Never Enough Time

Currently, I see many calendars and apps that are either focused on one aspect of the calendar (e.g. iCal and Sunrise for calendar integration and Doodle and Flock for scheduling) or a certain individual (e.g. Tempo for networkers).  And other calendars, that aim to be multi-purpose, offer too many features that in theory would tremendously enhance the planning experience but realistically do not align with user behavior (e.g. To-Do recommendations based on location).  Where I believe many calendars fail is their lack of simplification and integration of their features to reduce mental energy and user action.  The challenge is also to maintain functionality and avoid a foreign UX that risks engagement.

I think Magneto has impressive core features that are addressing some of the missing tools and scheduling experiences on many other calendar apps.  These features are focused on simplifying key issues with scheduling and task / event creation.  While the purpose of these features is nothing new, the features themselves provide enhanced solutions to old problems.  For example, the browser add-on significantly reduces the manual inputs involved in adding an event or task to your calendar by extracting information from your current webpage or email regarding an event or meeting and adding it to your calendar (below is a snapshot).  The created event can be shared across your personal and professional calendars through Magneto.  Magneto’s browser add-on automates date, time, participants and location input entries.  In comparison, Gmail calendar is limited to adding events from Gmail to only the Gmail calendar and requires exporting events onto its calendar from all other sites such as Facebook.

What I like most about Magneto is their attempt to resolve meeting scheduling by providing the capability to  schedule meetings without numerous email exchanges and view availability on both my personal and work calendars while scheduling.  However, this is also the feature I struggled most to understand and use.  Sharing my calendar via an email invite was simple but the time-proposing and event scheduling process that followed was confusing.  The experience was not as intuitive as I would have liked it to be (another calendar problem: functional but hard to use).  Those on the receiving end of my scheduling invite also had some difficulties navigating the tools.  I think improved guidance during the time-selection process between individuals is the missing piece, suggesting that there is too much unnatural form of input and needs to be a more intuitive user interface.

Overall, I think Magneto has differentiated itself as a strong calendar system with its features but I think it still falls short of replacing individuals’ primary use of Gmail, Outlook and other Calendars because while its features are useful and address the main issues with calendar management and scheduling, they are difficult to learn to use.

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