I have been playing with Highrise for about a week and change now. Overall, I like it and it’s the best effort I have seen of late toward making a lightweight, easy-to-use, organization tool for small groups or individual power users.
Features I Like
Creating Tasks and Contacts by Email – The ability to create new contacts and tasks via email is great. I like the fact that I can just forward emails to my dropbox and have the system create a new contact based on the contents of the email. There was one glitch, however — Highrise seemed to get confused by the fact that the address I use to log into Highrise is different than the address I use to send data into the system. This led to some erroneous information being associated with the wrong address. The ability to create tasks on the go, however, was very useful.
Task tagging – I like the ability to tag/classify tasks based on the type of task (phone call, email, follow-up, etc) – it’s a very handy way for me to see what tasks I need to do.
Contact annotation – I like the fact that I can add notes to existing contacts to keep track of previous conversations or other items that come up from folks with whom I interact.
Areas for Improvement
As much as I like the system as a first effort, there are a few features where I would love to see some improvement:
Recurring Tasks – I was really hoping that Highrise would allow me to use some form of recurring task. For example, there are some tasks and things I need to do every month, every quarter, etc. The simplicity of the current task list doesn’t really allow me to create the kind of recurring tasks I’d like to create.
Contact importer – I am still befuddled as to why the product doesn’t have a decent contact importer. Right now, my only options are to import a vCard or use the Basecamp importer. Most of my contacts live in Outlook and Gmail and there are lots of handy utilities for importing contacts from those services. Highrise would be a lot more useful to me if there were a faster way for me to populate the system with people and contacts I already maintain.
Annotate tasks with more information – The very simplicity of task creation in Highrise, which I think is great, is also kind of vexing. There are some tasks where I would like to be able to create a task and annotate that task with more information. For example, if I create a task to “Call Joe on Tuesday”, I’d like the ability to add some more detail, like his phone number, agenda, etc. This seems like a logical thing to want to do with a task.
Connect tasks with contacts – Many of the tasks that I create in Highrise pertain to people (follow up with Joe, call Jane, send a document to Jerry, etc). I wish there were a way to connect tasks with contacts. For example, Highrise has a great feature that allows me to treat a person essentially as a very basic CRM record — I can create notes and annotations from calls or via email to existing records I have created. However, I’d really like to be able to create tasks/to-dos and attach those to people. For example, it would be great to be able to look someone up in Highrise and see what I “owe them” in terms of follow-ups, tasks and action items.
Looking forward to additional features from the 37signals team.