When you open the app, instead of the usual grid of hours, you’ll see an analog clock face marked with AM or PM. Click the plus sign, and you’ll be presented with over 50 icons that can be used to create different types of events. These images are imaginative, and include a check mark, a golfer, a dog, a party hat, a sailboat, a skier and a blank one that you can add text to. Once you’ve selected the icon, you can drag it to attach it to the clock, or double-tap on it to add details. The result is a visual representation that’s surprisingly easy to understand at a glance. It works well for “dinner at 7″ but is probably not so useful for “train at 5:28.”
Diacarta has some cute touches, like a “ticking” sound that plays for a couple of seconds while it’s loading. It uses some unusual gestures like rotating the clock face — clockwise to move forward in time, or anticlockwise to move backward — so it takes a bit of learning. But I figured it out in only a couple of minutes, even before watching the entertaining and narration-free video.
What makes the app stand out are the graphics, which are elegant, and a real change from Apple’s usual clean, if slightly sterile, design. The app looks good on my iPod touch, and I suspect it’ll look even better on the iPad’s larger screen. The only jarring note is the use of a monospaced font in certain interface elements, which looks out of place to me, but which doesn’t detract from the app’s readability.
This is an initial 1.0 release, and it lacks some features that would make it more useful, like a way to sync information with the iPhone’s own Calendar, or with other services like Google Calendar. It also doesn’t have a way to create recurring events, or a backup and restore function.
But if you’re an analog sort of person who’s not “so amazingly primitive that [you] think digital watches are a pretty neat idea,” (thanks, Douglas Adams) you may find Diacarta a refreshing change from the traditional interface.
How do you manage your schedule on a mobile device?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise