Application Critique: Business Calendar

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 1.43.02 PM

While the idea of using an application that is specifically catered for business usage might sound attractive, like what someone mentioned during the presentation, does the Business Calendar app have a chance in a market that is predominated by enterprise solutions;MS Outlook and the popular Google Calendar?

Syncing of Tasks

One of the points that was strongly highlighted was the ability to easily synchronise tasks on the calendar across different emails or accounts. Implying from the presentation, this was the differentiating factor of the Business Calendar.

Foremost, it is indeed a powerful feature. As we proceed with our work nowadays, we switch across different accounts, different devices and sometimes even different applications. Therefore the ability to create a task and sync it without worrying about forgetting to update something else gives me a peace of mind.

However, that said, I also believe such a feature is one which is derived from using the application in the first place. Prior to the presentation, I would not have known what syncing of task really meant as there was no common use of it. Users of Google Calendar would share calendars instead to ‘sync’ their tasks. Whereas, users of MS Outlook keeps everything to Outlook itself sometimes due to company standards. Therefore, I doubt users who are already using either Google Calendar or MS Outlook would not see the potential of syncing of tasks and be enticed to switch over to Business Calendar instead.

As for a new user, syncing of task would probably not be a ‘must-have-feature’ right off the bat. I feel that the need for such a function only becomes apparent after a certain amount of usage of calendars. Thus, such a feature albeit is powerful, doesn’t really contribute much to differentiating the application from other Calendars currently out there.

Lack of Supported Platforms

As pointed out in the presentation, Business Calendar is only available on the android phones. To me, that is a big problem for it to be termed as the “Business Calendar”. When working in offices during part times, internships etc, we usually have a work station and sometimes (more often that not) when work gets busy, we have to rely on mobile devices to keep up with assignments and tasks. Therefore the business individual would be constantly working from both the phone and the desktop and the inability to view the calendar on the desktop would definitely be crippling.

Although Business Calendar allows you to still export schedules and provide limited usage outside the application, you will definitely be missing out on the familiar interface when using it on the phone (unless you boot up an emulator but that’s another story).

The lack of supported platforms is therefore a rather serious issue for business usage. As pointed out during the presentation, the name of Business Calendar could be misleading as the presenter himself uses it often and is a student. However, I feel that the application could actually be more suited for non-business users instead who don’t mind not being able to enjoy the application on the desktop and just looking for a better phone calendar.

Complex vs Intuitive Usage

Lastly, I believe the application prides itself as a complex calendar that can suit your business needs. However, concurrently, it also prides itself of it’s ease of use and intuitive controls. Indubitably, it has a ton of customisations and features however, at the same time, I believe complexity compromises ease of usage.

I would prefer mobile applications to be simple as after all, screen space is hugely limited and controls are limited to the touchscreen unlike the desktop where you can have large monitors, (or multi-monitors) a keyboard and a mouse. Therefore, I never really learn to appreciate complexity such as being able to view the entire month’s schedule as shown below, in a small screen space except to admire how extensively I have used the app.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 4.36.01 PM

On the other hand, I would have appreciated more if I was just given a simple calendar with big CTA numbers of the date where I can click to view the popup box. Flooding the screen to provide the schedule at a glance would have worked better if it was a desktop web application as there’s more screen space to display nicely. I might even want to be able to add more coloured labels to the calendar than compared to if I was on a mobile application.

Verdict

Current leading calendar applications, namely Google Calendar, would still be the standard choice for most users. That said, I certainly do not doubt Business Calendar is in any way lacking in features and customisation options compared to Google Calendar. However, it would be very difficult to top Google’s ‘all-encompassing’ ecosystem that we are trapped in and simply their popularity. With a pay-gate on top of the list of why not to use Business Calendar, I certainly do not see myself escaping Google’s clutches.

2 thoughts on “Application Critique: Business Calendar

  1. Hi Sam,

    While I agree that complex functionalities and simple usage often does not go hand in hand, I don’t think Business Calendar is wrong to market these two aspects. Generally, even as power users, I believe they would also want to have a pleasant experience when using the app. Hence, I don’t think that they’re contradicting points.

    As you have pointed out, for us casual users (ie. not a busy “business person”), we would find the monthly view feature is quite redundant. However, I suppose that this would be quite useful for power users who have an extremely packed schedule and would like to quickly see which days are less dense to slot in some meeting or other activity. The app boasts of the feature to switch calendars easily with just one swipe, which I think compliments this particular use case quite well, as it allows power users to quickly make sense of their extremely busy schedules with less hassle.

    However, I do agree with you that this feature seems to be more suited for a desktop app rather than a mobile app. Perhaps they decided to cater to the mobile platform first because they realise that there is a gap in the mobile market for this kind of high-functionality calendar app, as compared to the desktop market which is probably already proliferated with these apps. This would then allow them to grab market share more quickly and dominantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, just my opinion from someone who has not been successfully convinced to try Business Calendar!

    The biggest reason why I have not tried Business Calendar which I feel you have rightly pointed out would be the existence of Google Calendar. Due to my scheduling needs already being solved by Google Calendar, I see no reason to try Business Calendar.

    Although the syncing sounds really powerful, to this date, I have no idea the scope of the syncing. Does it only sync “Tasks”, meaning I have to create one? If so, I feel like it would be easier just to add it straight to my calendar on my phone. I feel like it would be more powerful and useful if it could use NLP or other proprietary technology to offer the option to create tasks and sync with calendar with just a click. But then that seems like the domain of Gmail. For me, I was really impressed by the auto update feature of EventBrite when I registered for an event through them, and also how Google Calendar managed to import a schedule from a source into my calendar. I feel like this would be all I need from a calendar app – easy to add events, and auto adding events whenever possible.

    For your comments on usage and display, I completely agree that it looks to be a desktop app rather than a mobile app, but they probably force fitted it for a mobile because they figured business people would be running around meeting clients and will not always have access to their laptops.

    To sum up, the biggest reason why I have not tried and probably will not try the Business Calendar would probably be that there is no need for it. With google calendar already being so prevalent and sharable with friends, I wouldn’t want to switch platforms just for the sake of a few bonus features.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s