A fresh take on mobile

Emily Kramer and Tyson Kallberg

Yesterday, we launched our new iOS app. When we set out to update our mobile apps months ago, we knew we had a big task in front of us. Despite great customer growth and our devotion to being a product-led company, our mobile apps lagged behind. Our new iOS app is just the first step towards tackling our biggest opportunity for growth, and represents a shift in both our mobile and overall product strategy and process. While it takes time to build a multi-platform product and company, we are excited that we have entered a new era for Asana. We’d like to give you an inside look at how we got to this point and where we are going with mobile.

The evolution of mobile at Asana

For previous versions of our apps, we spent time on a technical approach that did not ultimately deliver. Like many companies, we tried to make an HTML-native hybrid app be a fast, simple, and feature-rich experience. We thought we could offer you functionality faster by writing code that works across platforms (iOS & Android), rather than rewriting the same features over and over (which obviously slows us down). We made this decision before Apple had introduced auto-upgrading, so the hybrid approach had the added advantage of code pushes and updates being simpler, without requiring you to update the app.

But the hybrid approach didn’t result in an app of the quality teams came to expect and need from Asana, and demand for a better mobile experience was the top user feedback by a large margin. We’ve always been committed to a great Asana experience across all devices–on computers, tablets, and phones. After learning the hard way that the only way to deliver that on mobile is through fully-native experiences, we are giving all our apps, starting with iPhone and iPad, a fresh take.

Building our native iOS app

We began designing the new iOS app around common mobile behaviors and incorporated feedback from the thousands of teams using our first generation app. We also developed a new, cleaner, brighter visual design, which will roll out to Android and the web in the coming months. Here’s a look at the process, from wireframing to designing, that we used to create the new homescreen: Early iOS App Homescreen mocks The result is an iPhone and iPad app that helps you run your day, your team, and your company. You can record an idea from anywhere in the app, recall information quickly using search, and see a glimpse of your day front-and-center. We are excited to share the new app with you, and that so many of you seem to be benefiting from the experience already.

“Asana’s brand new iOS app is incredibly fast and makes it easy for me to focus on the things I absolutely need to do today. I love that the “Today” view is shown when you first open it up because it completely fits with my current workflow.” - Kanjun Qiu, Product Manager, Dropbox

“Asana’s new mobile app is fast, smooth, and intuitive.  It has as much functionality as the desktop version so I’m now able to use Asana entirely on the go.” - Frank Yang, CEO, Simplehuman

Our plans for Android

While we are excited about what teams and users who rely on iOS can achieve with our new app, we are not stopping here. We have already started working on a comparable (but Android-customized) experience for your Android phone. We chose to develop for iOS first since the majority of our mobile users are on iOS (nearly 75%), but we are excited to reach even more teams who rely on Android with our new app. We will be working to deliver the same quality experience we have on iOS devices and the web over the next few months. If you’d like to get updates on our progress, please sign up for our Android email list. In the meantime, check out a couple of our early Android designs: Asana on Android - Mockups Thank you for your continued support while we work towards our vision of making teamwork more effortless, across devices. To download Asana for iOS, visit the App Store. For more more details about the new app, check out our launch blog post.

  1. avatarEnrico

    PROTIP: when you release the new APP for Android, use a different “package name”.

    The current APP is the LOWEST RATED app for Android I ever installed (and I don’t use it anymore, I use Keep on mobile and then transfer the tasks to Asana while on my computer) – and you can’t start with a clean sheet and get rid of the old comments if you just update the current one.

    1. avatarRussel

      I agree totally with this, you can’t recover from such a beating, rename and reberth. Have your marketing guys work there magic on a new name.

  2. avatarM

    Meh. I’m disappointed in the new app. It still doesn’t work offline, and now it takes 3 steps to complete a task rather than 1 since there is no checkbox on the main task list. What were you thinking?

  3. avatarJonathan

    I must say.. I’ve only used the new version of the Asana app for a day.. and you all did a GREAT job.. It’s packed with features that are really helpful.. just discovered that I can sort tasks within a certain project by date (helpful feature). Easy to navigate, great search functionality, and intuitive UI! Good work Asana! Your app has stolen me back from Doit.im and replaced Any.do.. that’s serious. Enjoy your day.

  4. avatarJCarter

    I suspect that there are more mobile iOS users because the current Android app is a port of the iOS app and is painful to use. Is it possible that there are fewer Android mobile users for that reason? I only say this because there are far fewer people using iOS compared to Android and that gulf widens every day since Steve Jobs passed.

    1. avatarAsh Menon

      This is a valid reason. I stopped using Asana on my Android phone simply because it was an experience somewhat akin to getting my teeth pulled.

    2. avatarMau

      Ditto. I use Asana web every day but I uninstalled the Android app immediately as it was just no good. I’m sure a lot of us will try it again when you have the new version running there! ;) No rush though, but I’m excited about it!

    3. avatarLise

      Agreed. I am tied to desktop only because the Android app is so awful. I suspect you’d see much higher usage of the app were, well…useable.

    4. avatarSteven T

      Do you really think an average user somehow knows that Android app is a port of the iOS app and decides not to use it because of that fact? “… there are far fewer people using iOS compared to Android and that gulf widens every day since Steve Jobs passed.” What is your point? That statement maybe true. Let me add this – the Mac market maybe small and unpopular, but it attracts a more sophisticated group of users who are doing more with apps like Asana instead of waisting time with games and uploading bad photos to share with their friends.

  5. avatarAsh Menon

    I salute your commitment to fixing the Android app. I can assure you that the reason your Android user share is only at 25% is because of the negative experiences we’ve had with the app previously.

    1. avatarRussel

      When I first saw 75% market share to iOS I thought it was a bit of an over statement, but then I think how bad the current andriod app is and I can soon understand why android users have given the app a wide birth.

      1. avatarRussel

        If anything those stats say iOS users are 3 times more happier with their app. and the android app is a complete failure and thats where we need to plug the whole first.

    2. avatarplanetMitch

      what I’ve found just on my own popular website, mobile traffic from android is nearly nonexistent. While android may sell a ton of machines, people who have them just don’t use them for anything but phone usage I guess. This data is backed up by many traffic reports for all kinds of sites. So I don’t think it is just because the previous android app was poorly designed. Asana is probably looking at traffic on the website as well (not just the app version)

      1. avatarSteven T

        I’m glad you backed the argument about users between the two platforms with some real evidence of your own finding. The smaller number of Mac and iOS users spend more money for the devices for the right reasons.

  6. avatarTim Vogel

    The new app is incredible. Fast, simple and fully functional (all desktop features included!) being a part of a group that has subtasks under subtasks under subtasks… It’s great having complete control and access on the go! Definitely worth waiting for. Hang in there Android users!

  7. avatarJuraj

    Hey
    I upgrade to new version, but for me it is to difficult orientate and add task ….. Can I downgrade?
    I think the best way is optimize, because simplicity is the highest perfect form of nature.

    Please ” keep it simple ”

    Thank you

    Juraj

  8. avatarJohn

    “which will roll out to Android and the web in the coming months”

    Does this mean the browser version will also get a major upgrade/revision?

  9. avatarRob

    Waiting patiently for the native android app.
    The current one is so poor/slow that I feel better when not using it, or I get nervous xD

    ————————————→ETA for the new one?

  10. avatarlee

    would be interested in beta testing , and i hope they include an offline mode then can roll it out to my non office based staff,

    it seems to be a sore point in getting offline access to these type of programs non of the company’s like to do.

  11. avatarab

    75% ios users???

    I love ASANA!!!! But I don’t use the Android app, because is useless.

    Keep on working Asana!!! We are waiting for the new Android app, and the 25% will rise soon…

  12. avatarStefan

    I am not a proponent of the perpetual iOS versus Android debate, but I do find Asana’s comment about choosing to develop first for iOS, “since the majority of our mobile users are on iOS (nearly 75%)” very disingenuous. The Android version of the app that was available in the Play Store (and has since been pulled), seemed like it was written for Gingerbread, lacked the functionality needed, crashed constantly, and was an all-around disappointing and horrible experience. This alone could have accounted for the higher iOS engagement figures.

    To be honest, the app was one of the reasons that I barely use Asana today, and had to turn to an alternative service with a fully functional app. I’m not fixed to a desk somewhere all day, and rely heavily on mobile productivity throughout my day. I really enjoy using Asana and there are two things I would like to see – some honesty from developers, and an Android app that will bring me back home to Asana.

  13. avatarJan

    Same here. I don’t trust the argument that just 25% of users are on Android. That may be real statistic based on a simple fact – actual Android app is far from being in the same league than web version or iOS version. In fact, there was an downgrade done in last months. If I remember correctly, back in days I was able to upload the file from the phone. Now this is possible only from Dropbox, no local file upload support anymore. Base on number of comments here, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one sharing this opinion.

    Keep up the great work guys. But note the ratio of Android users is such low because of one reason.

    1. avatarplanetMitch

      i posted a comment above which I think is pretty accurate around the web… people may buy android phones, but they don’t use them to surf the web or buy apps. The stats are all over the web to back this up. My website gets about 2-4% of its traffic from android where it gets about 20% from Apple mobile devices.

      1. avatarJennifer

        I think there is a major flaw in the way those website statistics are being gathered. I and most of the people I know use their Androids as a mini computer, that is where I do most of my surfing, research, paying bills, shopping, etc. The thing is, unlike iphones, which have very little ability to control any aspect of how their phone interacts with the web, every browser on my android is set to “desktop” mode, to trick websites into displaying the desktop version of their websites instead of the slimmed down mobile version. So it is entirely possible that a huge chunk of what you thought were desktop users are actually android users in disguise.

  14. avatarMatt

    Echo same comments above. I used Asana heavily on the desktop, but I have moved to other options (Trello, Google keep) for mobile. Adding a new task when I think of it on the fly was so painful on the android that I gave up. I was going to time it once, but never got around to it (I’d guess 3-4 minutes though). Our office is 65% Android, 35% Apple – all Asana desktop users.

  15. avatarAngie

    One of my co-workers has not been able to get Asana to work on her Mac this week. Any chance it’s tied to the new app launching?

  16. avatarChris

    I would be nice if you already used the ‘material design’ that Google introduced a few days ago. I would help to make the app more intuitive and future prove.
    It’s sad that html apps have not worked out better and we all now have to make this step back to native apps and keep waiting for updates for every single app.

  17. avatarShane Barnes

    Been using the new app a few days now and it’s a vast improvement upon the prior version, such that I actually look forward to using it! Given the new look and feel, it would seem you guys have plans for a similar redesign of the desktop version as well?

  18. avatarJennifer

    The lack of an easy to use Android app has made it pretty much impossible to get my team on board with Asana. I love the website version, but my team is on the go too much and needs to have simple, yet comprehensive mobile functionality. I would ALMOST consider switching to Iphone for better functionality, but about 80% of the people I deal with have Android, so I have to wait it out if I have any hope of getting others on board.

  19. avatarNipesh

    When are you planning for asana mobile apps for Blackberry z10- I dont know if you have that if somebody knows about it kindly update

  20. avatarSamir

    Hi Asana Team,

    First off, really love your product and got my team hooked (we have been using Asana for a couple of weeks now). Here’s some feedback you might already have thought of yourselfs, but I figure it never hurts to get more feedback from your customers.

    1. An undo button in every screen, for every action, including (especially!) Instagantt;
    2. A better copy-paste solution to quickly Ctr+C, Ctr+V your tasks, including subtasks, due dates and gantt data, but without the comments of course;
    3. A clear insight in storage capacity as to how much storage is already been used by attaching files to tasks (and in this way seeing how much space you spare using dropbox links instead of whole document attachments;
    4. Mark messages as read in the inbox when they have been read in the mobile/iOS app and vice versa;
    5. Make HTML notification e-mails narrower/delete the wide headers/footers, so they can be easily read in smaller windows as not everyone has their Mail app maximized
    6. Print options to select the parts of the task overview/project you want to print, for example excluding comment, Instagantt data, due dates, etc.;
    7. Instead of a due date per subtask, it would be very helpful if the task as a whole has a due date, but (some of) the subtasks ar linked to other subtasks within the main task. So person B can only execute subtaks Y when member A is done with subtask X. Including appropriate notification e-mails of course.

    I hope you will enter these as subtasks in your own Asana ;)

    Kind regards,

    Samir
    REB Projects, Amsterdam

  21. avatarJames Carl

    Good progress with new app but one important sort (By Project) is missing and inconsistent with web. I have projects that can have the same task within them but are distinct in execution. Need this sort added to mobile app.

  22. avatarSverre

    As a consultant with many different organisations I need a unified my task or similar so that I can prioritise between all my responsibilities

  23. avatarJames Carl

    Sverre, Hill88 has a unified my task list for yourself and all team members for teams you are a member of. Very nice app but still hoping that Asana will put this in both their online version and mobile along with my previous comment about including a Sort By Project in Saved Favorites. In the end the native Asana app has some advantages and disadvantages and HIll88 the same. The perfect app would be one has the advantages of both.

  24. avatarJohn

    Hopefully you’ll release this earlier than Android L, which seems to take forever.

    Also, please make it work with the keyboard, I have a bluetooth keyboard which I use with the android tablet.
    Sometimes would want just to type in a list of tasks, like on the desktop version, and it’s not possible today.
    When I try to access the desktop version of the webapp i always get redirected to the mobile version which sucks.

    Anyway,
    Good job with the desktop version, so far.
    Hopefully you’ll redesign it too, to be more like the mobile versions.

  25. avatarShai

    75% of your used are on ios? I wonder what that says about your user base. From my experience more and more tech savy people are moving onto Android.

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