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See Your Calendar In A New Way With Overview

December 17, 2013

Overview. ($0.99) by Tobias Renstrom is a new approach to calendars. Instead of presenting time in a grid, it goes for more of a timeline view, which feels more “natural.”

I’m definitely a calendar app junkie, as I’ve gone through my fill of these apps. The big players, like Fantastical and Readdle Calendars 5, I’ve tried most of them, though I still always prefer Fantastical 2. But when a new app comes in with an entirely new approach to the calendar, who am I to say no? I was definitely intrigued when I saw this, and knew I had to give it a try.

Overview features a flat interface, despite the pseudo 3-D timeline that is similar to how Time Machine works on a Mac. The rest of the app features plenty of whitespace (depending on the theme you choose) and easy-to-see buttons with labels. Even if you quickly skim through the tutorial, the app itself is pretty easy to figure out, despite the unique concept.

The timeline will be the main view of the app. I’m a bit disappointed when I realized that Overview won’t pull in your native data, and you basically start fresh with Overview if you choose to use it as your main calendar. However, if you didn’t already have Calendar data, then you’re golden.

You will see an arrow off to the side of the timeline to indicate the current day. Pulling the screen upwards will go back in time, and pulling down will go forward. You can tap on a day to select it, and then add an event to your calendar. Tapping on an event allows you to edit it.

The thing I noticed with Overview was that even though I tapped a day to add an event, it would get saved with “No Name,” despite the fact that I typed in a title. I’m not sure if this is a glitch, but it is a bit irritating. I end up having to edit it anyway to get the event name to save. The edit screen gives you the option to choose “Today,” “In a Few Days,” or “In a Week.” Selecting one of these will bring up the selected date range on the day ticker. Another option is to select the month and year underneath the ticker if it’s more of a long term event.

Events can also stand out more on the timeline by selecting a contrasting color theme to go along with it. Despite the fact that the app mainly has three color schemes (black & white, white & black, and white & light), events get four additional color options to make them pop.

Overview also features countdowns on the timeline, if you like to keep track of how many days remain until a particular event. This number is shown on the right side of the event bar. Multiple events can be added for a single day, though you have to do this through the “Add A Thing” button at the top. When a day has multiple events, it becomes a stack that you can expand with a single tap.

If you prefer to have a single app for your calendaring and task management needs, then Overview can also do this. When you expand an event with a tap, you get options to mark it as complete, cancelled, or remove it from the timeline entirely.

Now, while the timeline view is cool and all, it means a lot of wasted space if you don’t have a lot of upcoming events in the coming few days. If that’s the case, Overview features a List view, which serves as an agenda of sorts. It will bring up a screen where you only see the upcoming events (easily recognizable with the colored dots) you have in the next few days or more, and you can see the countdowns without having to scroll through the timeline. Pretty nifty.

The Settings for Overview allow you to change the default color theme, have smoother scrolling (turns off some visual effects), and toggles for push notifications.

I like the idea of Overview, but I don’t necessarily like the fact that I have to basically start over. I would have liked to see the app fetch my current Calendar app, or at least provide some kind of syncing method with a calendar service such as Google Calendar. At the moment, Overview is a standalone app, and there is no backup of data either, so you will need to make sure to be extra careful with your schedule if something should happen to your device. Because of this, I can’t fully recommend Overview, as cool as it may be. Hopefully this can be changed in the future.

If you still want to check it out for yourself, you can get it in the App Store for your iPhone for $0.99.

Mentioned apps

Tobias Renstrom