Although it seems like the majority of iPhone apps that grab press attention are related to social networking, music or sports, productivity and business apps can have plenty of sway in the iPhone world. Direct Report: Employee Feedback Tracker ($3.99) is a great example of exactly that.
Direct Report focuses on the somewhat narrow goal of creating a way for an employer to create mobile reports of their employees, but that narrow focus helps ensure that Direct Report is not only intuitive for the user, but also quite useful in its niche.
Adding an employee to the app is simple, and once an employee is added, the system for providing feedback – selecting one of three happy/indifferent/frowning faces and then typing in feedback corresponding to the mood selected -- is both easy to understand and easy to reference once you’ve left the app.
Direct Report seems particularly useful over the long term, as its sorting options for individual employees would make for great ease of use. Users can sort by date, category of feedback, or feedback itself, giving an employer a fairly accurate picture of their employee over the long haul.
Everything in the app is very aesthetically pleasing, while confusing menus and buttons are nonexistent. That simplicity does hurt Direct Report only in the sense that there seems to be a great opportunity missed with regards to charts and graphs of employee data. With the “Smiley Face” rating system, it would be easy to chart employee progress. A way to compare two or more employees would also seem beneficial, especially if an employer was faced with having to choose one over the other. Having the data side-by-side would make analysis much easier.
Quibbles aside, for an employer looking for a simple way to keep track of their employees, Direct Report: Employee Feedback Tracker does a great job.