Meet with Approval gets my seal of approval

Meetings are often held in conference roomsImage via WikipediaThe welcome page to "Meet with Approval" underwhelmed me, but after trying this meeting scheduler service out I confess to quickly upgrading my opinion of the site.

It has deliberately been kept simple and free of gimmicks, as a consequence of which I anticipate adoption rates will be high, provided people don't mind paying $30 for a year's subscription to arrange unlimited meetings via the service, after using up their two free attempts.

The site uses a simple form to capture meeting information in text form from the organiser, allowing them to specify multiple dates/times options for the proposed meeting from which invitees can signify their availability.

Invites are sent via the service and email address may be manually entered or imported from a range of services/locations like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo which is catered for [most sensibly] via Plaxo's address book widget.

You can also send reminders to non-respondents, a process which has to be manually initiated within the site.

Once responses are in, the organiser confirms a meeting slot and all invitees notified automatically.

Pros
- very simple to use
- suitable for meetings involving many people
- allows people to indicate all the times they can attend
- highlights most popular meeting time automatically
- attendees may leave comments
- paid-for service includes ability to apply your own corporate branding
- subscription cost is trivial
- excellent log-in, which avoids passwords and simply asks you to provide the answer to a memorable question you determined at sign-up

Cons
- Meeting Duration is shown in the comments to the meeting
- Comments are the only way for invitees to suggest alternate dates/availability
- Unfriendly error messages

Unlike Timebridge which limits you to 5 time slots, I didn't hit a restriction on the number of time slots that could be offered to invitees.

Just to note, in testing I did hit "Runtime Error" screens when I attempted to cancel a meeting, which would scare unsophisticated users. However, this is an early version of the service and I hope such wrinkles will be attended to quickly.

Overall, it is simpler to use than Timetomeet, a free alternative, and the use of a list of options rather than a calendar display that needs to be scrolled through, will certainly be easier for most people to immediately comprehend. In my [painful] experience, when presented with a calendar view on these types of service, many people fail to appreciate that they need to scroll through the displayed weeks as some options offered may be out of sight. In contrast, a list view shows them all options in a concise and complete fashion.

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posted by John Wilson @ 8:42 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit



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