I have tried too many calendars. The best among the worst was Sunrise, thanks to Microsoft, and that is also gone (and for good!). People loved and used Sunrise so much so that Product Hunt has a full collection of ‘Alternatives to Sunrise.’ I have tried pretty much all the calendars available on the Mac (except paid Fantastical) and Google Cal as the web calendar.
What Are The Problems I Face?
My first problem is that most (if not all) calendars are simply putting the ancient hard calendar to our computers/mobiles/tablets. The makers of the calendars are simply focussing on making the calendar ‘beautiful.’ How many of you use software like Calendly or Doodle (to schedule), keep switching between emails (to see what is the suggested time), Google (to keep converting timezones), and then back to calendar (to schedule it)? Yes, me too!
I want to believe I’m a tech-savvy guy, and I know that Google Cal, for example, has timezones, find a time, etc. But the user experience is so screwed up that there are very few who know about this feature and even if people know about ‘time zones’, it is better to open a new tab, convert it with Google, and come back to the calendar.
My second problem is some people build a pretty good calendar app, but they will be available on one platform only. I cannot use X on my Nexus, Y on my iPad and Z on my Mac. Again, the UX will be bloody screwed up that way as well.
Forget that somebody made a calendar for laptops/mobiles. Forget that there is a Google/Apple calendar. With the technologies we have around, start thinking with a fresh slate on how we can build a ground up calendar.
I think instead of the over-used ‘calendar protocol’, one should build a calendar with ‘Instant Messenger protocol.’
Simply put, this means calendars should talk with each other and figure their shit out. If two people want to schedule something, why should they switch to emails/WhatsApp/messengers and then come back to calendarss? Why can’t they just talk in the calendars itself?
If Arjun and Anoop want to schedule a meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday, our calendars know when we are free, when we are busy, why can’t they talk to each other (with occasional instant messages asking ‘can I share free/busy time with Anoop’s calendar?’, ‘Do you prefer 10am or 11am?’).
Yeah. That is it – for heaven’s sake, someone please make a better calendar for all of us!
Word To The Wise
The startups working on calendar apps: I know it is not a super easy problem to solve. AI is fast coming into the picture, which might work the way I’m hoping for. However, fundamental thinking needs to change first before they can make it work. I wish you all the best. If you need to do a customer interview, reach out to me.
[This post by Arjun R Pillai first appeared on Medium and has been reproduced with permission.]