It’s a series of concentric circles and looks a bit like a broken bull’s-eye. Circa, a free iOS app, is the clearest answer to “who can I call in what time zone?” I’ve ever seen.
The app was designed by Carbon12–an Austin design agency that 17-year Frog veteran Collin Cole recently founded–and Seattle’s Labs108. It was born from Carbon12’s frustrations collaborating with colleagues in India, Ukraine, and Singapore. It takes Herculean effort to figure out when everyone’s available for a meeting–a problem that businesses of all sizes have now that telecommuting has become as common as two-martini lunches used to be.
Circa addresses the problem through an ingeniously simple interface. It’s a 24-hour ring. The outside shows your location. The inside shows any other locations from around the world that you choose. The brightly colored bars you see are regular office hours. When the color bars line up, you can actually have a meeting.
When you put your thumb to the screen, you can move the dial to any specific time and see how that impacts the availability of colleagues in other time zones. And then, with the tap of a button, you can set your meeting time. (It’ll sync with iCal, GCal–whatever native calendar app you’re using on your phone.)
On the Apple Watch, Circa simplified the interface to a basic list you can tap into to reveal whether you’re on time, too early, or too late to a meeting today. For design nerds, it’s amusing to compare Circa with Onetime, another excellent global time-telling app by LUNAR’s John Edson (which was inspired by a sun dial). No doubt, these two apps are a tease of all the new experimental ways we’ll tell time with the Apple Watch.