serve as fans of the indomitable App Store. Attempting to similarly, but not exactly, provide a more desirable user experience, Steps ($1.99) recently became available in the App Store. In the works since last year, Steps has launched irrefutably superior to what Clear had to offer, and we’ve got a glowing review.
Steps shares a lot of similar functions with the aforementioned Clear; firstly, it strives on the bare bones of a strong, yet utterly simplistic user-interface that takes almost no effort to successfully use. I did have a chance to check out Clear after its strong debut on the App Store and after using Steps as well, I tended to slowly shift to using the latter more often. They both aim to offer seamless task management, and they both have undoubtedly done a wonderful job in doing so.
As soon as you start up Steps for the first time, you’ll be taken through a few steps to introduce you to the application’s minimal, though highly sophisticated, functionality. Rather than a few menus like in Clear, Steps simply has a folder management system much like that of Windows Explorer’s or Finder for the Mac. Clicking on the folder name will reveal the contents of that folder. Personally, I preferred this substantially over Clear’s navigational system which has multiple pages; with Steps, everything was on one page and easily able to be viewed.
With so many priorities in life, Steps targets those who need a solid task-management, to-do application. The main purpose of the application is to allow you to prioritize your hobbies (folders) and attribute different tasks to each. Steps doesn’t have as many gesture-based controls as Clear does, but it does have a few among the others. By clicking on a list name, you will be able to open the folder as we’ve said – items within that folder will slide out underneath the name, and you can click on each to edit the task. Also by clicking, you can choose to pick a due date. Assuming you have notifications configured for Steps, a reminder will ping your phone at the desired/set time and date for the task. Multiple options for when the app should remind you have sadly been omitted, but you could always set the desired time a few hours, days or minutes back to have the reminder come in advance.
Unfortunately, if you delete the instructions that are used in the beginning to get yourself accustomed to the UI, there’s seemingly no way of getting them back (they’ve been organized as folders and tasks to demonstrate the various functions of the application). This is kind of a letdown is you forget how the app works, which shouldn’t be the case.
Another feature that is included in Steps but is not apparent with Clear is the ability to sync your tasks with iCloud as well as with Google Tasks. This helps you stay more organized and keeps any tasks you’ve written on your phone, automatically available on your computer and other iOS devices. It was a great addition and very much needed.
In terms of presentation, Steps has evidently had a ton of time invested into it. Even though it’s only got a few menus, the application looks entirely polished and crisp. It boasts a blue color theme with every UI element adopting a different shade of the blue for means of contrast. From the icon itself, you can make out the attention devoted to detail.
After playing around with both Clear and Steps, I can say that the developers behind the former might have rushed things a bit while Steps aims to satisfy its users a bit more. With a UI that was more favorable in terms of seeing everything together at once, the ability to sync your tasks and more, only a few minor gripes set back the experience of using Steps for me over Clear. Regardless, I can say that Steps was easily a cut above its obvious competitor, and it’s worth $0.99 for its pure simplicity.
[easyreview title="Our Score - Utility" cat1title="Overall" cat1detail="" cat1rating="4.5"]