Thursday, November 14, 2013

App of the Week: AnyList

Since I've been working in the mobile industry for almost 10 years, I think it's about time that I start blogging about mobile apps. So, welcome to my very first App of the Week post!

Me at the supermarket: 
Wait... What was I supposed to buy?

If this sounds like you, welcome to my world. I think of myself as having a great memory but for whatever reason, I feel like a lost puppy when I'm in a grocery store. Chock it up to my lack of cooking skills and never knowing which ingredients I need for a certain recipe I'm attempting that night, or perhaps it's because my husband barks some last minute requests to me as I'm walking out the door. Whatever the issue is, it suddenly occurred to me that there might be an app for that! Although I've been working in mobile, I never really thought I needed a grocery app... that is, until now.

For months, I've been reading tech news about Remember The Milk, so I tried this app first. This app is actually available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry 10, and the web. It also integrates with your Siri, Outlook, Gmail, Evernote, and more. There are also other services that offer RTM integration through their API, but I digress.

Remember The Milk has a cute little cow icon and that was very appealing to me.  Wow, talk about judging a book by its cover!

Believe it or not, RTM was just way too complicated for me. Here are a couple of screenshots:

I'm pretty darn tech savvy so it wasn't difficult to use per say, but it just wasn't exactly what I was looking for in this particular case. I already create calendar reminders for my personal tasks and I really just needed help at the grocery store!

Dear app developers, please just solve my problems, make my life easier, and stop adding other features that you think I'll love but probably won't ever use, thanks.

So, I did some more research and downloaded Yummly. Cute app name, right? Plus, their website is awesome. It's colorful, organized, fun, and made me feel (for a few moments) that I could be an amazing cook if I just followed these recipes!

Unfortunately, I felt overwhelmed by their iPhone app. :-(

Discovering recipes is fun because the photographs are visually stunning and frankly, make you hungry. I love pinning recipes on Pinterest and this was similar. You just hit that orange "Yum" button and all of the recipes you think are yummy go into a special section which you can access later. The problem is that when you try to access the recipe directions, you're brought to a different website each time (since these recipes are being funneled in from a variety of other sites). I'm still an amateur chef so I need directions to be consistently clear, and hopping from site to site where your cooking abilities are expected to be rather high just frustrated me. And again... I need an app for grocery shopping!!!!

Yummly does offer a grocery list aspect but it's tied to their recipes and I was looking for something quick and easy. For Yummly, I'll probably just keep browsing their pretty website.

Finally, I found AnyList! Cue the violins! The screenshots shown below may look simple but hey, that's what I need! The best part of this app is that I can share my grocery list with my husband. I can just hit "Share" which will prompt a push notification to his phone, or I can simply send it via email or text message. Once I found this feature, I was hooked. I can create an entire full grocery list and poof- he'll get it with one quick tap so he can pick up everything on his way home from work. AnyList also organizes your list into sections that match your grocery store so you won't forget to pick up the eggs in the dairy section when you're already buying that milk.

The app automatically pre-populates items when you begin to type them.

They also offer up a few free recipes which are super easy for beginners like me!

AnyList is free but there is a one year subscription version for $9.99 called AnyList Complete which allows you to attach photos to list items and choose list themes with new fonts, textures, and colors. The paid version also gives you a passcode lock so you can keep gift ideas secret from family members. I'll probably just stick to this free version but it's nice to know that they will be adding new features to enhance the app. Like Yummly, AnyList is only available for iOS devices but let's hope they're building an Android version too.

What app have you been tinkering with lately?

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