Lara Brooks

Calendars on websites; are they useful?

17 posts in this topic

Because my timetable can be a bit complicated I thought it would be easier for people if my availability was obvious on my site, so I put a Google calendar on it. Unfortunately it's causing problems though, mainly because some people can't figure out how to use it. So I put a "how to use the calendar" paragraph next to it and I'm still getting enquiries from people who are confused:(. It works OK for me (although if I load it in Firefox on my PC it gives all the details rather than just saying "busy" even though I've set the details to "private"!:confused:Maybe a geek can tell me why that might be and whether it shows to the outside world or just me) and I think it's fairly self explanatory how to go through the weeks and months. It looks fine to me in Internet Explorer 8.

So, what do you lot think of calendars on websites, and which do you think are, for want of a better phrase, "idiot proof"?

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Just had a look in Firefox and IE, it works fine and is simple to use. Not sure how anyone can have problems understanding it but maybe it's a good tool for filtering out the mentally challenged. :confused:

It also just says 'busy' so maybe you get all the details at your end because you are logged in to 'your' calender so get to see all the info while us mere mortals do not?

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My take on calendars;

They are very useful for clients to see when you are, or aren't working.

However 4 conundrums arise.

1. You state "Fully booked" for a day and your advance bookings cancel on the day. Result is many have been put off contacting you either before or on the day, since you appear not to have availability remaining.

2. You simply set the hours you are able to accept appointments, get fully booked and confirmed guys phone for a booking the when turned down complain "But your calendar shows you are available"

3. Illness or awkward situations arise and as a flexible, self-employed person you opt for the day off. Many guys contact you and complain once again that your website has said you will be available that day.

4. You offer flexible hours but will [obviously] only see/work a certain number of clients/hours each day. Guys see you have declared you are available on that day 9am til late, so at 10pm and after you've decided you've done enough will then badger for a late night booking.

So calendars whilst useful, can be difficult to manage unless you decide you have defined working hours and I have clients who wish to see me at very differing times.

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Thanks so much for checking that, Wamphyri :confused:

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Because my timetable can be a bit complicated I thought it would be easier for people if my availability was obvious on my site, so I put a Google calendar on it. Unfortunately it’s causing problems though, mainly because some people can’t figure out how to use it. So I put a “how to use the calendar” paragraph next to it and I’m still getting enquiries from people who are confused:(. It works OK for me (although if I load it in Firefox on my PC it gives all the details rather than just saying “busy” even though I’ve set the details to “private”!:confused:Maybe a geek can tell me why that might be and whether it shows to the outside world or just me) and I think it’s fairly self explanatory how to go through the weeks and months. It looks fine to me in Internet Explorer 8.

So, what do you lot think of calendars on websites, and which do you think are, for want of a better phrase, “idiot proof”?

For ladies such as yourself, Lara, I do find a simple calendar useful but I have to say yours isn’t very helpful at present! Firstly, historical information is of no interest to me (although I accept that that might be difficult to remove), but more importantly for you, you say that you only normally see one client a day and not before 10:00 am and yet your calendar shows you busy at 08:00. So what? Also it shows you busy almost every day. On that basis I wouldn’t even bother making an enquiry. I certainly wouldn’t read the “how to use” bit!

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So calendars whilst useful, can be difficult to manage unless you decide you have defined working hours and I have clients who wish to see me at very differing times.

Yup, sometimes they can create more problems than they solve. At least I have very definite times I work so that part isn't an issue, but good point about the last minute cancellations. It's not such an issue with me though thankfully as I don't take same day bookings from men I've not met before anyway, but I think I may just add a little amendment along the lines of "even if it says I'm busy on my calendar, let me know if you'd like to be informed if that changes".

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Because my timetable can be a bit complicated I thought it would be easier for people if my availability was obvious on my site, so I put a Google calendar on it. Unfortunately it’s causing problems though, mainly because some people can’t figure out how to use it. So I put a “how to use the calendar” paragraph next to it and I’m still getting enquiries from people who are confused:(. It works OK for me (although if I load it in Firefox on my PC it gives all the details rather than just saying “busy” even though I’ve set the details to “private”!:confused:Maybe a geek can tell me why that might be and whether it shows to the outside world or just me) and I think it’s fairly self explanatory how to go through the weeks and months. It looks fine to me in Internet Explorer 8.

So, what do you lot think of calendars on websites, and which do you think are, for want of a better phrase, “idiot proof”?

Let's take Tuesday 1st December as an example :-

busy

When

Tue, 1 December, 12:30 – 20:00

This means that you are available for a booking 10:00 - 12:30?

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You say that you only normally see one client a day and not before 10:00 am and yet your calendar shows you busy at 08:00. So what? Also it shows you busy almost every day. On that basis I wouldn't even bother making an enquiry.

Lara with this in mind is there an option to change the 'Busy' to 'Unavailable'?

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For ladies such as yourself, Lara, I do find a simple calendar useful but I have to say yours isn't very helpful at present! Firstly, historical information is of no interest to me (although I accept that that might be difficult to remove), but more importantly for you, you say that you only normally see one client a day and not before 10:00 am and yet your calendar shows you busy at 08:00. So what? Also it shows you busy almost every day. On that basis I wouldn't even bother making an enquiry. I certainly wouldn't read the "how to use" bit!

Thanks for your feedback, Calynx.

I'm not sure if I can remove the historical info, but then I see no reason to do so; if someone doesn't want to know what I was doing last week they simply wouldn't look. People don't tend to take the time to look at information that they are not interested in:confused:.

The reason on some days I say I'm busy from 8am is because although I'd put on my site that I can take calls from 8am to 8pm this is not always the case, and I though it might be helpful to potential clients if they knew when I'm "busy". I also go to uni and I can't have my phone on (or take bookings!) during lectures. Hence the "busy" from 8am on some days.

Yes, unfortunately I am now only potentially available 3 days a week so get booked up. However, for those who want to see me they can see at a glance when they could visit. It is a problem that being busy most of the time may put off people from even making an enquiry, but would it be preferable for them to think I'm available all the time and then to call or email only to then find I'm not around on any of the days they want? I thought it better to let them know and save them the trouble.

Let's take Tuesday 1st December as an example :-

busy

When

Tue, 1 December, 12:30 - 20:00

This means that you are available for a booking 10:00 - 12:30?

Yes it does :confused: Blocks of "space" on the calendar mean that I'm available for bookings, within the times already stated on the site (in from 10am and out by 8pm).

Lara with this in mind is there an option to change the 'Busy' to 'Unavailable'?

I'm afraid Google privacy settings show unavailable time periods as "busy" to anyone except me. Surely they both mean I'm not "bookable" at those times though?

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Yes it does :confused: Blocks of "space" on the calendar mean that I'm available for bookings, within the times already stated on the site (in from 10am and out by 8pm).

What does :-

Thursday, 26 November

08:00 busy

16:00 busy

mean?

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I had a quick look at the calendar and think it would be better if you put in your availability rather than the 8am busy.. I would not know how long you are busy for at 8am? Are you busy to 9am or to 10am for example, so for me it was confusing.

So I think it would work better if you put, say, available 12-6pm on a day.

I may be in the same boat as you come next summer so I would have to do some sort of detailed calendar too which I certainly think is worth doing :confused:

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Hi Lara, like you I use Google calendar for my bookings, tho not online. When I looked thru your online version I can totally see the sense it makes to you.. but as a client looking to make a booking, all I can see is 'When I can't, not 'When I can'... When I scrolled thru to a couple of weeks time I could see the difference and 'Then I can'.

I did notice on your page your 'I see one client a day' comment, tho it was only by reading here that I realised you only are available 3 days a week, thus the amount of 'when I cant's' on your calender. Perhaps this could be made clearer on your site somewhere, and I only spotted, because I forgot to look for it, the instructions for the calender till after I'd figured it out.

I do however think calenders are very valid for guys and myself have been toying with something these past couple of weeks. Mine just looks like a weekly daily availability thing, but I only update it weekly not daily. Least tho they can look to see when and where I am and if I may be available that day... which does encourage the same day callers if you like them.

I know we like to help these men folk, but I'm as guilty as the next person for over thinking/complicating stuff, when men seem to like answers that are easily apparent to them, else they think 'Oy vey !'.

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What does :-

Thursday, 26 November

08:00 busy

16:00 busy

mean?

Arrrgh, I though my calendar was broken! :confused:

It means that I have more than one thing planned that day, so you need to click on both of them to see the details, as the end of the first may not join the start of the second and there may be bookable time between the 2 "events" (if that makes sense).

I'm new to the calendar and am still tweaking it as I think of new ways to confuse potential clients :o

I had a quick look at the calendar and think it would be better if you put in your availability rather than the 8am busy.. I would not know how long you are busy for at 8am? Are you busy to 9am or to 10am for example, so for me it was confusing.

So I think it would work better if you put, say, available 12-6pm on a day.

It can be a little confusing which is why I put the "how to use" guide above the calendar, which says "If you're in "month" view, click on "busy" on the day you're interested in and a box will come up with more info. If you click on "week" view it's clearer, and the busy times (when I'm unavailable) are shown as blue blocks."

The problem with Google calendar is that any additions show as "busy" (unless I deactivate the privacy settings, which I don't want) regardless of what I type. I could type "I'm available for incall bookings" under 1pm-6pm but anyone else would see "busy" for that time slot as I'd typed what the calendar sees as an "event".

Initially I just had a list of days and times I was available, but that was so complicated that I though a calendar would be the way to go. I suppose it's like anything else I've tried on my site; no matter how clear I think I've made it I'll never manage to get the correct message across to everyone who reads it :)

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Thanks Lilly, that's very helpful. I shall have a good think about whether to actually bother with the calendar, but I shall have to make it clear somewhere else that I'm often only available 3 days a week. The trouble is, with everything that I have organised, and the fact that routine arrangements change for the odd day or week before reverting to the routine, it's so complicated to actually write it on my website.

Then again, I doubt it would make any difference what I do to the site as so many men contact me without bothering to read it anyway :confused:

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Arrrgh, I though my calendar was broken! :confused:

It means that I have more than one thing planned that day, so you need to click on both of them to see the details, as the end of the first may not join the start of the second and there may be bookable time between the 2 "events" (if that makes sense).

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, from what I can gather you have produced a dual-purpose calendar, an aide memoire for yourself (presumably these details are seen if the privacy settings are de-activated) and an indication of availability for potential punters? If this is so, then with the best will in the world I think it fails to provide the punter with a simple indication of your availability, nothing wrong with combining information but I think that in this case the original intention (availability for booking) has been lost in translation.

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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, from what I can gather you have produced a dual-purpose calendar, an aide memoire for yourself (presumably these details are seen if the privacy settings are de-activated) and an indication of availability for potential punters? If this is so, then with the best will in the world I think it fails to provide the punter with a simple indication of your availability, nothing wrong with combining information but I think that in this case the original intention (availability for booking) has been lost in translation.

I have to agree here.

The calendar is easy to use. You have given your working times as 10am to 8pm, so clicking on "busy" tells a potential client what time is available before and after the "busy" time. But a potential client cannot tell whether you are busy working, or at Uni and therefore unavailable. If you are working during your stated busy time, then really you should show as being busy all day as you only see one client per day.

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Because my timetable can be a bit complicated I thought it would be easier for people if my availability was obvious on my site, so I put a Google calendar on it. Unfortunately it's causing problems though, mainly because some people can't figure out how to use it. So I put a "how to use the calendar" paragraph next to it and I'm still getting enquiries from people who are confused:(. It works OK for me (although if I load it in Firefox on my PC it gives all the details rather than just saying "busy" even though I've set the details to "private"!:confused:Maybe a geek can tell me why that might be and whether it shows to the outside world or just me) and I think it's fairly self explanatory how to go through the weeks and months. It looks fine to me in Internet Explorer 8.

So, what do you lot think of calendars on websites, and which do you think are, for want of a better phrase, "idiot proof"?

I do not think that calenders are a good idea because if I were an HMIT, reviewing a WGs accounts, I would ask for her calendar (if it's on google or elsewhere he/she can access it anyway). Even though all members of P'net are fine, upstanding members of society, if someone knows your address (a former regular), it may give too much info' away. P..pick up the phone and let the potential punter assess your phone manner (part of the fun, surely).

Jack

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