Gradefix: the ultimate task manager or a feeble attempt at riches?

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gradefix3.GIFFollowing the recent trend of online applications for college students is Gradefix. Gradefix doesn’t aim to be an all-in-one application for students but rather aims to do one thing and do it well: be an online assignment book and task manager.

The review

The sign up process is fairly simple and expected. That is until you are asked to fill out your class schedule. While the class schedule seems expected who knows how much time they are going to study each week before they receive assignments?
screenshot

After that, you are taken to your dashboard where the main action occurs on the left module. Here you can add assignments with several options: The class, type of assignment, the due date, and the estimated time of completion.

gradefix1.GIF

After you add the class, it is then placed on the right hand side and are color coded by class.

Once your assignments are moved to the right you have the option of updating its progress, which really doesn’t let you click off “I have 20% done” it simply irreversibly deletes your task.

Bottom line: The site seems to only have the bare bones of a decent usable web app.

There are some promising features such as the color coding of classes and the simplicity of the layout but beyond that there is not much you can’t accomplish with something like Outlook or even the task manager that comes with most operating systems. Probably the best feature is that Gradefix totals up your study time every day, something that takes a calculator and one index finger.

Another gripe is that when you add a task and pick the due date, Gradefix automatically assumes you are going to do the work for the class the day before it is due. I would think a time management tool would allow you to block off certain parts of your day for projects as you see fit.

On top of all of that, when signing up you are asked if you would like to pay $5 for the premium service which allows you to track more tasks at a time. But I don’t understand why anyone would like to pay for a service that a simple free calender application can do for them.

I understand we all have to pay the bills, but I really hope this isn’t a money grubbing scheme and that the makers plan on adding more features. I would pay for an application that added value. The site has a great basic framework laid down, and can add some features such allotting study time, reminders, and progress meters.

Until then, I can’t reccomend Gradefix.

[tags]Gradefix[/tags]

5 Responses to “Gradefix: the ultimate task manager or a feeble attempt at riches?”

  1. Taylor Says:

    I appreciate the time you’ve spent reviewing our product, and I have to admit I’m still chuckling about your “calculator and one index finger” comment — brilliantly written.

    That said, I do wish to share a few thoughts:

    We are a small team with limited time and a huge planned feature list (SMS / email reminders, iCal integration, etc…), so we’ve had to take the 37signals approach and simplify, simplify, simplify our product and incrementally build it from here.

    As far as the money-grubbing is concerned, we started out building the app for ourselves, and realized that other students might want it as well. And I firmly believe in giving people nice tools for free, but I’d sure like to keep paying our bandwidth providers, so we settled on a mixed approach.

    Gradefix excels with longer-term, longer study-time projects (research papers, exams, etc), where it can spread time out better. It is not the best short term planner… yet.

    I do agree that we have a (super) long way to go (especially with the work-the-day-before-due issue), and I commend you for your honest assesment.

  2. Mac Says:

    I agree with Taylor for the most part, and thanks for reviewing our site.

    We didn’t go into this project blindly, and have talked to a lot of students (in addition to all the years we’ve spent in school ourselves) and most students know how much time they have available each week for studying. Given that they know how many hours they’ll work, and how many hours they’ll be in class, and how much time they want/need for non-school activities, it is usually not too tough to figure out.

    Once Gradefix knows how much time you’ll let it manage, and the tasks you need to squeeze in, it can schedule time to get everything done. The biggest benefits, like Taylor said, come when you’ve got a whole lot of work to do and don’t have the time to figure out when to fit everything in. When mid-term testing and finals week approach, your time is all gone, so Gradefix helps to spread the load to earlier weeks so you can still get in all the study time you’d like.

    We may be lacking in the help/instruction/documentation department, so we’ll take the blame for this, but even after you check off a portion of a task that was assigned to a particular day, the due date entry still shows up, and you can always click on it or any task entry to edit the task and adjust your time estimate. I don’t know too many people who stop working on a homework assignment that is due tomorrow if they’re only 20% done with it… ;)

    I don’t know if it is just my computer (hopefully so!) but the screen shots have some colors changed it appears. The bright pink in the logo is not what’s on our site, nor is the light purple in the snapshot of the schedule. Judging by the look of the shadows on the logo, I’m guessing they saved out as 256-color images or something weird like that. Maybe it’s just that they’re GIF files instead of PNG or something. Anyway, I just wanted to mention it in case our graphic designer sees this and has a heart attack.

    Thanks again for the review, and hopefully we can keep making some of the improvements you suggest (we only launched a month ago) and we can invite you to provide some more feedback for us later, when we’ve got a little more to show.

  3. Blanda Says:

    Im glad to hear you are working on the improvements, and when you add more I’d be happy to revisit.

    As for the colors they were saved as 256 color images, im still playing with how I capture screens.

    Can’t wait to see whats next!

  4. Mark Says:

    I really appreciate you checking out our site. I came up with the concept of Gradefix about a year and a half ago and designed the interface. In the beginning, the concept was extremely tedious and tons of work for the user (all by hand like iCal or a planner)

    Nevertheless, even using the archaic version of Gradefix spreading out the workload my GPA went up from a 3.3 to 3.85 in one semester. Gradefix is a particularly potent idea when large loads of homework are inputted into it.

    I am glad you will give us a second chance. One thing you might want to try is adding more time to those tasks and moving the dates out a little. We have tested multiple limits to optimize the scheduling of the algorithm.

    You have set aside three hours of study time a day Monday thru Friday and none on Sunday. Your present tasks only scheduled you for about an hour and a half of homework (due on Tuesday) so basically the algorithm had no other place than to put the tasks than on Monday.

    Anyway, I can see why it looked like a regular planner to you so far. However, I think once you add a few more tasks and say an exam study (of maybe 6 hours or so) you will start to see this does much more work than it appeared to do.

    As mentioned up above we are adding some really cool tweeks soon and we will email you to check them out then. Once again thanks for reviewing our site we love feedback positive and negative. All the feedback really helps us to make the site better for our current and future users.

    Best Regards,

    Mark

  5. Revenge of the Nerd » Blog Archive » Using Remember the Milk for Assignments Says:

    […] After reading about Gradefix over at College V2, I started thinking about the best way for me to keep track of my assignments. I know a month into the semester, I probably should have thought about it already, but the app I was using for my Treo wasn’t working out. I figure that the best way to keep track of my assignments is to keep them with my tasks at Remember the Milk. […]