Bottom Line: Routinely is a niche app at a good price. Recommended for putting together task analyses for children but need to see a couple of upgrades before rating it a Top Pick.
Routinely is exactly what its name implies, an app to create visual schedules for routines and task analyses. It's an iPhone-only app that you can use on the iPad. The app comes with some illustrations, or you can import your own pictures.
There are two options that you can include in the routines: tasks for each step, and choices - where the child can choose from two to four options. This allows the parent to incorporate simple choices within the routines so the child doesn't have to always refer to a separate Choice Board. For example, if the parent were putting together a morning pre-school routine, they can add breakfast as a task first, followed by three choices of cereal, toast or eggs.
The parent can add a timer to any of the tasks if, for instance, they want to limit TV or computer time or ensure that activities are completed within a certain period. Once the routine has been set up then it can be locked to prevent accidental changes and shared with others who also use Routinely.
This app is easy and intuitive to use and parents will be able to quickly set up routines and task analyses. I think the ability to add choices and the timer are great features. I like the interface and the illustrations; everything is bright and cheerful which makes it perfect for children.
For pre-teens, teens and adults, you will probably want to consider an alternative that not only looks more "grown up" but offers more features like calendars.
- Sometimes I don't have the picture I want in my photo album. It would be great if, within the app, I could import an image from the web, rather than having to save the image in my photos first.
- I would like the ability to label the pictures themselves, separate from labeling the task it may represent. For example, if I am using a picture of a toilet, I want to label it "toilet". The step in the routine that it represents could be "Go to the bathroom". Labeling pictures has been shown to support early reading skills so for me, this is vital. Currently all I am able to do is label the task, not the picture itself.
- There is no ability within the app to record your voice, labeling either the picture or the task. Not everyone uses audio labeling but it is a feature that is notably missing when I compare Routinely to other task-analysis apps like those from I Get It or Good Karma.
- I would love to see the option added for the child to check off each task as it is completed. This would be a useful visual reward and a cue for them to recall where in the routine they are and exactly what the next step is.
- I think the bright, cheerful quality of this app is a strong point but, it would be excellent if there were settings enabling the background color to be changed. White-on-white presents a processing challenge for children who have vision problems like CVI. Having a white on black option would be great.
- The sharing feature is a nice idea but only works if the person you're sharing with also has Routinely. If the app created a PDF of the routine that the parent could share with teachers or therapists, that would be ideal. PDF creation would also enable to parents to easily print out task analyses for places like the bathroom, considering iOS devices and water don't tend to mix well.
- Currently the app only supports one user and so is likely going to be of little interest to teachers or therapists. I would encourage the developer to consider adding support for multi-users, as even in the home environment, parents sometimes need to set up separate routines for children of different ages and/or abilities.
In summary, Routinely is a good app for home use with younger children that could be a great app with some tweaking. Those who need an app for older children or one that supports multi-users should explore other options.
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Deanne Shoyer routinely writes app reviews for Smart Apps for Kids and she wrote this one without the benefit of a task analysis, visual schedule or even a social story. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.