The premise of new iOS app A-List+ is simple: combine the functionality of several task and life management apps into one. But when it comes to use, it’s “ridiculously robust” says Production Manager Matt Dailey.
The idea of all-in-one convenience came about when Founder & CEO Jeff Johnston couldn’t find anything else to fit the bill. In a previous entrepreneurial venture, Johnston started a business management software company for home infusion therapy providers in 1993.
“It literally ran every aspect of our business,” Johnston says.
It was the first thing he logged into in the morning and the last thing he logged out of at night. While the primary use was business, it also helped Johnston keep his personal life organized. In 2013, he sold the business and when he decided to part ways with the company six month later, lost access to the software. He thought there would be plenty of other apps out there that offered a comparable substitute, but, “Actually I couldn’t find anything that put it all-in-one,” Johnston says.
Enter A-List+. Johnston partnered with experienced app creator Dailey, who has worked on 100 plus mobile application projects.
“Jeff pitched his idea to me for a personal management system and it sounded like a great idea, so we rollup up our sleeves and have been hard at it ever since,” Dailey says.
That was just over two years ago. Johnston had been conceiving the app for a few months on his own, and with Dailey on board the duo developed a much more comprehensive view of the functionality. The next step was to contract with an out-of-state designer who laid out the screens and navigation – down to a meticulous 90-page document.
Johnston says that much to their chagrin, they were unable to find a local developer to take on the project. A-List+ opted to outsource, finding options at one-third to one-quarter of the cost. A team of developers in Belarus spent about a year putting together the first phase of the app. A-List+ returned stateside for phase two, hiring a local company with which Dailey worked for several months, then bringing on another local developer on their own.
The years of careful execution have reached critical mass – A-List+ went live in the Apple app store on December 9.
A-List+ combines the functionality of a user’s contact list, calendar, to-do list, notes, password management system and more, and adds the weather based on location.
“We haven’t invented anything new here per se, but we have taken existing functionality that is very siloed in separate apps and we’ve put it together,” Johnston says.
Within the app, silos are replaced with an interconnectedness that makes it easy to jump from note to contact to task and back again. Normally that would mean popping from one app to another, but Dailey explains that with A-List+, a user could be creating a note and remember they need to add a task their to-do list. An additional actions menu allows a user to quickly create a task then be dropped right back into their note.
Opening the app provides a user their day at a glance with that day and the following’s events and tasks (and any overdue ones) along with the weather. Outside of the day-to-day is a bevy of functionality that can be used for everything from better organizing contacts, to managing a large-scale project.
A-List+’s contact list syncs with the native app on the phone, but allows users to create contact category lists. Home repair, banking, clubs, boards – lists can help organize the contacts a user gets in touch with frequently, to those they reach out to rarely.
A calendar that’s synced with iOS, task lists and notes all get space on the app with similar functionality to their stand-alone versions.
“We didn’t want a learning curve; we wanted it to be familiar from the moment a user picks it up,” Dailey says.
Usernames and passwords get their storage space as well.
“One of the cool things about it is we’ve incorporated touch ID or pin code,” Johnston notes, adding a level of security to a list of personal information.
Johnston and Dailey spout example after example of how a user could leverage A-List+’s organizational power. A couple is using it to manage all of the information for building their home – notes on contractors, appointments, invoices, etc. A parent could use it to organize the contacts of and reach out to all the parents of the kids on their children’s sports team. A student could enter the important due dates from their class syllabus and use it to track projects.
With such robust usability, the question of who is A-List+’s target audience is a difficult one to answer.
Johnston classifies it as, “digital users who want to be well organized.”
It’s someone who likes to be organized and is looking for something to help make their life more manageable. Dailey says users can span three to four generations: his parents who are in their 70s, to a child who has never lived in a world digital technology. It meets the organizational needs of a general digital user, but is wide and deep enough to meet needs in an individualistic way, without having to do a lot of customization and setup.
The creators plan to keep the app free for now, eventually envisioning a sustainable subscription model which charges a few dollars a month – as Johnston points out, a small fee for an app that has the potential to organize a user’s entire life.
Combining the power of six to seven individual apps, now, “Our biggest challenge would be to get people just to break their habit,” Johnston says.
Watch the video below to learn more about the functionality of A-List+.
For more information, visit alistplus.com.