Tasker is the current king of Android automation, but it's not exactly easy to use. Other apps have tried and failed to make it easier to understand the complex actions and various dependencies that arise when you automate Android. Dessin takes a completely visual approach to setting up actions – it's a little like an interactive flow chart. Is this the next big thing in Android automation?

Dessin is designed around a series of nodes, each one with specific actions like toggling WiFi or silencing the phone. Then you can attach triggers to nodes like a fan so you can see exactly what everything does. You just slide your finger across radial menus to select triggers and actions to link up. The app feels very polished and kind of fun to play around with. There are sound effects for almost every interaction with the nodes, which makes Dessin seem a bit playful.

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There's no tutorial, which is odd. The first few minutes with Dessin are like groping around in the dark, but the developer says big changes are coming to the first-run experience. Until then, creating a tutorial would be counterproductive. Dessin definitely needs improvements to better explain how the fundamentals work, but it's worth checking out. There is a handbook on the Dessin website if you want to give this app a proper shot.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • mlj11

    Haha the video totally didn't help me understand how the app is supposed to work.

    Does look interesting though; gonna give it a whirl.

  • spydie

    "Dessin (pronounced like 'Design')"... vowel-consonant-consonant gives the vowel a short sound, so their "design" is incorrect. So neither the "e" nor the "i" can have a long sound. It's called the English language.

    • PhoenixPath

      Actually, it's called French, and it means "Picture".

      • spydie

        Who said? I SAID! I'm reading it in English on an English site. but I did figure out they were foreigners by the terrible English in their explanations.

        • PhoenixPath

          Their, they're, there...I'm sure it'll be okay. You'll get through this somehow... ;-)

        • Dimitris Klimis

          Be more racist. Like you can speak any other language other than English...

        • rgucci

          Which English? American English?

      • webb


    • Patrick

      The I in design is vowel-consonant-consonant, yet it's a long sound...

  • guest

    ok so ummm.... what?

  • spydie

    Much too complicated. I tried to do a simple "put phone on silence when I plug in the charger" command and after 15 minutes of searching for the triggers, I gave up and uninstalled it. It's so much simpler in Tasker.

  • Mircury119

    Wow, that video was so confusing. I couldn't even tell what he was trying to do. Pretty shapes and animations though.

  • my95z34

    App looks interesting, though I think I'll just stick with Llama. I've tried Tasker a few years ago and didn't like it. Might install it and give it another try though.

    • Cerberus_tm

      Tasker's interface has improved since they switched to Holo a few months ago.

  • Dimitris Klimis

    The designer has a link to the app description http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYqlCmOyGmo which I think is more useful to understand how this app works. It certainly lacks the options right now, but it is very neatly designed and well thought.

    • Steph Chi

      Thanks for the share. You have the point : it's more understandable with this video.

  • James

    The screenshots are pretty much what I imagine when I picture the word "clusterfuck". Sticking to Tasker.

  • andreas

    not sure if it's supposed to just look fun or if it actually helps automate stuff.

    for those who want a (fairly) easy yet powerful tool i recommend "llama" - so far no other app could give me everything i needed in a convenient enough way. not even tasker.

    • Cerberus_tm

      So what can Llama do that Tasker can't? Just curious, as I've never used Llama.

      • Andreas Andreas

        sorry, actually i dont know if llama can do more than tasker.

        i just find it easier to set up... activating wifi at home, adjusting
        screen time out or brightness when a certain apps focused, enabling air
        plane mode at night at home and disabling when the next alarms due,
        activating car mode when connected to cars bt unit, silencing during
        calendar entries etc.

        let me just reverse the statement: i just couldnt figure out what tasker is better at :)

        • Cerberus_tm

          Haha OK. I use Tasker to do most of those things too...it seems Llama and Tasker are very similar.