3 reasons why I’m bullish on extensions, plus a better scheduling app.

simplicity-b2b-content-marketingScheduling time to meet with someone is one of those things that’s just hard enough to be annoying, but probably not complex enough to need a whole new tool to simplify it. It’s one of those problems that makes for a perfect example of how-to, or how-not-to, create a great product.

Often in the product world we find a problem we want to solve and end up creating a far more complex system to solve it; one in which the user has to change usage patterns or require ramp up time. As a result, minor problems and annoyances (like scheduling meetings) don’t get dramatic improvements because the cost v. benefit v. ramp-up never quite get to a point in which the user is willing to change their habits to gain the benefits from a new tool. “I’ll just send an email” or “I’ll just use a spreadsheet” can kill the potential for “robust” products. And rightly so, email and spreadsheets are comfortable, versatile and already understood between groups.

That’s why I have been bullish on extensions, especially the Google Chrome ones.

The good ones are able to find a balance between:

  • A lack of ramp-up time.
  • An integration into the tools and workflows I already use.
  • No requirement for other parties to have the platform in order to use it.

189171-bf657de80640275b84d3931444d6fafe-medium_jpgAn example of a great extension I was introduced to recently is Assistant.to. Assistant.to is a Chrome extension that links to your Google Calendar and extends your Google Email composer so you can easily drop-in potential appointment/meeting times as text and links in your email. There was no setup, all the interaction happens within the GMail composer, and the form factor works in a way that needs no additional explanation or signups for the receiver.

It is a must have tool for sure! Here are some screenshots of the workflow:

 

Checking_in____-_sean_shadmand_gmail_com_-_Gmail

Extension overlay

 

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Expanded overlay

 

Checking_in____-_sean_shadmand_gmail_com_-_Gmail 3

Select availability

 

Checking_in____-_sean_shadmand_gmail_com_-_Gmail 4

Available times copy and pasted

 

Assistant_to_-_Your_Personal_Scheduling_Assistant

Meeting confirmed

As a note, another great extensions I’ve been using lately is the one Grammerly.com that allows great inline writting corrections and tools.

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