The Workflow App: a Nightmare for “Normals” but a Great Tool for Techies

The Workflow App: a Nightmare for “Normals” but a Great Tool for Techies

Karen RoguskiWednesday,13 January 2016

We all have that one person in our lives that has, like it or not, become our go to “techie” for all things geek, right! I swear I must have aged mine by 10 years this week from the looks of him. The blame belongs to DeskConnect, makers of the app Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple. I say I’m just as “normal” as before our latest meeting, but all that assertion gets from my techie is a snort, a grumble, and a sailor’s mouth like none other.

I kept hearing random mentions of Workflow, which costs $2.99 to download. I don’t usually download paid apps, but for the purposes of this review, I actually bought an app. I know, what is this world coming to, right? (Every time I say that to someone they laugh, but that is another topic to come.) But hey, the stupid thing had gotten two awards in 2015, and considering it didn’t drop until December 2014, I figured it MUST be the new “REAL” thing. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.

Download and sign up was super easy but that is where easy ended in Workflow, for me anyway. As soon as opened the app, I regretted breaking my cardinal rule of never paying for another app. This crazy thing opened right into a task, no intro, no pretty pictures, no smartass sayings — hell, it hadn’t even asked me to sign my life away yet (see below).

  Workflow start screen series  Workflow start screen series

So my first thought was it was a download glitch, so I deleted it and downloaded all over again. Nope, no glitch. I tried to do what the screens were saying to do and it kept sending me back to the screen before. DAMN! @#&% What did I do now? So I got in the car and drove straight to my techie’s house, convinced I had broken my phone.

As soon as the phone hit his hands and he saw the app the swearing began; literally I had not even spoken yet or had a chance to explain why I needed his help. I hadn’t gotten that instantaneous of a reaction from him since the day I excitedly showed up to brag that I had finally upgraded away from my Nokia, less than two years ago, pulling my iPhone 4s out of the bag.

Three hours later, he had finally had enough of me. What I was unaware of is that he had deleted the app off of my phone, before he handed it back to me, saying that he would call me later to work with me some more. The reality, I quickly discovered, was that he had turned on the parental controls — blocking me from having accesses to most of the App Store. Apparently, kid apps are all I am allowed to download anytime in the near future unless I want to find a new go-to techie, “for the rest of my natural born life.”

Okay, so I am not really that far behind the times, nor am I a Needy Nancy, but the lack of help/tutorial content provided within Workflow reveals that this app is clearly targeted to more technical users. If you are a middle ground Apple user, then your sanity would benefit from leaving your money on your credit card instead of purchasing this app. That is unless you have a load of a patience and spare time on your hands to mess around playing with buttons and functions, scrolling the subreddit pages and watching YouTube videos while attempting o create one of the simplest of simple workflows of your very own.

Now all the geek/non-geek aside, this app has endless possibilities. iPhone owners have been waiting for an app with Workflow’s capabilities — a tool that automates many repetitive, cumbersome tasks. I will never miss all the time and energy that I have wasted, emailing photos to myself, for example. My favorite part of Workflow, by far, is the simplicity of its sharing functions. Needy Nancys may soon have all the tasks they could desire at the push of a button.

The mad men in the workroom behind Workflow have a good start on what could very easily be the next Mona Lisa. I am impressed by the overall creativity here, but the DeskConnect team needs to strengthen its support options and reply turnaround times.

Fortunately, nerds, geeks and those like my techie have come to the rescue and bailed out all the Workflow and DeskConnect staffers by creating the help videos, blogs, threads, and articles of helpful hints. I hope to have the opportunity to update this review in three or six months or even a year as I am curious just to see how the numbers below are going to look, trend and change. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I did not expect that Workflow would either.

Criteria Scores: Usability: 4/10. Design: 7/10. Utility and/or Joy: 5/10. Performance: 5/10. On-boarding Experience: 8/10. Overall score: 5.8 of 10.

Workflow - 5.8 out of 10

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Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr

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