Over the last few days, I’ve found myself trying to decide if the to do list app that I was using was the right fit for me. I knew that I needed one. I’ve been using task lists in various forms since high school and moved to electronic ones with a Sharp Wizard and then my Palm Pilot. With the often frenetic pace of work and home (welcome to life with two preschoolers), a task list helps keep me focused on what needs to be done and reminds me of the important things that need to happen. The behaviorist in me also recognizes that checking off each item in the list as the day progresses is doing a good job of reinforcing my behavior. In other words, my task list is my own personal behavior modification program.
I spent some time thinking about the different features that I was looking for, e.g. dividing tasks into lists, reoccurring tasks. Then, it struck me. The most important feature that I was looking for had nothing to do with what the app, website, or program could do, but where I could access it. What I really wanted was ubiquity.
Technological ubiquity is the idea that you should be able to access your data and the tools that you use from a variety of platforms, e.g. computer, phone. Just being able to work with data in one of these places is often not adequate enough as we may not be willing to run back to our desks to enter information and, for example, there is a limit to how much information we want to enter into a mobile phone.
In my case, technological ubiquity means being able to see and edit my tasks on my Android phone, iPad, and desktop which meant needing a service that had Android and iOS apps as well as a website that I could access from my computer. Needing access through three different platforms probably made things complicated, but I wasn’t about to run out to change my phone based upon a search for a task application.
For me, technological ubiquity has become a key factor in assessing a potential technology tool and one of the first questions that I will be asking is where can I use this. After this question of access is answered, then I can start looking at whether the feature set works for me.