Makes scheduling group get-togethers efficient and simple. Well designed. Optional notifications for each poll.
Scheduling among invitees in multiple time zones is tricky.
- Bottom Line
The Doodle Android app takes the pain out of finding the best time and date for a group of people to meet. It's an Editors' Choice app.
By Jill Duffy
Scheduling software Doodle is one of my favorite productivity apps. You use it to schedule get-togethers by creating a poll of possible dates and times and sending it around to everyone you want to invite. They respond, and you get to see the time and date that works for the most people, without resorting to endless emails or texts. It takes the work out of picking a time to meet. Doodle started as a web app, but it's now also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. The experience translates well to the mobile platform. Optional notifications make it easy to stay on top of all your meetings. This efficient solution to a common problem makes Doodle for Android an Editors' Choice.
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While this review only looks at the Doodle Android app, you can read additional details about the service in my in-depth review of Doodle.com.
Doodle is a freemium tool. The app is free to download, and there's no charge to use the service. If you upgrade to a Private or Business account, however, you get additional perks.
The free account gives you all the basics you need to schedule a meeting with a group of people. You can create polls, invite others to participate in them, edit them, see the results, and so forth. There are no limits on how many polls you can create, nor are any major features missing. You can even connect your personal calendar to Doodle for free, which allows you to see when you have conflicts while scheduling. You will, however, see ads with a free account.
The $39 per year Private account removes ads and throws in a few bonuses, such as the ability to see which invitees haven't yet answered your poll and to automatically remind them to respond. Private users get end-to-end SSL encryption, too.
Business accounts are designed for teams, and they start at $69 per year for one person. As a team, you'll probably have a few people on board, however. Larger teams pay less per seat: A five-person account runs $169 per year, for example. Business accounts include everything that's in the Private account, plus custom domains and designs if you want them, as well as user-management features.
Doodle on Android
The Doodle Android app is as easy to use as the Doodle website. You can create a new poll by following a series of prompts. You can reuse an old poll, either as a template for a new event or for a recurring event. You can also make a choice on polls to which you have been invited to participate.
Participants do not need a Doodle account to respond. The app has built-in sharing tools to send a link to the poll via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and other apps. You also have the option to copy the link to the poll and paste it into the communication medium of your choice.
The app also lets you see the results of your polls. The options that received the most votes have a little star attached to them, making it easy to spot the dates and times that work best for most people. A commenting feature lets you add notes or see comments that your participants have left on your poll.
When you add a location to an invitation for a get-together, the Doodle Android app gives you the option of pinning the spot using GPS. The app also helpfully suggests commonly used locations, some of which aren't on any map, such as "Skype" or "phone."
Notification settings allow you to get alerts in real time when someone responds to a poll, when someone adds a comment, or when there's other activity. These settings are available for each poll, so you can leave them off when you don't want them.
There are other settings you can apply to each poll, too. Checking the Yes, No, If Need Be option gives participants the ability to respond with something other than a clear-cut yes or no. Another setting restricts participants to choosing just one date and time. Yet another allows you, the poll creator, to limit how many people can respond. Say you had five tickets to an event for any one of three days. You could invite more than five people to answer your poll on a first-come, first-served basis. The poll would close as soon as five people replied.
When you don't select any special options, a poll closes whenever you choose. In closing a poll, the app prompts you to settle on a final date and time. Again, the options are displayed clearly, with the number of yes votes tallied right alongside the option. After you settle on a date and time, Doodle offers to add it to your calendar (Google Calendar, iCloud, Microsoft Office 365/Outlook.com, Outlook, ICS feed) as well.
Having used Doodle for many years to schedule calls, sometimes among people spread out all over the world, I do have one suggestion for improvement. I'd like to be able to view more than one time zone at once while scheduling. You can change the time zone of a poll easily, which is useful if you are trying to plan events that will take place in a time zone other than the one in which you are doing your planning. But it's still rough to suggest times when you can't see a matrix of time zone conversions in front of you.
Doodle is Tops
I love how simply Doodle works. I also love that it solves a common problem with such ease. Doodle can help you pick a time for personal get-togethers, such as group dinners or family vacations, as well as business meetings. For both work and pleasure, Doodle is one of the top Android apps.
Jill Duffy is a contributing editor, specializing in productivity apps and software, as well as technologies for health and fitness. She writes the weekly Get Organized column, with tips on how to lead a better digital life. Her first book, Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life is available for Kindle, iPad, and other digital formats. She is also the creator and author of ProductivityReport.org. Before joining PCMag.com, she was senior editor at the Association for Computing Machinery, a non-profit membership organization for… More »
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