Author Archives: Tilman Eberle

About Tilman Eberle

Doodle AG VP Corporate Communications MeetMe: http://doodle.com/tilman

Organizing Doodle’s research

We always want to improve Doodle’s services, and we regularly carry out scheduling research projects to help with these efforts. Not only do these user / online population surveys help us, but the results contain interesting data on scheduling and time management that we like to publish on our blog. We’ve now combined our research over the last few years in a new archive (Doodle Analytics), and we hope you enjoy learning from the data as much as we have!

Doodle switches to HTML

We send hundreds of thousands of notifications per day that are related to the administration of Doodle polls. Some of you may have already seen that we’ve switched to HTML e-mail notifications. This was an important step to improve the overall user experience of one of Doodle’s core communication streams. We handle these messages in-house so that we can have full control over what our users get. You’ll notice that the HTML e-mails look better and offer more helpful information in one look.

Approach

The basic approach to develop the new e-mails involved iterative steps and a lot of testing. Over the course of a month, we released six layout versions to small subsets of users and measured KPIs like the opening rate and the click-through rate. Many users and a service called Litmus helped us test the designs in a variety of e-mail clients. We immediately incorporated the feedback and were able to measure the improvements instantly.

Initial text-only notifications

First iteration

Five iterations later: today’s notification

Results

As a result, you can now experience HTML notifications in a fresh and structured layout that gets displayed in all modern e-mail clients. Poll initiators are much less likely to send out the admin link that is not intended for the participants. They can also invite participants by clicking on the invite buttons in the HTML e-mail. The final layout has been selected because it achieves an optimum click-through rate on links to Doodle polls, other Doodle content and advertising partners. Just like before, you can get rid of all advertising on Doodle by choosing a premium subscription.

Lessons

  • a text-only fall back increases the click through rate significantly
  • over 50% of all Doodle notifications get opened
  • less clicks on advertising was equivalent with a higher lead rate, which is good for the advertiser as for the Doodle user

In the end, it was trickier to develop a good HTML e-mail than a website because there are even more e-mail clients than there are Web browsers. That was one of the lessons that we learned that anyone who’s created HTML e-mails before has also learned. Here are some helpful resources that we used:

Doodle launches new booking service called BookMe

We’re happy to announce that Doodle is expanding its product portfolio and launching a new service called BookMe. 85% of consumers use the Internet to search for local service providers*, but they primarily book their appointments offline. BookMe will put an end to the flood of phone calls by handling the booking of appointments for hairdressers, therapists, mechanics, consultants, music teachers, sports trainers, and other small and medium service providers. This new booking service is based on Doodle’s philosophy of radically simplifying the scheduling process, and it’s a useful tool for service providers who want to provide online tools for their customers.

How it works
BookMe can act as a standalone Web presence, and customers are able to book appointments with just a few clicks (see example). There’s no back and forth communication because the available times are the only ones that are displayed due to the live synchronization of an electronic calendar. For smaller service providers that can’t afford a dedicated receptionist, BookMe is an attractive option that provides reception, Web presence, reminder, and even marketing functionality. The subscriptions for this professional service are on a monthly basis per connected co-worker and include future updates.

More information

About BookMe

During development, we focused on creating a user-friendly and attractive interface that would enable customers to book appointments without experiencing any obstacles.

– Malte Schiebelmann, Product Manager

We believe that no one should have to waste time when scheduling appointments, and more than ten million Doodle users already save their precious time when scheduling group events. Since 2011, MeetMe has been the solution for one-on-one appointments, and starting today, BookMe simplifies client bookings for service providers.

– Michael Näf, CEO

*Local consumer review survey (2012)

Doodle welcomes Tungle users

MeetMe subscriptions peaking

MeetMe subscriptions peaking after Tungle’s announcement to shut down

Yesterday, Tungle announced the retirement of their service and recommended to switch to Doodle instead, which was also picked up by TechCrunch. We know that such a change is always a pain but we welcome all Tungle users warmly and hope that they soon feel comfortable with Doodle.

As we already see in our stats, most Tungle users who give Doodle a try look to MeetMe as a replacement for Tungle. At Doodle, MeetMe is one of the more advanced features and a pure 1:1 communications channel to fix appointments quickly. It is particularly useful when have your calendar connected, be it Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal.

Group scheduling on Doodle, however, is handled via an event “poll”. This is basically a table of time slots in which all participants indicate their availability independent of the calendar system they use. Each participant can individually decide whether to connect an electronic calendar in order to let Doodle prefill choices and to see the own availability right in the same interface. But you don’t need to do so – you don’t even need to sign up for using Doodle.

We want to thank Marc and his team for having been a great challenger and for generously reffering to us. It was great to see a Canadian and a Swiss company shape and push the idea of online scheduling over the years. We wish you the best of luck and are looking forward to seeing your handwriting in Blackberry 10!

RememberTheName: if you want to know the meeting participants

Doodle is a standard for consensus based group scheduling. As soon as a meeting date is fixed, Doodle’s main job is done. Days or weeks later the actual meeting happens. At this point you may ask yourself: “Who’s going to be there, again?” The Doodle poll now acts as a participants list because everyone participated with their own name.

The more people participate the higher the chance you or the other participants will not recall everyone’s name when you meet. For people you have met before this may put you in an embarrassing situation. RememberTheName has a solution for this: invite your participants to add themselves to a shared memory list (see example). A face picture, name and job info will be pulled from the participants profile of choice like Facebook, LinkedIn or Xing. Now you can use flashcards to playfully learn the other participants and prepare yourself for the actual meeting. For each person you can further add a personal mnemonic and notes like where you met, what you talked before etc.

Such memory lists are really helpful for networking events, seminars, classes or even big family reunions. RememberTheName gives each face a name and will ensure you leave a great impression. While you already enjoy stress free scheduling with Doodle you can now enjoy stress free meetings using RememberTheName. Have fun remembering!

A guest blog by Reto Lämmler, Founder of RememberTheName and former Product Manager at Doodle.

Why we will retire our Android app

Yesterday we announced that we will retire our Android app. The announcement triggered a wave of feedback. We appreciate the comments, and we wanted to give you some more background information about why we decided to retire the app.

First of all, Doodle is a lean company with a team of 12 people running, engineering, and marketing a service that is used by more than 10 million users worldwide each month. That’s why we need to be extremely focused in our activities. For our mobile services, that means that we implement the non-native version internally (m.doodle.com) and rely on partners for development of native apps.

We developed the native Android app with our partners at Acrea. At the time, it was an important project for them and we were full of expectations. It turned out that the app did not fulfill those expectations entirely. It has achieved decent adoption in the 20 months since the launch, but it has not had the massive propagation that we had hoped for. Instead, it created a significant support effort, and the primarily ad-based business model has not been a sufficient incentive to continue to maintain and extend the app for us or Acrea.

It’s not about Android vs. iOS. The reason why we’re keeping the native iOS app is that our partner Neoos has agreed to continue working on it, which is in a large part fueled by the fact that the iOS apps are paid apps that generate noticeable monthly revenue.

Now, we know that not all of you love m.doodle.com, but we believe that it is well-suited for the requirements of mobile devices and we are committed to improving it further. With that in mind, please send us your input about how we can improve it!

Thanks for your understanding and your support!

Here’s a quick Q&A regarding the questions we hear most frequently about the Android app and the mobile Web version:

Q: I don’t trust browsers to save my password.
A: You do not have to save your password and user name in your browser. You just sign in once and we remember that you logged in. We also do not save your credentials, but instead, we store an encrypted identification.

Q: I don’t want to login each time.
A: See above.

Q: I want to access the tabular display.
A: Use the “desktop” link at the bottom of the page to access the normal view, including the table.

Q: I want to see the names of the poll participants.
A: Click the people icon at the top to see the names.

Q: Doodle does not work with Opera Turbo turned on.
A: We are in contact with Opera and they have promised to resolve the issue.

Android app to be retired

The mobile usage of Doodle grows rapidly and we’ve invested a lot in the mobile interfaces, namely the mobile Web version and the iOS app. And while Doodle’s Android app was a great success in terms of downloads it wasn’t as intensely used as we expected. That’s why we decided to retire the Android app in favor of the mobile Web version and to free up resources for other projects that make scheduling even easier. Instead of the app, you can use the mobile Web version on your Android smartphone – it has the same features as the Android app and more, calendar integration for instance.

What does this mean for you?

  • You don’t need to do anything.
  • You won’t lose any data. If you used MyDoodle in the app, you will see all information and polls on your dashboard.
  • To retain a one-click button to access Doodle, you can add a bookmark to the homescreen of your smartphone (see how).
  • We are going to stop redirecting from Mobile Doodle to the Android app by October 1st. And we stop providing end-user support for the Android app today.
  • If you want to switch to m.doodle.com already today, you can delete the app. If you do so, please delete also the Doodle cookies in your browser in order not to be redirected to the (no longer installed) Android app.
  • The users of any other “Doodle” app on Android should know that there’s no official Doodle Android app any more and you might want to use mobile Doodle instead. You can also withdraw access rights to these apps if you have installed one (see how).

Important information to all users of our iOS app: there are no plans to retire this app.

And finally, we’d like to thank our partner Acrea for the great collaboration!

 

Get more information in an Update.