You may not be familiar with MetaLab, but you’ve definitely come across their work: they designed sites for Qik, Sugar, Texts From Last Night, and the ubiquitous Tumblr theme ‘Fluid’, among other things. And today they’re launching a new app of their own: Flow a new simple tool for managing and delegating tasks.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the app is beautiful (and I don’t throw that word around lightly). This isn’t a huge surprise given MetaLab’s background, but the web app looks and feels a lot like something you’d expect from a polished native iPad application (in addition to the web app, there’s also a native iPhone app available right here).
MetaLab founder and CEO Andrew Wilkinson says that Flow tries to address a common problem: there are plenty of services that offer task management and to-do lists, but people often have their tasks scattered across multiple services. You might have your work projects stored in one place, like Basecamp, and then your personal tasks (“buy groceries”) or freelance work stored somewhere else.
Unfortunately when you’re juggling multiple systems, things often fall through the cracks. Flow tries to solve this problem by making it easy to manage both personal and work-related tasks from one place, and by offering a streamlined interface that’s relatively easy to use.
After signing up (which takes about 30 seconds), the app will walk you through most of its core features. To create a task, you enter a name, a due date, any contacts you’d like to delegate the task to, and relevant tags (most of these fields are optional). Tasks can be grouped into projects, and team members can append attachments and comments to each task (in a nice touch, all comments are posted in real-time, so you don’t have to refresh the page). The app also supports email — shoot a quick note to email@example.com, and you can add a task and delegate it to your colleagues. And you can check the current status on delegated tasks from a single dashboard.
Above all, the app feels slick. It isn’t overly complex so it’s pretty easy to get started — though if you’re used to other robust task management tools, you might find some more advanced features are missing. If you’re looking for an alternative to GTD lists, Outlook, or Basecamp, it’s certainly worth checking out. The service will also be competing with Asana, the site founded by Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, which is currently in private beta.
Flow offers a 14 day free trial, and then runs $10 a month or $99 a year.
This isn’t MetaLab’s first product — they also did the invoice service Ballpark.