- Easy to use
- Low monthly cost
- Intuitive user interface
- Suitable for small businesses
- Limited support materials
- Not suitable for medium or large businesses
- Rudimentary feature set
If you are even a little familiar with the project management industry, you will probably have noticed the…creative…names companies come up with for their products. Redbooth. Asana. Binfire. Basecamp. These names are off-the-wall, sometimes a little odd, and often have little to do with project management. But behind each of them is a story—a little anecdote that helps explain what the product is all about.
Imagine my curiosity, then, when I was asked to review SquidHub. Here was a name more, um, interesting than any I had reviewed before. Turns out there are multiple inspirations for the name, (according to SquidHub CEO Andreas Overbeck) including cute mascots, Danish colloquialisms, and more. But the one that stuck out to me is this: Squids have three hearts. Squidhub’s simple UI is separated into three sections that represent the heart of project management. It fits.
SquidHub is a newcomer to the project management scene. A tool for both creative business teams and individuals wanting an optimized to-do list, this is a simple program designed to bring out the power of human creativity. It lacks the bells and whistles of other major project management offerings but makes up for its deficiencies with a cute squid mascot, fun attitude, focused priorities, and a low (free!) price.
Table of Contents
Web-Based or On-Premise
SquidHub is entirely web-based and does not need to be downloaded onto your computer. On the other hand, if you plan on using it on your mobile device, you will need to download the app from either the Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
Pricing for Squidhub is pretty simple: it’s free! That’s right, for the moment, SquidHub is available for use at no cost to you. For this reason, it is gaining popularity as an alternative to Trello for students, wedding planners, and the like—people with one-time projects they want to organize digitally. According to the website, SquidHub is also used by people who just want a digital to-do list for things like chores, shopping, and other tasks.
When I asked what SquidHub’s future looked like, Overbeck told me they do plan on adding a “premium” version of the app sometime next year. He stressed, however, that they intend to also keep developing the free version as well, adding new features and refining some of the ones that already exist.
Ease of Use
After entering your email address and clicking the activation link they send you, your first view of SquidHub will be a welcome message and an animated squid emoji waving hello. It is cute, to say the least. From there, you select (from a list) how you plan to use SquidHub: project management, to-do lists, studying, event planning, etc. I chose project management, but I am pretty sure the only thing this changes is your initial templates; it does not affect the actual mechanics of using the app. The last thing to see before actually logging in is a 60-second instructional video on the use of the app.
And with that, you can start using SquidHub. Upon landing on the main page, I was greeted by “Squidee Squidbot,” an AI designed to give basic support in-app. I personally find that kind of thing irritating, but you may find it helpful. SquidHub’s UI is almost absurdly simple: there is really only one screen featuring a menu on the far left and three work panes in the middle divided into tasks, files, and messages. In terms of functionality, it all works pretty smoothly, and I felt like I instantly understood what was happening.
Customer Service and Support
Squidhub’s customer support is limited to an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and a list of FAQ’s. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, but on the other hand, SquidHub is not exactly the most complicated app you will ever use. The FAQ page is pretty thorough, and honestly, if you are familiar with Google Apps, I doubt you will find much to struggle with here.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
As you might expect, such a new product has a couple of issues. Some users have experienced glitches, bugs, and even total crashes of the Android app. These issues seemed to be fixed quickly by the SquidHub team, but it is worth remembering that with a small crew and a new product, bugs are just going to pop up occasionally.
A more substantial criticism of SquidHub could be that it is very limited in what it can do. As I have already covered in Ease of Use section and will further discuss below in Features, this app is by no means the swiss army knife of project management solutions. It is simple, and so there are some big things (like reporting and time tracking) that are not part of this app. Usually, I argue that simplicity is not a bad thing, and I do believe that is true. However, SquidHub can’t get my unequivocal recommendation until it can provide these basic project management features.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Although it has not been around long, SquidHub has garnered a few positive reviews. Here are some excerpts from a few satisfied customers:
Simplistic and very intuitive interface. This app focuses on key components of project management tools and avoids unnecessary features. This keeps the users focus on the project itself👍👍👍👍👍
Excellent for keeping track of mine and my teams upcoming tasks and events! Very user-friendly interface both in app and browser!
Great tool, that assists you in better planning and [at] the same time so simple and user-friendly! Love it!
Essentially, SquidHub reduced the complexity of working with my clients. Since I moved all my communication, planning and deliveries into the same universe, I’ve noticed a faster execution of the projects and that my clients seem happier. It’s been a big WIN for me!
As you may have gathered, SquidHub doesn’t exactly provide a feature-rich environment. After spending some time with the program, here are the features I was able to define:
- Groups: Each group in Squidhub has its own task list, file storage, and message board. Counterintuitively, you can have a group that includes only yourself, or you can invite others to join you.
- Task List: This is one of the more basic task lists I have used: there are no sub-tasks (the standard way to create a hierarchy in your task list), though you can sort them into categories. However, you can assign people to tasks, as well as link files to them and assign due dates. Overall, it seems to be a pretty good, if basic, system.
- Files: This is one of SquidHub’s party tricks: it integrates pretty seamlessly with Google Docs. Creating a new doc is as easy as hitting the “add file” button and selecting a new Google Doc from the list. SquidHub does not limit your file storage, but you will still be limited by how much space you have on your google drive.
- Messages: A straightforward chat tool. It works about as well as any text-based chat I have ever used.
Integrations and Add-Ons
The only real integration to be found in SquidHub is with Google Apps.
SquidHub does everything it sets out to do. It creates a simple (slightly silly) space where people can make plans and track progress without too many extraneous features getting in the way. In my email conversation with CEO Andreas Overbeck, he actually told me that one of the goals of SquidHub was to create a tool that did not take over the process of project management. It is intended to allow for planning, tracking, and communication, and not to distract from or bog down the project management process. If that truly is the goal, I would say that the final product succeeds in spades.
For that reason, there is a part of me that wants to give SquidHub five stars (or five adorable squid emojis?). However, I find myself pausing, wondering if Squidhub is really a product I can recommend unequivocally for project management purposes. I think the answer to that question is unfortunately no. There are some situations where I can imagine just needing a bit more from this app, whether it is reporting, invoicing or more advanced task tracking.
The thing is, though, I wouldn’t want SquidHub to add these kinds of features. That would be missing the point. Throughout the writing of this review, I found myself thinking a lot about Trello, another project management app with a cheap-and-cheerful attitude. Trello makes no apologies for being what it is: simple, free, and effective on a small scale. Squidhub is the same (though their approach is very different). For that reason, I definitely suggest giving Squidhub at least a chance to try and meet your needs. You may find that the simplest option is the best!