Building an Internal Meeting Scheduler ToolFebruary 18, 2019
What is the beauty of an internal tool?
“There’s an app for that.”
In today’s technological age, there is almost always a tool or application already created that performs a basic task you think will solve a problem you are having. However, these seldom accomplish everything you want and sometimes create more problems that in turn need to be addressed. Every company, employee, and person has different goals and tasks that are required of them. Therefore there rarely seems to be a packaged product that solves it all… unless you create it yourself.
That is the beauty of an internal tool.
Once your company has the skills to use certain technologies to build, or can partner with an outside company that can use certain technologies to build, functional and beautiful applications, the sky is the limit for improving your efficiency or solving your problems. By performing research within your own company, you can tailor any product or idea to satisfy specific needs of the employees and company itself. You can combine all the desired aspects of other products into one grandiose, personalized, complete, solution.
What internal tool did we develop?
Over the past year, LLT had many discussions on what platform to use as a calendar or meeting scheduling tool. We found many different platforms that accomplished a variety of things, but never one that could handle it all. Some were not visually pleasing. Some were too costly. Some only worked as calendars. Some weren’t compatible with other platforms we already used.
Were we to pick one out of a hat and give up on some features we desired?
Of course not. We knew with the skills of our talented design and development teams we could put together a product we would all enjoy. So we did some research, asked around the office, surveyed the different aspects of those other possible solutions, found out what we desired most as an entity, and began creation of the LLT Meeting Assistant.
What did our process look like?
- Gathered thoughts and generated an idea
- Created wireframes to lay out the features
- Created a basic prototype to display the user experience and flow
- Handed wireframes and prototype over to our design team to transform them into a beautifully designed web application
- Handed designed files back over to our development team to develop a functioning product
- Tested and gathered more feedback from within
- Re-developed and created versions 2+
- Delivered final product
What technologies did we end up using?
Our Meeting Assistant was developed in Ruby on Rails. We decided upon this language because the user interface did not require the complications of adding a separate front end language and the features we included aligned well with the abilities of Ruby on Rails. The main vendor package used in our product was FullCalendar. FullCalendar has the ability to customize the display of a calendar (day, week, month view) and the events being displayed on said calendar. FullCalendar proved an essential part of our meeting assistant tool.
Our “Final” Product
The LLT Meeting Assistant itself is simple to use and integrate into our existing processes. It consists of a meeting view used to set up a meeting with all the meeting details, an invite view to accept or decline meeting invites, a dashboard view to see your scheduled meetings, and a sidebar view that shows recent activity. We have an email system set up to alert employees when they have been invited to a meeting or been responded to for a meeting. One of the invite views shows you as the scheduler when all invitees have responded to your meeting so you can officially schedule it. The tool is mobile friendly and has complete functionality to be used on the go, providing a portable, personal solution.
A couple of screenshots:
Main Calendar View: Showcases all the events / meetings scheduled and pending items (on the right sidebar). Easy to use and navigate through.
Pending Invite View: Lists all pending invites that are awaiting your response to an event.
Outbound Invite View: Lists all the invites you have sent out and allows you to see if everyone has responded (and you can book the meeting) or if you are still waiting on certain individuals.