Valentin Sawadski

Appointment scheduling sucks! It always goes like "Hey how about this Saturday?", "Oh no I can't Saturday. What about next Tuesday?" and so on and so forth. Also it only get's worse with more and more people involved.

How people organize their Appointments

The ongoing Survey "How do you schedule appointments?" show the following picture of how people organize their Appointments

  • Mobile electric calendars are dominating
  • Most appointments are scheduled remotely. Face to Face is the exception
  • Mobile text messaging is the most used and even preferred way to schedule appointments
  • Appointments are synchronized across more than one calendar. Work and Facebook calendars are also included in lots of cases

State of current Appointment Scheduling

Now let's take a look at the tools that are supposed to help us schedule our appointments

Calendar Sharing

This is a permanent settings that is used in close groups like co-workers but you are not sharing your calendar with the casual friend you'd like to see again

Advantages

  • Works great for one on one meetings
  • Works best with iCal invitations

Disadvantages

  • Have to manually manage sharing settings
  • Bad support for Groups: Event Organizer needs to see everyones calendar
  • Works best with iCal invites, but iCal invitations are not popular

Online Group Scheduling Tools

Tools like Doodle or www.timeup.io help to find an open timeslot if you want to meet with a group of people.

Advantages

  • Easy to invite people
  • Easy to review the found appointment

Disadvantages

  • You have to check your calendar manually
  • Easy to get lost with lots of appointment alternatives as Doodle Tables get large, especially on mobile devices
  • Easy to double book free slots if more than one poll is open at the same time

Dedicated Group Scheduling Apps

Apps like Group Scheduler that aim to help us schedule group appointments

Advantages

  • Suitable for Mobile Devices
  • Integrate into the calendar and have easy sharing built in

Disadvantages

  • It's an empty disco. Noboby uses these apps as all parties are required to use them for them to work

Manual Invitation through Text Messages or Email

Advantages

  • Easy, natural way to mention dates in a conversation

Disadvantages

  • Painful to agree on dates (typical Ping Pong of alternatives)
  • Works bad in groups (easy to lose track of mentioned dates and times)
  • You have to check your calendar manually

Next Level Appointment Scheduling

So it is clear that the way we invite people to events does not match the way calendars are used. The most important missing features are

  • Easy link between text messaging and calendar
  • Automatic Free timeslot discovery without constant user interaction
  • Suitable for mobile devices
  • Group Scheduling has to be a prime Use Case

Let's see how this can be done in a fun to use way. If you have some idea reach out to me!

P.S. And please spread the Survey "How do you schedule appointments?" to help me better understand how calendars and appointments should be like!



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