Category Archives: Doodle features

New Frontiers with Doodle and Meekan

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Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Doodle is more than just Doodle.com and our iOS and Android apps you know. Doodle is also Meekan! Meekan is the world’s smartest AI scheduling assistant. It’s a chatbot you can talk with on Slack, Hipchat, and Microsoft teams. Just ask for a meeting and Meekan will compare everyone’s schedules and suggest the best time. Together with Meekan, we’re expanding our scheduling domain into other territories with three exciting new projects. Now you can experience the power of Meekan in your browser, on your desktop, and on your Android device.

Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Google calendar Chrome extension

Are you a Chrome user? Statistically speaking, that’s probably the case. And it’s good news for you too. We’re bringing you Meekan in the form of a Chrome extension (which is just a custom program for your browser). You can download it from the Chrome store and start scheduling with Meekan in seconds. Just add the contacts you’d like to invite, and Meekan will suggest appropriate times based on everyone’s calendar. See below. I added a few contacts for my meeting and found a time when everyone can make it!

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Everyone can make it!

Mac OS app

The brains of Meekan can also accessed directly from your desktop with our new Mac OS app. Download it here. I’ll wait!

You can schedule meetings with anyone right from your desktop. No need to open your calendar, or send endless emails back and forth trying. Simply click, add your contacts, and Meekan will find a time that fits everyone. It’s as simple as that.

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Easy scheduling, right on your desktop

Meekan for Android

Now you can have Meekan in the palm of your hand. Download the new Meekan prototype for your Android device and experience just how easy scheduling a meeting can be. Just like our other prototypes, all you have to do is add a contact and Meekan will compare everyone’s schedules and suggest the best time to meet.

If you want to experience just how effortless scheduling is with Meekan, go ahead and try one (or all!) of our new prototypes. If you have feedback feel free to get in touch on Twitter or send us an email at support@doodle.com.  

 

Doodle at AMP 2018

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Photo by Jace Grandinetti on Unsplash

We’re so excited that our very own Michael Wuergler presented at this year’s AMP conference in Amsterdam.

AMP is an open-source project that aims to make the web better for everyone by creating faster web pages that perform better across all platforms. Most recently, Google has been working to bring the power of this framework to Gmail, and they asked us to develop a few applications for the new prototype.

Now, emails will no longer be static blocks of HTML that age and grow moss in your inbox. With this technology, developers will be able to create engaging, interactive email experiences. Your emails will be more dynamic; they’ll live and change with time. AMP for Email will make it possible for your emails to remain up to date every time you open them.

What does this mean for Doodle?

It means that you could get poll updates directly in your inbox. And I’m not talking about notification emails; I mean that your original admin email will update itself when people make their selections in your poll. You’ll be able to have a running tally of who voted for what in your poll as it’s happening. You could even choose a final date and close the poll right from your inbox. All without opening your browser. Finding a time to meet will be faster and easier with the ability to manage polls from your email.  

We’re waiting for Google to roll out AMP for Email, and then we can move to bring you all our cool AMP related projects.

If you’re interested in AMP and want to see Michael’s presentation you can check out the video below. He starts at about 6:30.

 

Experience the Benefits: Doodle Premium

Curious about what makes Doodle Premium so special?

Here’s a look at all the cool features and benefits.

Who is missing

With Doodle Premium you can easily keep track of who has and who hasn’t participated in your poll. When you send invitations via Doodle (by clicking Invite participants at the top of the page and then ‘email’), you’ll notice that every email address you send the invites to will appear on the bottom of the poll. These email addresses will act as placeholders until your participants make their selections, and then they’ll disappear. With just a glance at your poll, you can easily see who needs to be reminded to participate.

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Send reminders

If you want to send a quick email reminder to those who haven’t participated in your poll, you can do so with one click. Click the ‘Send reminders’ button at the top of the page to view a list of the non-responders. You can edit the list if you like and add a custom message.

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Branding

If you take a look at our Premium plans, you’ll notice that all the business options include customized branding. You can add your logo to your polls as well as a custom background. With Doodle Premium Business plans you add a professional look to all the polls you send out to your clients and your team.

Additional information requests

Additional information requests allow you to acquire more information from your participants when they make their selections in a poll. When your participants save their selections in your poll, you can ask them to provide their email address, phone number, or postal address. It’s a pretty nifty feature if you want to start a contact list for a newsletter (for example) or if you just want to make sure you can get back in touch with everyone after your event.

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User management

You can have Premium Business plans with as many users as you like. If you purchase a Business plan for teams, you’ll be able to add others to your account and them to create polls with all the same Premium benefits. It’s as simple as adding their email address to your user management page here. Then they can see who is missing, send reminders, and add information requests.

Also, keep in mind that all Doodle Premium plans are ad-free! Take a look at our Premium plans.

One Trick to Improve Your Quality of Life

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Photo by Robert Wiedemann on Unsplash

*Yawn*

*Sips coffee*

Sleep is serious business. Your sleep patterns (or lack thereof) can have a dramatic effect on your life and your work. The nature of work is changing, and technology is intruding more and more upon our body’s natural circadian rhythm, so it’s more important now more than ever to reclaim this most precious resource.  

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 hours of sleep per night needed to promote optimal health in adults. There are numerous other factors (such as genetics) that can influence exactly how much sleep you need, but 7 hours per night is optimal. A lack of sleep is associated with all kinds of negative health effects.   

More than the overall health trouble a lack of sleep can cause, it can have a significant impact on your performance at work, resulting in a lack of focus and more errors on the job. It can even impact your performance as much as alcohol according to this research from the Harvard Business Review. Too little sleep can be dangerous, and that’s pretty scary stuff.

A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that regular sleep patterns resulted in higher academic performance in university students compared to their peers with irregular sleeping patterns. The difference in performance was not affected by the total duration of sleep. Even if these two groups of students ended up sleeping the same amount, those with a sleep routine tended to have better grades. So when you get your 7 hours, make sure they’re part of a routine. Catching up on sleep doesn’t factor in.

Your sleep habits affect your quality of life, your work, and your overall productivity. So what can you do about it?

  1. Try your best to stick to a regular schedule. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. When you get into a proper rhythm, you’ll feel more awake and focused. Even enjoying the luxury of sleeping late on the weekend can throw off your routine.  
  2. Set an alarm if need be. Schedule your sleep. We’re big on scheduling here at Doodle, so trust us with this. Plan a little reminder to get you to hit the sack at a decent hour.
  3. Exercise. The three pillars of a healthy life are sleep, diet, and exercise. They’re all interrelated. A proper workout will not only improve your overall health, but it will also leave your body ready to recuperate, as exercise helps reduce stress and improves sleep quality.  

 

Meet Anywhere in the World

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Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

There’s no question that Doodle is the best way to organize a time to meet. It wouldn’t be the best time-finding tool if we didn’t take into account one vital issue.

Time zones. Your 8 o’clock or my 8 o’clock? Wait, when are we meeting again?

We’ve taken care of all of this already. Just in case you had any questions, I wanted to share the details with you.

There are two time zone settings you’ll encounter when polling.

Poll time zone

During step 2 when you create the poll, you will set the “poll time zone.” If you have an account, the poll should automatically take whichever time zone you have in your account settings. Check yours here. If you don’t have an account, the poll time zone is taken from your IP address. You’re free to click on the time zone during step 2 and choose another if you wish. This will be the time zone of your poll and the time zone of your event.

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Display time zone

Consider the following from the perspective of your participants.  When viewing a poll, you’ll notice the “display time zone” just under the title of the poll. This time zone will be unique to the person viewing the poll, depending on their location. The poll should adjust the time options according to the person’s account settings or IP address. The poll time zone remains the same and the display options are changed for each participant. You can also click on the time zone and change it if you like. 

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For Example

I’d like to have a conference call with some colleagues overseas. I’m in Berlin and I’ve created a poll with some options that I think might work for everyone. The poll time zone is Berlin. When my colleagues in New York open the poll, they’ll see my Berlin times adjusted to their time zone (see above). The 11am option they choose will be my 5pm, taking into account the 6 hour time difference. When the phone rings at 11am New York time, they’ll be ready to answer it.  

What about the apps?

When you create a poll with time slots in the app, Doodle will take whichever time zone you have your phone set to as the poll time zone. Likewise, when viewing a poll in the app, the display time zone will be adjusted according to your phone settings. There’s no need to adjust the time zone, we handle this for you automatically.

You can also check out our FAQ here for more details.

4 Lessons for a Productive Life

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Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

It’s pretty safe to say we’re scheduling enthusiasts here at Doodle.

Here’s a collection of some of the best calendar/scheduling hacks to help you organize your life.

No more back-to-backs

For your sanity, it’s best to avoid running appointments back to back. It may seem unavoidable, but this is why you use Doodle in the first place. If you have the feeling that you’re exhausted moving to and from meetings, try to take back some control and give yourself a break in between. Frequent breaks also help to keep you motivated and performing at your best.

Set up recurring events

If you’re trying to organize recurring meetings and want to create a Doodle poll for it, you can use our free text option. Just include options like ‘Mondays 1:00, Wednesdays 3:00, etc.’ In your calendar, there should be an option to create an event and have it repeat at any interval. You can have your meeting every week, month, or year. Just choose the interval from the pulldown menu.

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Creative flow 

When you get lost in your work, time seems to fly past. Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi called this flow. It’s mental state where your focus is heightened, and you fall under the spell of the activity you’re performing so much so that you lose a sense of where you are and how much time has passed. The trick is, it rarely occurs under time constraints. If you have to get serious work done, especially work where you need to generate lots of new ideas or make real progress, strive for flow. It’s best to block time in your calendar, to account for the time needed to generate ideas and flow.

Take back your time

Don’t just about fill up your calendar with meetings. Productivity is about spending time doing meaningful work. Focus on what matters and ignore the rest. If the meeting isn’t going to generate value for you or your work, don’t add it to your calendar. 

Meetme is a great way to manage your incoming appointment requests. You can connect your calendar to Meetme to show the outside world when you’re free or busy. Your colleagues or friends can request times to meet based on that information. The offers roll in, and you’re free to either accept or reject.

2017: Year in Review

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Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Redesign 

We started rolling out our redesigned Doodle in a few countries back in April of 2017. Do you remember what Doodle looked like before? The sturdy version we had for almost ten years? The redesign is so much sleeker and friendlier. We ran the beta version of the site until October before we switched off the lights on old Doodle. With your feedback, we improved the overall flow of poll creation and participation. Sending invites is easier and poll management is more intuitive. We also increased loading times by over a second. What can I say? We revamped everything while staying true to the product you love. That’s some magic right there.  

Meekan

We’ve also been up to some coolness with Meekan. If you don’t already know (and you should) Meekan is the world’s smartest AI scheduling assistant. Previously, you could interact with Meekan over Slack, Hipchat, and Microsoft Teams. In November, we released a Meekan chrome extension so you can interact with Meekan in your browser. Connect the browser to your Google account. Add your invitees, and in seconds Meekan will compare everyone’s schedules and suggest the best times. Easy as pie.   

The pairing of Meekan and Doodle is the future of scheduling. Imagine the brains of this AI infused with the scheduling app you already love. We’ve got some exciting things planned for later in the year, so make sure you’re paying attention.

Apps

Back in June, we were one of the first that Google allowed to implement the new Android instant app. This technology wasn’t available until last year, and we were chosen to beta test the new version. Instant apps provide the native app experience so you can still create polls with Doodle on your mobile, even if you don’t have the app. Always on the cutting edge. iOS has gotten better and better over the course of the year. Now you can experience all the Premium features (like who is missing and branding) you enjoy from the website in our app.

It was an incredible 2017, but we’ve got our sights on 2018 for the best year ever.