Home Freckle: Feel Good Time Tracking

Freckle: Feel Good Time Tracking

If you work on your own or for a small company, every minute counts – especially if you’re getting paid by the hour. But still, there’s likely one task that you dread doing every day: tracking those minutes. It’s not fun. Necessary, yes, but fun? Freckle – a thoughtful and beautiful new time tracking app – would like to change that.

Another Web-based time tracking app? Why would we focus on that? There are a number of features that make Freckle worth a look, but the primary reason for considering Freckle is that the team behind it is rethinking the time tracking problem. And it could be that approach which differentiates the product in a crowded market.

The team behind Freckle wants to replace your dread with a time tracking app that makes you happy: “Good software is cheerful software: it behaves cheerfully, and it leaves you cheerful, too.”

Part of that user happiness will come from the intuitive design and thoughtful AJAX implementation throughout the app. The thoughtful – and colorful – aesthetic should come as no surprise, given that it was put together by interface designer Amy Hoy and javascript consultant Thomas Fuchs – the same folks who brought us Twistori.

The most striking part of the app is the user interface. Unlike the Web-based time tracking app I use on a regular basis, Freckle allows users to enter all of your time and categorize it without a lot of switching between typing and clicking. You can enter all of the data from the keyboard. And that saves time. Time that could be spent on other projects.

Many other time tracking systems rely on a rigid set of client and category lists that – while often editable – require dropping the task at hand to add new clients, projects, and categories. With Freckle, adding these elements all happens on the fly. Adding a new category, for example, is as simple as adding a new tag. What’s more, you’re not constrained to a single category for a task. You can can categorize tasks for both client’s requirements as well as your own internal tracking needs.

Yes, Freckle is simple and thoughtful – with some insightful reporting functionality to boot. But unfortunately, Freckle’s ultra-simple design lacks one feature which – for me – makes my current time tracking app invaluable: a stopwatch. With Freckle, I’m still required to figure out how much time I’ve spent on any given activity. And for someone like me, who jumps from task to task and client to client, the lack of a stopwatch is a deal breaker.

And that’s unfortunate. I want to use the app. Partially because of the application, but mostly because of the team’s vision for Freckle:

“We’re in this to build a sustainable business: to make truly great software, to help people add a little joy back to their daily business, and to make a living doing it.

We’re not building a tasty startup snack for Google to devour, digest, and defecate.”

It’s always nice to see a team with a vision – especially when that vision is accompanied by an application with a revenue model. Freckle offers several levels of paid service starting at $24 US per month for five users. Each level carries a 30-day free trial. Freckle also offers a “one user, one project” setup for free.

If you’re more focused than I and capable of judging “how long you’ve spent on X,” then Freckle could very well be the answer to your time tracking needs. It’s certainly much more fun and functional than a dreary spreadsheet.

To try the app and read more about the team’s vision, visit Freckle.

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