Sunrise: Ex-Foursquare UX Designers look to replace the last remaining default iPhone App: the Calendar.


sunrise logoEach new iPhone comes with a few in-house apps – mail, clock, weather, ,maps, etc. – and one-by-one, these apps have been outdone by competitor who devote their energy towards making these things easier. Sparrow killed the ‘mail’ app (and then Google all-but-killed Sparrow), Google killed Apple Maps, and the weather app has been replaced by a plethora of weather apps, all that’s left is that ugly Calendar app. Enter Sunrise – created by former Foursquare UX designers Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, the app looks to create a more intuitive calendar experience. “Rebuilding the Calendar from the ground up,” that’s what Pierre Valade said at UXD4Startups, which he spoke at last month – the Paris native has been working on building a new calendar experience, more like a chronological to-do list – I’ve been trying it out for the past day or so, and here are my first impressions.

+1 for Facebook integration

It’s nice to see a face in my calendar timeline – when I have a big event coming up, or worse, I’m meeting someone in person for the first time, It’s nice that Sunrise pulls in a photo magically (I assume, through facebook + gravatar) to remind you “hey, this is who you’re meeting.” I instantly turned off the birthday notifications – it’s never really been why I use my calendar, but I understand that for some people, knowing their Facebook friends’ birthdays is important.

Lastly, It’s nice to have a quick place to decline all the random Facebook event invites I get – so props for that!

Only 2 weeks of visibility – it makes sense

Sunrise screengrabI’m never really looking at what I’ll be doing in 20 days, and if I do, I’ll need to do is scroll beyond the next 10 days and Sunrise will drop down to show me three weeks visibility. I like that.

Hey, why can’t I take notes?

Today I was registering an event from an email (can’t wait for sparrow/mailbox integration, by the way), and I wanted to remember someone’s name, phone number, and email. I don’t really know where to put that information in Sunrise, which is definitely a disappointment, as that’s pretty essential for my calendar. I need to know why this person is important, or have a field to give them my number when I send them an invite to the email.

There are other little things that I enjoyed as well – having the weather baked right into my calendar is smart. It adds context to an otherwise unnecessary piece of information, and it’s useful to me when I check my calendar.

I know the Sunrise team still have a long way to go, but for now, I’m switching out the old calendar app and putting this one in, at least until it lets me down. Keep up the good work guys!