In recent discussions at work about the development of my organization’s website/online portal, we’ve been talking quite a bit about our need for a revamped calendar tool. As it exists now, our site’s calendar feature is cluttered and difficult to use. And for this reason, usage is down. However, there is a definite need, and our users are asking for it. Our users want to know about events and deadlines, they want to digest and organize this information for personal use, and they want it to be quick and easy.
During one of these recent discussions, I was reminded of a key point delivered by last week’s guest speaker: bringing personal digital literacy into the business. Which platforms are our users interfacing with? What tools are they already using to keep their schedules organized? Their lives are so multifaceted, and they have events, responsibilities, and appointments coming at them from 100 different directions. They need one cohesive space to organize all of this. Is it realistic to expect they would uproot all of their scheduling info into our platform’s calendar tool? Or, rather than reinvent the wheel, should we be focusing on how to integrate our calendar content into the platforms they are already using? (For example, event listings that allow you to export info to your Google Calendar.)
This also got me thinking about how a proper calendar tool is something I’m missing in my own personal life. I use my Outlook calendar at work for all things professional… But I like to keep that at work, and off of my personal cell phone. I use the built-in calendar app on my iPhone for personal and social events, but I don’t really like it. It’s not dynamic or visually effective. And until recently, I had always used a handwritten planner, but now that feels so clunky and inefficient. How did I end up so behind the times in the world of calendars?!
Turns out I’m not that behind, as I soon found that the Google Calendar app was only released a few weeks ago. Wired reports: Google’s Calendar App Finally Arrives on the iPhone.
It looks and feels like the web-based Google Calendar, and automatically imports all of your already existing info from your Google-ized life. Each event is color-coded based on what calendar it belongs to, and events with additional information attached to them (location, flight number, etc.) also appear. An event like “Trip to Boston” shows a Google Maps image or a photo of Boston as its background, while something like “Dinner with Laura” features an illustration of plates and cutlery.
The app can also create calendar events automatically from Gmail messages. Think: hotel and plane reservations. Although, according to Wired, this automated process isn’t seamless quite yet. Wired adds: