Asana VS Trello
Asana (see our review) is one of the leading task management software programs on the market today. This simple management tool was initially created by former Facebook executives Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein in 2008 to manage the company’s internal coordination. It was publicly released in 2011 and has become increasingly popular since that time. Intended primarily to boost collaboration and increase productivity, Asana replaces outmoded forms of communication and reduces the need for businesses to rely email correspondence and daily meetings. In addition to its basic task management features, this software comes with a host of excellent 3rd-party integrations. It has attracted attention from several major clients, including social media platforms like Pinterest and Dropbox, a prominent file-sharing program.
That said, when it comes to simple and effective task management solutions, Asana is by no means the only game in town. In 2011, Fog Creek Software launched Trello (see our review), a uniquely structured and highly visual project management program. Trello is based on a Kanban model and essentially operates like a bulletin board on which you can pin virtual 3×5 cards. It is a relatively simple management tool, but it comes with extra features like file storage, automatic email notifications, and customizable permissions. Trello has currently attracted over five millions users worldwide, including companies like Kickstarter, PayPal, and even Google.
Both Asana and Trello offer free, no obligation subscription options, and both are lauded for their simple features and user-friendly interfaces. They’re not alike in every respect, however. Let’s take a closer look at the two competitors and see how they really stack up in terms of price, customer support, and overall design.
Table of Contents
Web-Hosted or Licensed:
Both are web-based.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
Both Asana and Trello require users to have access to the internet and an up-to-date web browser.
As I mentioned above, both Asana and Trello offer a limited, free subscription option. Asana is free for groups of up to 15 people, if you’re willing to forgo certain features and premium customer support. Trello’s no-pay plan is a lot more robust and allows for unlimited boards, users, and attachments (with a 10 MB max per file upload). As far as price goes, Asana’s premium plans range from $21/month (for up to 5 members) to $750/month (for groups of up to 100), while Trello’s upgraded subscriptions start at around $3.75/user/month (for organizations). For more details and specific information about pricing, I suggest that you check out my Asana and Trello reviews, or take a look at the company websites.
In general, the two pricing structures are fairly comparable. Asana is certainly more expensive, but it offers a few more features and certainly more 3rd-party integrations. Trello, on the other hand, is somewhat cheaper but a bit more austere in terms of overall functionality. Another thing to consider is that Asana may give you more for your money when it comes to premium plans, but Trello’s free plan is by far the better deal between the two. In my opinion, when it comes to rating these two competitors by price, it’s difficult to pick a clear-cut winner. In order to know which one would be a better deal for you, you need to sit down and really think about what you want to use the software for. If a fun, simple organizer is all you need, I would go with Trello, but if you need a task manager with just a little more substance, Asana is the right choice.
Ease of Use:
Because Asana and Trello are task management solutions (as opposed to high-level project management tools) it goes without saying that both are as basic and streamlined as possible. User-friendliness is the hallmark of a good task management software, and neither Asana or Trello fails to deliver in that department; Asana has a clean, uncomplicated design, while Trello’s UI is best known for its simple elegance and visual appeal. Neither program has much, if any, learning curve, and can be mastered quickly. Truly, even the most uninitiated and computer-shy user should find themselves at ease in a matter of minutes.
Both software programs offer one-step sign-up, mobile access, excellent email integration, easily configurable notifications, and a wide selection of keyboard shortcuts. Additionally, Asana provides the option to color-code projects (for better organization and quicker recognition) and add hypertext, and Trello allows users to add labels and color-code due dates.
Neither Asana or Trello can be characterized as a full-service project management system, and they are about on par with one another when it comes to basic functionality. Each software has a limited set of features and a no-frills set-up that has been carefully and optimally designed. While both allow for task management, file sharing, and simple inter-office communication, they do differ somewhat in format and organization.
For example, Asana accounts are separated into discrete workspaces, organizations, and teams. Members are assigned tasks which have been categorized by function, department, and so forth. Asana also allows users to create task or project templates and provides color-coded calendars and a simple dashboard reporting feature. The features offered are simple, but they are highly functional and designed to work at peak efficiency.
Trello is much more visually-oriented. As I mentioned above, Trello projects are based on virtual bulletin boards which have been pinned with cards, each of which represents a different task. Other features include customizable permissions, card aging, checklists, the ability to copy boards/cards and create templates for common projects or tasks, unlimited file attachments, markdown formatting, and interface customization. This isn’t a complete list, of course, but you can read more about Trello’s feature set on the company website.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Trello integrates with a decent number of other programs, including:
- Sunrise Calendar App
- Google Drive,
Trello also provides a RESTful web API for those who wish to design their own integrations (for more information about the API, click here).
However, Asana the clear winner in this category, boasting both an open API and a truly impressive list of integrations:
- Chrome Extension
- Google Drive
- Fancy Hands
- Campaign Monitor
- Pivotal Tracker
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Though there are many similarities between the two in the area of customer support, Asana and Trello differ in a few significant ways. Both companies maintain a fairly good social media presence and both offer well-written instructional articles, up-to-date, self-help knowledgebases, and blogs on which users can look for updates, new product releases, and general industry information.
Asana, however, falls a little flat when it comes to direct customer support. The company has a tiered support system which gives preferential treatment to customers who have more expensive subscriptions – never a good sign. Asana has invested in a few video tutorials, but most are overly brief and sadly free of meaningful content. Additionally, users must fill out a generic service form every time they have a question or concern. These kinds of forms always rub me the wrong way. They are effective, certainly, but they tend to create a sense of distance between the customer and the support team.
By contrast, Trello provides users of all level with straightforward email support (via firstname.lastname@example.org). Trello also has one up on Asana in the social media realm, and actually seems to engage customers via Facebook and Twitter, taking the time to answer simple questions rather than referring people back to an official support channel. Feature requests and customer feedback are a large part of Trello’s overall support strategy as well, which indicates an admirable level of interest in and concern for the software’s user base.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
Asana and Trello come with very similar features, so it is perhaps not surprising that they share a fair number of defects as well. There are a few key drawbacks common to both, most notably a limited feature set and an overly basic design.
Users of both have also complained about general inflexibility; Asana and Trello are undeniably good task managers, but they are not designed to do much else. Neither software can really be used for resource management, scheduling, reporting, or other things of a more advanced nature, and unhappily, neither software is available in a language other than English. Asana and Trello are also equally unsuited for enterprise use by large organizations.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Asana and Trello are praised by reviewers and users alike for their clean, intuitive UIs and eminent user-friendliness. They have both received kudos for offering free subscription plans, good mobile access, and friendly customer support. But while Asana is generally known for its basic competence and efficient design, Trello is celebrated for a more specific reason: its uniquely visual take on task management.
I’ve seen my fair share of standard project management tools, but I’ve never seen one that is as aesthetically appealing or as flat-out fun to use. Customers seem to have a peculiarly strong attachment to Trello as well, something unusual in an industry where most products are pretty indistinguishable and certainly interchangeable.
Final Verdict on Asana vs Trello:
As we’ve seen, these competing task management tools are equally matched for ease of use and they also balance one another out when it comes to pricing and features. Asana is quite a bit more expensive but it does provide features that Trello just can’t match, like basic dashboard reporting. On the other hand, Trello is considerably cheaper, offers a much more robust free subscription, and is designed with better aesthetic appeal.
Asana and Trello run a pretty close race, but at the end of the day Trello comes out just slightly ahead. Truth be told, Asana has a few more years of operation under its belt and has invested in a greater variety of 3rd-party integrations. I award the edge to Trello, though, regardless of Asana’s many virtues. Why? Because where Asana is generic and typical, Trello is fun and unique.
Visually stimulating features like card aging separate Trello from Asana (and from the rest of its competition in the arena of basic project management). It’s cheap, it’s easy to use, and it gets the job done efficiently and in an engaging manner. Getting employees to actually implement a new software system can be excruciating, but I have personally seen disorganized and inefficient people breath new life and energy to their work simply by using Trello to track their daily tasks.
Trello may have one-up on Asana when comparing Asana vs Trello in-depth, but the good news is that both of these companies provide an excellent, functional, and user-friendly task management system. Trello is an awesome choice, but so is Asana, and it would be hard to go far wrong with either of them.