Notion is an app for creating and organising workspaces. You can create a workspace just for yourself, or you can create a workspace for a team of people. The app offers a range of different features that help improve productivity and workflow.
And it seems like everyone is using Notion in recent years. But is this task management software really as many say? We took a more in-depth look at how Notion works.
When it comes to project management tools, Notion is one of the best out there. The free plan gives you enough capability for note taking, project tracking and collaboration with others – though this is much improved with the pro version.
Whilst the app has many great tools, there are some downsides to consider. We’ll explore both the pros and cons of the app in this review.
Notion Pricing – Free To Use
Notion is free to download and use.
However, team workspaces do have a trial period, although it doesn’t specify how long it lasts. This can be troubling as users won’t be able to know when how long they’ll have access to their workspace for.
They also won’t be privy when they’ll lose access to it. This can disrupt one’s productivity and workflow.
There is an option to upgrade to the pro version of the app. However, it is a subscription service despite being fairly cheap. There is no option for a one-time payment.
Fortunately, no features are locked in the free version of the app. This allows users to test and use the app to their heart’s content before deciding on the upgrade.
The app also offers a link to learn more about their monthly plan. This makes the app seem trustworthy – it wishes to give you the details so you can make for an informed decision.
The link doesn’t take you out of the app either. It opens a page within the app instead, making it convenient and quick to access.
The details inadvertently reveal the limitations of the free version of the app, which are quite few in number. The upgrade only allows for unlimited file uploads, unlimited guests, and a 30 day version history.
This means that the free version has a file upload limit, a guest limit, and a version history limit. There are no locked features for the free version, which allows users to fully test the app out before deciding on whether to pay for the upgrade.
Furthermore, there are no pop-ups prompting you to upgrade, which makes for a distraction-free user experience.
A Shallow Learning Curve
Notion has a simple starting tutorial. It consists of short explanations, and has moving images to give examples of what they’re describing. This makes it very easy to understand.
However, it’s not very comprehensive. It only goes over some of the basics.
Thus, when you actually create a workspace, the set-up can be quite confusing. The initial tutorial doesn’t explain the different features available in the workspaces. There are quite a lot of sections for each workspace type.
There are fairly short explanations for each of the sections, but lots of special terms are used. For example, sprint and epic.
These can take some time to fully comprehend, especially for new users. This may discourage them from using the app.
Unfortunately, there’s no interactive tutorial of any sort. You simply get a few written explanations when you access certain tools.
Therefore, you mostly learn the app through exploring the features by eye, and using common sense. This can make it difficult to learn the app properly.
However, once you get started, much of the UI is easy to understand, such as creating tasks and assigning them.
All the options are clearly labelled using simple terminology. This makes for a fairly shallow learning curve, overall.
User interface – Complex but worth learning
Notion’s UI can seem fairly confusing. There’s a lot of options, and various sections and sub-sections to keep track of.
However, you can customise some things to make for a cleaner UI. For example, you can hide pages or tasks to declutter certain sections.
You can also collapse sub-sections, or delete and add sections to your liking. This means that you have control over how the side tab looks.
Unfortunately, a downside is the lack of a back button. This can make the UI quite difficult to navigate as there are many different tasks and sections. Having no back button means you have to default to going to the side tab to find certain pages.
On the other hand, the app does provide undo and redo options. This allows you the freedom to reverse your mistakes easily.
However, the undo and redo options are not accessible on the main interface. You have to press the three dots in the top-right, which usually symbolise the settings, to access the options.
It’s unintuitive design as it makes them hard to access. It also prevents users from seeing the changes made when using the undo/redo option.
This can make it difficult to discern whether the right changes have been made. Overall, this makes for quite a disruptive user experience.
On another note, there are tools that make navigating the UI easier. For example, there is an option to filter pages by epics, tasks, and more. This makes them easy to access and manage.
Additionally, you can view all your sections on the side tab. You can access it from the main interface, so you can easily keep track of your projects.
Flexible Use & Workspaces
Notion tailors its UI for different types of workspaces, such as team workspaces and solo workspaces.
The app allows you to have multiple workspaces and easily switch between them. This means that you can have many different types of workspaces at once, and manage them with ease.
Notion also lets you have multiple accounts on the app, in case you wish to separate your workspaces across different accounts. You can also switch accounts easily.
You can also connect to your workspace to a slack channel. Slack is a platform used by many businesses for communicating and sharing resources.
It’s especially useful for large groups of people. Being able to connect to Slack is a useful feature for teams with existing slack channels, as it allows them to share their Notion projects with ease.
Notion asks you to specify the team name, the team size, and its focus. This way, the app can create a set-up that’s tailored towards your specific team.
This is useful as it provides a workspace layout suited for your team. More specifically, it gives you different sections and pages depending on what your team’s focus is.
For example, if you choose design as your team’s focus; the set-up will include a roadmap, a user research page, a task list, meeting notes, and a design system.
However, if you choose sales as your team’s focus; the set-up will include meetings notes, a sales CRM section, a sales wiki, a competitive analysis section, and a sales assets section.
All the different focuses have different set-ups. You can explore them to see if any are right for you. If not, you can always add or remove pages as you wish.
Furthermore, the app supports teams of any size, from 2 members to 1000+ members.
You can also easily access pages links by pressing the share button. You can use this link to invite more members, too.
There’s a support chat option readily available in case you have any issues or queries.
You can easily assign tasks to specific members, and comment on task pages in case there’s any queries.
The comments are categorised into ‘open’ and ‘resolved’. This can be handy for communicating between members, and resolving issues.
You can also view page updates and page histories to monitor any changes that are made. This makes managing the different pages easier. You can also view deleted pages in case you wish to recover them.
There’s also a different set-up tailored towards solo workspaces. These are workspaces that you use alone.
It’s UI is much simpler than those in team workspaces. There’s also no special terminology used, so it’s easier to understand.
There’s a starting page that explains some activities you can do, such as adding tasks and subheadings.
There’s a quick note section for jotting down thoughts.
There’s a personal home section for making lists, which categorise things like movies you’ve watched.
There’s a tasks section for creating to-do lists.
There’s a journal section for documenting your daily happenings. It acts as a diary.
Finally, there’s a reading list section for documenting and monitoring your progress with books, podcasts, and other media.
Overall, the UI for solo workspaces are for organising your activities. You can keep track of things you’ve done, and things you’ve yet to do.
Customisation and Advanced Features
The app has a few customisation features, which allow users some freedom in how certain aspects look.
You can change the text’s font and highlight colour.
You can also rename and create your own labels. For example, you can rename a status like ‘in progress’, and can colour-code them to your liking. This allows users to tailor the labels to suit their own needs.
Furthermore, you can customise the appearance of pages. You can hide certain sections on the page, like statuses and sprints, to make for a neater interface.
You can also add emojis and cover images to certain pages, such as tasks. There are a variety of images and emojis to choose from.
- Free to download and use.
- Fairly shallow learning curve.
- No trial period for solo workspaces.
- No locked features.
- Tailors the UI according to the workspace’s focus.
- Can have multiple workspaces on one account.
- Can have multiple accounts.
- Easy to switch between workspaces.
- Easy to switch between accounts.
- Supports teams of any size.
- Can connect to a Slack channel.
- Can customise some text and pages.
- Can add and remove pages to your liking.
- Must pay a subscription to get rid of limitations.
- Free version has upload limitations, guest number limitations, and version history limitations.
- Team workspaces have a trial period. There is no specification for when the trial ends.
- Uses special terminology in team workspaces that can take time to learn.
- No tutorial that explains all the features.
Is Notion free?
Yes, the app is free to download and use. However, you can pay for the pro version, which requires subscribing to their monthly plan.
How much is Notion?
The pro upgrade for Notion is $4.00 per month. This is worth doing if you need unlimited pages and more important features.
Is Notion available on Android?
Yes, Notion is available for Android, iOS and Windows.
In conclusion, Notion is a useful app for managing your projects and activities. It has great flexibility regarding usage, and supports teams of any size. It is free to use, and no features are locked in the free version. This makes the app worth trying out, as it is risk-free and could be just the app for you.
Despite the lack of a good tutorial, it has a fairly shallow learning curve. This makes it easy the app easy to learn, and quick to pick-up.