A month and a half ago I was contacted by a Martin Vrabel, who sent me this:

email from Martin Vrabel of Taskee.comHi Joshua,

I found out you are writing about webdesign on your blog. I though you may be interested in writing about the new URL related task management tool for web designers - Taskee.

Taskee is a hosted website task management tool for small and medium size webdesign companies. Taskee simplifies website task management communication process and makes it easier and cheaper to collaborate during website testing process.

You can find more info and demo at www.taskee.com [website no longer working]

Sorry for this email if its not worth your attention or was interrupting you.

Kind Regards,

Martin Vrabel

This was my first ever request for comment about any product, so I dutifully starred it in Gmail and promised myself I’d look at it when I could. Well, the wait is over. I thought I’d set it up today and give it a go. This post is part review, but mostly feedback at the moment as the product is only at version 0.3 and not ready for prime time.

First up, I’ll just explain what I think Taskee is, having used it a tiny bit and finding Martin’s marketing speech a little overcomplicated. Taskee is a simple way for people to leave notes (or to-dos) about specific webpages with the people who are actually making the website. I might make a website for a client, and as they browse the site and pick up changes that need to be made, they can put them straight into Taskee instead of writing them down or emailing them to me. For sites with a lot of collaborators (or even just two) it could be enormously helpful.

Taskee is really quite easy to use. You sign up and paste a tiny bit of code into your website. The next time you load a page, you’re greeted with a big blue ‘Open’ button that helpfully stays put, even when you scroll around the page. Clicking the big blue button allows you to log in, and you can start to ‘Taskee’. The button is actually quite large (maybe a little too large). Taskee was designed I think with pre-production sites in mind. With a less obtrusive button it might be just as useful for live sites.

The Taskee 'open' button

The software takes note of what page you are on automatically, and you can start leaving notes about changes that need to be made, information that needs to be included and ideas you’d like to explore. What makes Taskee helpful here is that you can set up multiple users and assign your message to specific people. John can tell Tony to fix the fonts, and tell Sue to spruce up the copy. Then when Tony visits the page, he can check the tasks he has to do. And it’s all done from your own site.

The main task panel of taskee

There is also a neat feature to set a version of Taskee for visitor feedback. Instead of the ‘Open’ button, visitors are greeted with an unobtrusive (although colour options might be useful in future releases) ‘Feedback’ button that pops up a box where people can tell you stuff like “There’s spam on this page” or “Change your colour scheme for heavens sake!”.

The taskee feedback panel

It’s such a simple concept that it almost doesn’t need review - either you’ll find it useful or you won’t. It’ll fit into your way of doing things or it won’t. This version does demand some feedback though, so I’ll share my initial reactions. Please don’t think it’s a comment on the idea - only on the current stage of execution.

I had a few buggy problems. The control panel gives you an option to move the ‘Open’ button somewhere else (on NunnOne it gets in the way of my title). It doesn’t seem to want to move without a cache/cookie clearout though, which could cause some confusion.

Turning on the Feedback option and clearing my cache/cookies had the adverse affect of removing my ‘Open’ button completely. If I hadn’t turned on Feedback I might still be able to see the ‘Open’ button, but I can’t find any documentation on their site that can tell me how to get it back.

Unfortunately I did this before going much further, or having the buttons for longer than a day, so I can’t really even tell you yet how useful it has been long-term. I’m sure they can tell me how to get it back, or make it easier to find out, but you might want to know that these two bugs alone have made just setting it all up a little more complicated than necessary.

There are also a few options that aren’t clearly explained (in my opinion). I just can’t get back into the admin panel to tell you what they are. I can’t even really show you any proper screenshots.

The only real non-bug downside is a bi-product of its simplicity - all the data you create gets stored at taskee.com. Perhaps a future version will have a local installation option.

Currently Taskee is in beta - everything is subject to change before the product is finished - so take my opinions with a grain of salt. Their latest blog post also seems to say that they will have both free and paid options and a new interface very soon, so it could be very different next version.

Update: 2007-11-20 The blog post on the Taskee site that first mentions the Feedback feature mentions how to get the ‘Open’ button back. It should be clearer though.