Developer: Incredible Labs
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Donna, Manage Your Day is an app that’s designed to get its users to their scheduled appointments and events on-time in an intelligent way, but it’s definitely not flawless.

Donna-6Donna-7Donna links in to contacts and calendars; automatically adding events scheduled for the next 3 days and letting users specify where they are and how to get to them. By default only one calendar is added, but the settings offer ways to toggle other calendars on the device.

Users can specify in the settings their home and work locations, as well as handy shortcuts for common starting and stopping points. Destinations can be searched for by address and venue name. When getting directions, users can specify which transportation method they’re going to use – perfect for those in big cities who might switch between walking, public transit, a bike, and/or car as necessary. It also shows the weather! Then, when it’s nearing time to leave, a notification pops up to head out.

Donna-4When an event is set up, it gives an approximate departure time for arriving right when the event starts, so if users want to get there at a certain time, they have to change the event’s starting time. Donna’s time estimates seem to be especially conservative by about 5 minutes when walking places for example, which actually is kind of nice so that it’s possible to be early, but if a user prefers absolute accuracy, Donna’s not for them. Running late? The app can open up Uber, so if they need to cab it they can summon one right away. And UBERx is generally cheaper than most Chicago cabs for me, so it’s not a bad idea.

Transit directions don’t seem to be the most intelligent when involving trips over long distances, but this could be a fault of its Google Maps integration rather than of the app itself. Google Maps doesn’t always suggest the smartest routes, like in this specific circumstance: I added a trip to US Cellular Field where the Chicago White Sox play. Now, the smart thing to do is to walk or take a bus from my apartment to the train line that drops off a couple blocks from the stadium. Instead, Donna’s directions report that I should take a bus downtown to the train station (which takes half an hour at least – we are talking about Chicago traffic) and that’s easily more time-consuming.

But hey, transit routing and timing is more of an art than a science. But the point is, and this is a theme with the approximate timing: don’t trust Donna fully. As well, with the ability to not see and set directions for future events, it’s a bit limited. Why not at least see a week? Or have the option?

Donna is a really neat idea, though I just wish that it did more for me.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Productivity, Reviews

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