Checkmark is a new location-based reminders app that rivals our old favourite Clear and Apple’s own Reminders.
We’ve been using Checkmark for a few days now and are starting to really like it. The app is available for an introductory price of $0.99 in the App Store.
We got in touch with Checkmark’s founder Ryan Cash and asked him a few questions about the app and its development.
Business Insider: How is Checkmark different from Clear, Apple’s Reminders app, and others similar to do lists apps? What makes it stand out?
Ryan Cash: Checkmark is quite different from Clear. [Clear] focuses heavily on lists, and doesn’t actually have the option to set reminders for anything. Clear is an awesome little app, and it’s definitely fun to use, but it doesn’t help people that need an actual audible and physical reminder to remember to do things.
We’re pretty similar to Apple’s Reminders app in many ways, but also quite different. They have date/time-based reminders with lists and location-based reminders, all in one place. Checkmark keeps things separated.
BI: We really like the well-designed the app is. Tell us a little about the design process and where you guys got inspiration from.
RC: It all started one day when I was sitting in my car outside of a restaurant and wanted to create a reminder to do something when I got home. I’d been using location-based reminders in Apple’s Reminders app for a few weeks (with the iOS 5 beta) and loved them. But then it dawned on me – I hated creating them. It took so long.
I immediately rushed home and pulled out my sketchbook and got to work. I worked on Checkmark during the evenings while still heading Marketcircle’s marketing, another Apple-based software company. Finally, in April 2012 I left my career of 5 years to start my own software company, Snowman.
BI: Is there a plan to release this app on other platforms like Android, the desktop, and Windows Phone?
RC: Our next version of Checkmark will be for Mac – we’re already hard at work on it and it’s very exciting.
We’re also working on some great updates for the iPhone app, including a third major component to sit alongside “Where” and “When.”
BI: Because this is a location-based app, what does Checkmark do to ensure that a users location remains private?
RC: We’ve met all of Apple’s guidelines for privacy, and we’re using Apple’s own “geofence” API to track a user’s location. We don’t store any data about anything on our end, as it’s not an app that runs in a Cloud or anything like that. All the data is stored locally on a user’s iPhone.
BI: How did you guys decide on your price point?
RC: We decided to launch at $0.99 so that everyone could afford to try Checkmark without risking a big investment.
BI: What was your biggest challenge developing the app? Did you run into any issues when you were trying to get the app into the App Store?
RC: The biggest challenge when developing an app is deciding it’s done. It might seem funny to say, but it’s really hard to decide something is ready for market, especially when it’s your baby. We have a huge list of things we want to see in Checkmark, but at some point we had to decide to get it out there. It’ll also help as we hear from our customers about what they like and what they don’t like, as well as what they find is missing.
Checkmark is different from other reminder apps because of it's timer feature, distance list, and the ability to choose a geo-fence radius for each location.
Checkmark's timer feature lets you delay a location-based reminder so that it goes off when you're ready (e.g. 15 minutes after arriving home).
Checkmark shows you a list of everything you have to do, grouped by location and displayed in order of distance from your current location.
When you have some idle time you can see what's around you and get things done.
Choose a Geo-fence Radius for Each Location:
When you add a new location to Checkmark you can choose a specific radius distance for each location.
For example, this lets you select a small radius for places in the city that might be nearby each other (for example, the grocery store and the bank that's across the street).
You can set a larger radius for places like a shopping mall so that reminders go off no matter which part of the mall you're in -- or for places that you'd like a reminder for when you're further away, like an upcoming bus stop.
Add Locations from Map:
Add location-based reminders for places that aren't in your contact list or your current location by searching a map to find them.
*Apple is adding this to Reminders for iOS 6 but it's not available yet.
Create Reminders in Only 3 Steps:
Create location-based reminders in only 3-steps, compared to 11 in Apple's Reminders app.
Create time-based reminders in only 3-steps, compared to 8 in Apple's Reminders app.
Make sure to pick the right unit of distance. We accidentally picked kilometers but it was easy to change.
You can also add reminders on the fly, so if you want to remind yourself of something when you leave you can add it quickly.
You can select if you want to be reminded when you arrive or leave and exactly when you want to receive the notification.
When we arrived at the office this morning Checkmark, nudged us to finish what we needed to get done.
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