New $15 (introductory price through June 1) calendaring app for the Mac, from Flexibits. I’ve been beta-testing it for a few months, and I’m impressed. Fantastical’s primary innovation is its natural language parser for event creation — you type something like “Yanks-Rays tonight at 6:40” and Fantastical not only parses that into a new event, but, using some very clever animation and design work, shows you what it thinks you mean before you hit return to actually create the new event. Watch their screencast to see what I mean.
Four years ago I wrote a piece called “Deal With It”, about how some UIs feel like going uphill and some feel like going downhill. An uphill UI feels like you’re fighting against the app; a downhill UI makes it feel like the app is helping you along. The example I chose to illustrate my point was event creation in iCal (uphill, and steep) vs. 37signals’s Backpack (downhill). Fantastical is an even better downhill UI for event creation.
One more point: Fantastical also provides a terrific list of events coming soon on your schedule. It’s now my primary calendaring app.
★ Tuesday, 17 May 2011