in Business, Digital, Feature Ideas, Technology, User Experience | Blog Posts


People often get caught out when two appointments in their calendar clash. Half the time I’ve seen it happen – it’s because they forgot to allocate enough travel time between destinations. And looking in someone else’s calendar it’s not immediately apparent how far away their appointment might be. A simple visual queue could help.

Showing Travel Time on the Calendar

Below is a a quick mock-up I created. Travel time appears as a slightly lighter colour around an appointment. The red indicator shows a visual indication that appointments clash. A dialogue appears letting you know (in case the red is not immediately apparent). Here is the mock-up:

Two events placed in Google calendar. The travel time appears as lower opacity around them. A colour shift shows that two events clash and dialogue pops up to inform the user. A mock-up of Google calendar with the proposed feature

Use Google Maps for Seamless Integration

Obviously this brings up an issue – when do you add travel time? There are several options:

  • When you create the appointment. The downside being that it gives users an extra action to complete for what is otherwise a simple process.
  • Provide a default for any event away from the office. This means Calendar needs to know where the office is, potentially lending itself to added complexity.
  • Once an address is added have Google Maps approximate the travel time. Include some buffer to account for simple things like finding parking or hailing a taxi. The possible drawback is of course if Maps is wrong.

The Benefit of Adding Small Features

What is the ultimate ROI of adding small UX improvements to a product? Plenty of digital products have niggling UX annoyances that users put up with. If Microsoft or Google implemented this feature, would it give some edge over the competition?

No individual feature is going to boost ROI. A dedication to User Experience is what differentiates amazing products from average products.

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