ShoppingList iPhone App Review.
With the Holidays around the corner, shopping is the activity on everyone's mind. What do we need to for the Christmas dinner? What presents should we buy for mom and dad? Do we have all the Christmas tree decorations we need? It's a busy time for everyone and technology should be here to help us keep track of these things. In come shopping lists right on your iPhone. There's a big variety of such productivity apps in the AppStore. Today, we're going to stop for a second and review ShoppingList - an iPhone app with great potential but, in my humble opinion, one that missed the mark.
ShoppingList - a great way to stay organized
The screens for the app are fairly easy. Tap the "Add New" button at the corner of your screen and enter the item you want to add to the list. You can either select the item from a list that the app provides or write it yourself. You can add a picture for it, select a category, set an amount to buy and also set a price for it. Additionally, add a note to remind you of why you need it or perhaps the best location to find it.
You can very easily add, remove and rearrange items on your list.
Create multiple lists, depending on your needs. I personally took the app shopping earlier this morning, and this multiple lists thing comes in handy. For example, if you go shopping every week, and there are some items you buy on a regular basis (like bread, soap, toilet paper and whatnot), you can have a General Shopping List that you'd have with you every time you go shopping. Any additional items for a specific week can go in a separate list.
It is this multi-level of organization that gives ShoppingList a great score on our board.
Going beyond the basics
It is the same multi-level of organization that works against ShoppingList. Pencil and paper is one, you don't have additional papers you need to go back to and check if everything is crossed off. on your iPhone, you can of course keep just one list, and categorize everything in that list. That cuts down on the clutter.
Adding to the level of complexity is the number of options that you have to complete in order to add one item to your list. I personally don't see why adding a price to the item is beneficial. It's a "what to shop" list not "what I've bought and at what price" list. The amount for each item can be easily integrated in the item name itself. Say I want 1 package of flour. I can just type in the item name 1 pkg flour, instead of typing flour and then selecting 1 pkg from the amount field. The picture also adds to the complexity.
So in essence, what should take me a couple of seconds to enter on my list, can take me up to a minute to fully integrate. The more complicated your shopping needs, the more you need to actually plan time to plan for shopping.
On Shopping Lists
Personally, I hate shopping. Well, I don't hate it, but it's not one of my favorite things to do with my time. I look at shopping lists as something that I need in order to get shopping done faster. I used to use pencil and paper for this. You can quickly jot down everything you need, fold that paper and take it with you. It shouldn't really take you more than 5-10 minutes to write down your shopping needs for a week's time.
I see technology as a way to speed things up, make them easier for me. My ideal ShoppingList app should be able to cut down those 5-10 minutes in half, and also make things easier for me when I'm at the market.
A complex solution to a simple problem
In essence, Shoppinglist is a powerful tool, just not what I have in mind when it comes to my shopping needs. I like the pencil and paper. Some people decided that's old school, so when I move on to the digital technologies of shopping lists, I want to have the same simplicity and reliability. It shouldn't take me more than a couple of typings to get an item on my list, and with ShoppingList, things are too complex for my taste.
With ShoppingList, things should go back to the drawing board. For me, the app was too complex for my needs. I've reviewed similar apps before (read about ShopShop here), and what I most liked about them was their simplicity. In ShoppingList, developers presented a complex solution to a simple problem: jotting down items you need to pick up in the supermarket.
Developer: Werner Freytag
Updated: November 23, 2010
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