Doodle puts an end to meeting scheduling nightmares

By , Jul 20, 2012

Among a myriad of things I despise, trying to plan a meeting with several busy people is a nightmare. All of the back-and-forth emails about who is in town, or not, or who can meet after lunch, before lunch, catch me after the staff meeting… Yikes!

Doodle has simplified my meeting life and taken the challenges out of scheduling a friendly gathering. Their web based services saved many headaches in the office and, now, Doodle’s updated iOS app moves simplicity to both iPad and iPhone…

Doodle is a simple time-based survey or forced-choice tool that manages respondent information both on a web based application and on Doodle: Easy Scheduling, the iOS universal app. The app simplifies the response process with a clean and intuitive interface, which makes creating and responding to Doodle polls quick and easy.

I often use Doodle to organize meetings between employees and other constituent groups. Not everyone has a searchable web calendar and Doodle bridges the gap, allowing all invitees to mark their busy and available times, even if they do not own the app.

Function

The Doodle dashboard displays all polls, both time-based and surveys. Tapping any poll opens the response section and displays all participant answers, which can be viewed in either a list or matrix, each with its own advantages.

List view provides a quick break down of available times and marks the most suitable days/times with a green check, which, when tapped, presents the names of the respondents. Another excellent feature of list view is the ability to overlay the iCal information from your iOS device. Turning on select calendars will show what other conflicts you may have before responding to a survey from the app. This is a genius feature that prevents popping back and forth between iCal and the Doodle app.

A far less feature-rich option is Matrix view, which solely presents the respondent names and responses, both available and busy. In both views, responses to the survey or poll can be left in the comment section to be viewed by other participants.

The creator of a poll has many additional options to administer changes to the existing information. Admin powers include: adding/deleting participants; deleting all participants; deleting all comments; editing/deleting poll; or inviting new participants. I am particularly fond of the new invitation option, as it opens a new email with the Doodle poll link included. There is no need to copy/paste or even open the Mail.app manually. Doodle takes care of the mess.

The icing on the meeting cake is the ability to create polls and surveys, from scratch, using the app. Previously, www.Doodle.com was the only place to begin a project and mail out the link – everything is now easily completed in-app. Finally, the app can activate a system-wide poll monitor: if the user taps a Doodle link anywhere (Safari, Mail, iCal, etc.) the Doodle.app launches, instead of launching the web browser.

Conclusion

Doodle: Easy Scheduling is available for $2.99 in the App Store as a universal app. It is an excellent way to keep track of meeting requests through time surveys. I have used the service for more than a year and am ecstatic the new app is released. There are many different ways to find a good time to gather with friends, co-workers, or family, but a Doodle poll is certainly one of the simplest. Thanks to our friends at Doodle and Neoos for sending over a trial version for review, as we will be using this one for a long time.

Pros:

  • Simple interface with powerful results
  • Email invitations from in-app
  • Overlay iCal on survey options
  • Completely manage polls from in-app
  • Shows best time for gathering based on participation

Cons:

  • I’ve been looking for push notifications since 1.0… still waiting. I would love to get a notification when someone responds to a survey or poll
  • Price is a little high without push notifications

Do you have trouble getting all everyone together with busy schedules? Would you download Doodle to make everything easier or do you use a different app? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

    I just tried responding to a Doodle poll. I tried to get it to add a
    line for me, and it arbitrarily answered “no” for me to all alternatives
    even though I had not yet had a chance to enter any responses myself. I
    don’t see a way in its poor design for anything else to happen because I
    couldn’t get it to present alternatives on my line except by entering
    my name and pressing Enter, upon which it simply chooses answers for me.
    So one has to go back in and edit to get the real answers. Furthermore,
    for what will show up in responses as “If need be” it doesn’t show that
    option but rather a very confusing “(Yes)”. I don’t care about fancy,
    but such a confusing and misleading interface is unnecessary.