Often scheduling a meeting or event for a group of people to agree upon can be as frustrating and time consuming as finding your kids lost in a busy mall. The online poll web application, Doodle.com, can make the task much easier, providing all participants an opportunity to choose which date and time works best for all.
Setting up a Doodle poll is relatively easy, but you will want to explore other useful features the site offers for sharing and scheduling calendar dates, connecting Doodle with Google Apps, and using Doodle mobile.
Scheduling an Event
You can actually create and send a poll without registering for a Doodle account. But if you want access to other free features, and if you plan to use the service more than a few times, it’s best to set up an account, which can also be done using your existing Google, Yahoo! or OpenID account.
Scheduling a poll event involves a 3-step process, but there are a few options you will want to consider to make the task easier. In step one you set a title and optionally add a location for the meeting or event.
You should add a description especially if you plan to post a link to your poll on a website instead of inviting participants to respond by email. If you’re conducting an invitation-only poll, you can write a message in the message box before you email it. In addition, you can connect to names and emails in your Google or Outlook Address Book to complete the final last step. This is handy if you need to send polls to the same people more than once.
After you add your name and email address (optional), the next step is to select optional days for a meeting or event. As you can see, you’re not limited to the current month. You can click the arrow button to go to the next months. Select as many dates you like, but it’s typically a good idea to choose days which are close to one another.
After setting dates you can setup times for each selected date. If a time is not chosen, Doodle will set the dates as all-day. When you set times for the first day, you can click the “Copy and paste first row” option to add those times to other days. If you make a mistake, you can change the time in the first row and hit the copy and paste button again to update the other rows.
And by the way, if you type say “7” or “830” and hit the tab or return key, Doodle will insert the colon for you and set the default time to AM. If you type, for example, “8pm”, it will insert “8:00 PM” for you.
The last setting gives you a few more options. If you choose a Basic Poll, it presents all your selected dates and times. This option will also show all individual responses to the poll which is good for letting respondents see which dates and times are getting the most votes.
Doodle provides other optional settings including making a poll confidential for only you, the administrator, to see, or allowing each respondent to select only one option. After clicking the Next button, you can choose to finish and get a link to the poll which can be posted on a website or emailed; or you can log into the site for more options, such as making the poll invitation-only.
The benefit of making the poll invitation-only is that you get to see who in your group has not responded. This option is also a good way to limit the number of responses, or to keep someone from responding more than once. As an Administrator of a poll, you get access to all kinds of other features, including closing and deleting polls, monitoring participants, and exporting poll results to Excel.
If you register a Doodle account, you also get the option to create a “Make a choice” poll, which allows you to add text-based content and options for participants to choose from.
The iOS versions of Doodle compliment the features and capabilities of the web-application. As with the online version, you can set it up to link Doodle dates to your device’s default iCal calendar.
Let us know what you think of Doodle and the services it offers. For other poll services and meeting scheduling resources, check out these articles: