Jifflenow - Another appointment scheduler Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Following on from my look at Presdo here, I also took at look at Jifflenow which was renamed from iPolipo and is not to be confused with the Jiffle [a Norfolk term apparently].
This service is much more in line with my aspirations for a scheduling service, albeit its' functionality is designed for one-to-one meetings rather than those involving many people.
Hence, you mark up your free/busy times and assign these as being available to selected contact groups that you create e.g. clients, vendors, consultants. You assign individuals to these groups and send them an email notification that you have given them access to your calendar and can select times to meet with you. Permission to view your can be time boxed with a start date and duration that they can have access.
Once a contact requests a meeting slot from your available times, it is immediately removed from the slots that others can see, thereby avoiding double booking problems. If you are happy to accept the appointment, Jifflenow both updates your actual Outlook or Google calendar and sends an email confirmation to the other party.
Your privacy is protected because contacts only see Available/Free timeslots, not scheduled meetings. However, entries in your Outlook or Google calendar made independently of Jifflenow do not update your available slots and so you will need to make manual updates.
A very neat feature is that the calendar view for your contacts includes automatic time zone translation, allowing them to see their local times once they have selected their timezone on the calendar screen.
Jiffle is free for up to 10 meeting confirmations per month, after which you either have to upgrade or stop using the service! Importantly contacts don't have to subscribe to Jifflenow or install any software to schedule meetings with you.
I do have four gripes about the offering
- To send one-off meeting ad-hoc invitees is overly complex and should be simplified. Presently you need to highlight times you wish to show as available and nominate which pre-defined groups you are wishing to share this calendar information with. Hence, it appears that to arrange a one-off meeting, you either need to direct the invitees to your public version of your calendar [assuming you've made one available], or create a one-time use group for the meeting.
- Invitees can't propose alternate times via the service e.g. the following week or different times. Whilst this may encourage you to put all your free times on show, some professionals may not like to show a calendar with lots of free time, as it looks bad e.g. similar impression to seeing an empty restaurant.
- I'm not sure how easy it will be to maintain the permission "windows" if you have a large number of clients, unless you simply give them all permanent access to the calendar rather than say a month ahead. It will be too easy to exclude certain people simply because you forgot to renew/extend their access period.
- The integration with Google calendar only extends to your main calendar. Hence if your Google calendar consolidates multiple calendar subscriptions in one view, these other entries will be missing within Jifflenow. It may not affect many people, but I am one of the few!
Other than that, I like the service and can see it being very valuable to a number of professionals who offer one-on-one consultations.
- At 12:14 AM, said...
You should have a look at TimeBridge.com - they allow you to work with or without calendar integration/download. You can easily propose multiple times. I was up and running in minutes and scheduling a meeting is a breeze. I only wish they had a Mac ical integration (their support told me it is coming soon, but no date yet)