Getting Cozi (Review): Organizing A Growing Family, Digitally

I am fortunate enough to have young kids, ages 4 (Luke, soon to be 5 by the end of April), 3 (Caleb), and 5 months (Hannah… or “Babes” as Luke calls her). I love my growing family! And the larger my family grows, the busier I seem to get.

It’s become clear to me that as busy as I think I am right now with family activities, I’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg. My oldest is in pre-school 3 times a week, karate 2 times a week, and starts all-day Kindergarten in the Fall (and I’ve heard a rumor about soccer in the Fall, too). Caleb starts pre-school next year, and Hannah will be right on his heels.

I reflected on this growing challenge one Saturday morning with my wife, Tara. She suggested we find some way to organize a family calendar, digitally. Enter, Cozi (http://www.cozi.com/).

Cozi organizes your family life into 4 sections:

  • Calendar
  • To Do Lists
  • Shopping
  • Journal

Family Calendar Feature
The calendar is easily the best thing about Cozi. You can assign each person in your family a color code, then build out the calendar as you would in Outlook or Google Calendar, only with events color coded for who is involved. Recurrence is setup (just like Outlook), making it easy to populate your calendar quickly and thoroughly.

There is a single, linear view for the calendar (scroll up and down), which honestly makes it easy to navigate, even though it has no view or navigation variety. It is also easy to organize the calendar by individual.

Family To Do Lists Feature
It’s easy to organize several To Do lists for each individual setup in the calendar. For example, when my wife and I visit her parents each Sunday I have a checklist I can go by to make sure I don’t forget to bring anything important. You can also have shared To Do lists, and lists for individuals.

Family Shopping List Feature
This works exactly the same as the To Do list feature, complete with the ability to email a list to anyone.

Family Journal Feature
The idea of this feature is nice, but it’s not something I use much. Without the ability to socially share the funny story Caleb told, or the fact that Luke just broke a board at karate, or the cute picture of Hannah, it’s a bit cumbersome and unnecessary.

Best Feature
Organizing the calendar by individual makes it easy to see who is busy and who can help!

Biggest Bummer
Push notifications are not yet setup. I use the app on my iPhone 100% of the time. Preferably, I’d like to receive calendar notifications like I do from iCal, with just a couple of the important notes about the event pushed through as a reminder.

The app does allow for email and text message notifications, but the convenience of receiving push notifications is a big miss.

Overall Score: 8/10

Bottom Line on Cozi
The developers have correctly identified 4 primary areas of a family’s life that are in need of organization and coordination. But more features can be added to make Cozi even better. For example, the Shopping Lists can be evolved on the model of Grocery IQ, while the Journal could allow for social sharing (or allow you to toggle that feature off, depending on your family’s feelings about privacy on the web).

If you have a hectic family schedule, Cozi can help organize it for you. It’s easy enough for the entire family to use and free of charge, but not yet feature rich. Let’s cross our fingers in hopes the developers will ramp up soon!

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