What makes for a truly Universal app?

This week, we launched a fully universal version of our app, and it has been really interesting to listen to the feedback we’ve received. Because we started on the iPad, many folks thought the real challenge would come from shrinking the big iPad design down to a smaller form factor like the iPhone.

Yaaay! iPhone here we come!

There were certainly some challenges in the design department, but we always knew the really tricky thing was going to be sync.

Having started on the iPad, the last thing we wanted was for our iPad users to find themselves stuck and unable to view their iPad tasks on their iPhones.

After all, what’s the point of having a mobile time tracking app if your iPhone & iPad can’t agree on how long you worked today? Why even bother if your devices don’t always have the same data?

So in version 2.3, we set out to build a behind the scenes sync system, a little engine that keeps all of your devices up to date with your latest tasks.

Sync that just works

There are a lot of time tracking apps out there, and many of them have a sync capability. We’re certainly not the first in that department, but we do think we’re the best.

Why? The reason sounds like something you’d hear from an angry spouse.

With software, it’s not what you do. It’s what you don’t do. We don’t make you create an account. We don’t make you manage your data. We don’t get in your way.

Seriously, we couldn’t give two shits about your email address.

When you use Track, you just start tracking your tasks. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what device you’re on. If you start on an iPad and then install Track on your iPhone, your tasks will automatically show up a few moments after you launch the app.

How did we accomplish all of this magic awesomeness? Simple, really.

We said “no.”

Falling decidedly in the Apple camp

The big thing we said “no” to is Android compatibility. Lots of app makers keep that door wide open from the very beginning. They want to appeal to everyone because that’s usually what makes the most sense from a financial standpoint. Cast a wider net and you’ll get more fish, or so some saying goes.

And look, we totally get that. Money is great. Money lets you do amazing things at terrifying scale. We like money.

But we’re not really in this thing for the money alone. We just want to make great products that we would like to use. We are a bunch of iOS developers who had been using a number of other time tracking tools, and many of them just didn’t fit our needs.

Lots of other apps had too many features and just weren’t that good looking. We wanted a simple & beautiful product that works on all of our Apple devices. We wanted something that gets out of the way and lets us focus on our work.

So we said “no” to Android because we aren’t Android users. More importantly we said “no” because supporting Android would have meant making our users create some sort of account just to use the app.

No account needed

We think accounts suck. A world with less accounts is an objectively better world.

Accounts account for most of the frustration people have with software these days (pun intended). That’s because accounts need to be secure, and heavy security measures almost always run counter to a good user experience.

Typically whenever an app becomes more secure, its users suffer a little bit more. The app is genuinely trying to keep out bad people, but in so doing, the app almost always makes it harder for good people to get in too.

Have you ever logged into your bank account, only to find out your bank got hacked recently and needs you to create a new password? How did you feel about that? Did it suck?

99% of the time, you’ll create the new password, write it on a sticky note, and file it away in your memory. Then a few weeks later, when you need to get back into your account, you’ll forget your password. Eventually, it becomes a repetitive cycle. Create account, forget password, change password, forget new password, change password again, etc.

Another Username & Password is born. The Circle continues…

Do you feel like this has been your life lately? We sure do. There is an overabundance of accounts. We’re drowning in them.

We don’t think an app becomes truly Universal until it does away with accounts. If you have to keep logging into your account on all of your different devices, it really puts a damper on the experience. You will spend more time chasing forgotten usernames & passwords than you will spend using the product.

We knew that if we wanted sync to be a great experience we’d have to say “no” to accounts. We’re sure glad we did.

Great Universal apps “just work” with no setup needed

We said “no” to a lot of things so you don’t have to say “yes” to anything. It doesn’t matter if you start on an iPad or an iPhone, Track doesn’t make you do any setup at all.

You heard us.

  • No account setup
  • No annoying tutorial screens
  • No spammy emails
  • No pressing refresh buttons to sync data

None. Zip. Nada. You just create tasks and time them on any device. That’s it.

With version 2.3, Track — Simple Time Tracking & Invoicing is now available on iPhone & iPad. It is the simplest time tracking tool you will ever use.