Mobility

Asana exercises its mobile strategy

The recent launch of Asana's new iOS app means now both iPad and iPhone users can access Asana workspaces and tasks.

Asana, the popular cloud-based task management platform for project teams finally got their mobile strategy in position at the end of last month with the release of their iOS app benefitting both iPad and iPhone users. Asana mobile on the Android remains unchanged.

The Asana platform got lots of press because their founders are ex-Facebook executives. Their sensibility on the web side also attracted much attention. They were a web-first company, even as more of the world moved to mobile first. Mobile apps are an ideal method for democratizing access to project management information and growing necessity with today's mobile workforces and virtual teams.

Asana and its mobile apps are free with unlimited usage for teams of up to fifteen people.

Asana on the iPad (an Asana mobile strategy rises)

I use Asana myself for managing some corporate client projects and to manage some editing checklists. To me the lack of an iPad app was holding my Asana usage back. Now with the new iPad app — Asana: Team Tasks & Conversations signs of a legitimate Asana mobile strategy are coming together. If you use the Asana cloud application, it's easy to see that Asana's famed design sensibility carries over to their new mobile app.

After logging into the Asana app (either using your Asana or Google account), your inbox, tasks, projects, and search are all easily accessible. A major (and well executed) user interface overhaul greets you. In fact, the UI changes made me forget the previous Asana app version I used on my iPhone.

This shows an example of an Asana inbox as it appears on an iPad:

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Asana inbox

You can add new tasks to an Asana project within a few taps. It's quick and fast and this shows the new task screen:


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Adding a new task

Make or break for these sorts of mobile apps is being able to manage the details of tasks, and the new Asana app enables you to set due dates, add assignees and followers, and updates.

This shows the details you can add to an Asana task:

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Task details in Asana

Optionally, you can add photos to an Asana task directly from your iOS device. I supposed a guy like me can use this for adding screen captures to tasks. It would be nice to see some form of integration to Google Drive or Dropbox on the mobile side when that integration becomes technically feasible.

When you complete a task, just swipe right to quickly complete tasks and notify your team that your work is finished.

At time of publication, the Asana app didn't have a calendar view equivalent to the calendar in their cloud app. This was a touch disappointing to me. However, I found out that Asana now integrates with the Sunrise Calendar app. It will be interesting to see if Asana expands the mobile app with a calendar view in a future release.

There's no offline access to your workspaces or tasks in Asana at the current time. This fact isn't a showstopper for me, but I know it is for some users, so I want to make mention of it.

Asana on the iPhone

I've been using the Asana iPhone app since it launched. The first version was serviceable but hardly a selling point for adopting Asana for a team. Now iPhone and iPad users of the app will be on parity feature-wise. The update was long overdue. The new iPhone app is friendlier and more inviting than the previous version. It's also easier to navigate between workspaces and projects.

This shows tasks appearing on the iPhone app:


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Tasks on the iPhone

Asana on Android

Asana Mobile was last updated in Google Play on January 14, 2014. The recent iPad and iPhone updates slingshot Asana on iOS past this Android app (the reverse was once true in my opinion) though I imagine as Asana on mobile continues to gel that the iOS and Android apps will find some parity.

Final thoughts

Asana delivering on a mobility strategy is a bit past due in my opinion. I welcome it nonetheless. It should be interesting to see how mobility plays into Asana's future product roadmap and strategy and if Asana becomes more of a web and mobile company.

The updated Asana iOS app can be an additional attraction for teams contemplating a move to the Asana platform. Teams already standardized on Asana can now democratize access to project workspaces and tasks across mobile devices and PCs.

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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