Grid is a new free app for iPhone and iPad from Binary Thumb – created by ex-Microsoft employee Josh Leong.
According to the app’s description, Grid is a place for your projects and plans and enables you to organise notes, pictures, people and places in your own unique manner.
Grid is a place where your ideas fit.
Grid is a mixture of digital scrapbooking, note taking, project planning and to-do listing all rolled into one using a grid framework in which to place your content.
When creating a new Grid, you are presented with what is basically a stripped down spreadsheet with all of the mathematics and formulae being replaced by words and pictures. There’s no doubt the inspiration for the app came from its creator’s time working on Excel 2013 for Microsoft but this app is not at all aimed at those wishing for Excel for iOS.
It is, instead, a place where the user can map out ideas and plans within a grid format, incorporating text, images, colour-coding and integration with maps and contacts. It’s an original idea and a new way to think about organisation.
The app is really minimally designed and is easy to use. A tutorial is launched as soon as Grid is opened for the first time to give the user a sense of what is possible within Grid and how to use the gestures and import content. The lightweight design is on trend but is not simply form over function. It actually strips down the interface to just what is needed with a useful mix of gestures and buttons for interaction.
In Grid, there is a clear focus on empowering users to plan and remember things in their own way, the basic editing mode being called Maestro to enforce this fact.
There’s also a huge emphasis on collaboration with each grid being shareable from your iPhone or iPad and editable by other Grid users – this enables projects to be created and worked on by a group of people, something that could be really useful.
However, although the collaboration could prove to be useful for small scale projects with family and friends, I struggle to see the overall value of Grid. There are plenty of other to-do apps in the app store, both simple and feature-laden, plenty of other journaling apps that are much more focussed, Day One for example, and digital scrapbooking is possible elsewhere such as those creatable in iPhoto for iOS (which are more shareable in social terms, also).
Grid doesn’t match the functionality of any of these alternatives meaning it is good at a few things but not really great at anything. Even though an original way to think about planning projects, and with a fair amount of potential (it is, of course, only version 1.0), I think Grid could struggle to break into people’s tried and tested workflow in what is a very competitive productivity category.
TiP rating: 6/10
iTunes link: Grid