Minutes.io Makes Meeting Notes Easy

When I was in college (4 years ago, for those of us keeping count), I had the pleasure of being the Student Government’s first ever Director of Technology, cementing myself as the school’s top geek (at least top social geek). We’d have bi-weekly meetings to discuss pending bills, campus updates, and more. After each meeting, the secretary would type up her hand written minutes, email them to everyone on Student Government, and have me upload a copy to the website. While it was a cumbersome process, I didn’t really explore a better way to do things. After using minutes.io, I now know there is a now considerably better way to take meeting notes.

minutes.io is a very simple (and beautifully designed) way to to keep meeting notes. It doesn’t require a login and its got a lot of great features packed into such a focused app. Let’s take a closer look.

minutes.io homepage

Getting Started

Getting started with minutes.io couldn’t be simpler. Just press the “Click here to get started” button and you’re brought to a screen that allows you to take minutes.

Take Minutes Screen

Once you get to this screen you should notice a few pieces of information at the top of the page, all of which are editable. You can edit the project and meeting names, the date, and the location. Over on the right, the minutes are branded with minutes.io’s logo; this is a small price to pay for such a great free service.

Reusing project names will auto-fill in the attendee info. Very nice touch!

Before we start adding minute notes, I want to point out the keyboard shortcuts that make it easy, as minutes.io says, to take notes now not later. Using Command on Mac and Ctrl on PC, you can use a set of shortcuts to quickly add, delete, duplicate, and traverse through your minutes.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Plus, just like with any web form, you can use Tab and Shift+Tab to go through the form fields.

Creating Minutes

There are two fields for email addresses at the top of the minutes page. The first is for the note taker and the next is for attendees. Minutes.IO nicely converts your input into properly formatted contacts, just make sure that you comma separate names/email addresses. Here’s an example:

Works: Joe Casabona [email protected], [email protected]

Doesn’t Work: Joe Casabona [email protected] [email protected]

minutes.io will also automatically assign initials to each attendee, which come in handy later.

When adding a new line to the minutes, there are several descriptors you can add. From left to right: Topic, Type, Note, Owner, Date [due]. There are 4 different types of minutes: TODO, OKAY, INFO, IDEA. It seems that (aside from color) there is no discernible functionality change in type; these types are strictly for clerical purposes.

When you assign an owner, minutes.io pulls a list of initials from the attendees list, which I thought was a nice touch!

When you’re done taking minutes you can either press the check mark to save and send, or the X to save it as a draft. Let’s take a look at saving and sending first.

Saving and Sending Minutes

Once you complete your minutes, there are two areas you can go to. The first is a copy of the minutes that you cannot edit. This screen has been branded with a “filed” stamp.

Filed Minutes

From here you can edit the minutes, print out the minutes or email them to everyone that’s been marked as an attendee. Clicking on the envelop will take you to the send screen.

Email Minutes

From here you’ll be able to add recipients, change the subject and message text, and send either with your desktop email client or GMail. As someone who uses the browser version of GMail as his main email client, I thought this was a really nice touch.

Once you send it, each recipient will receive a link to view the minutes online. These cannot be edited.

Back at the minutes.io screen we can click on the home button to view all of our filed minutes, as well as drafts of minutes.

minutes.io Admin

Managing Your Minutes

As I mentioned before, while editing minutes, you can click on the X icon to save the minutes as a draft. From the admin, you’ll be able to click on “Drafts” and then reopen any of the minutes you haven’t filed to edit/add to them. You can also delete drafts and create a new minutes document.

Drafts

Since you don’t need to login to minutes.io to use it, there is the question of how it keeps track of your filed minutes and drafts. While they don’t explicitly say how, they mention the minutes are stored locally through your browser; this means you don’t even need an Internet connection to view drafts and filed minutes. They are likely using a new HTML5 feature which allows browsers to save data. This (for me at-least) is reinforced by the fact that IE is not yet supported.

I mention this because if you do clear your browser history you may lose your minutes. The share link will remain in-tact, but if you were planning on editing the minutes down the road, be wary of clearing your browser history/cache/cookies, your editable minutes could be deleted.

This show mostly be a non-issue, as meeting minutes are seldom edited once the meeting is over.

Upcoming Features

The people at minutes.io are hard at work on constantly improving their already nice web app. You can look to use these upcoming features some time in the near future:

  • Custom Summaries: You’ll get an email with all of your Todos grouped together, forming your own todo list from the minutes.
  • Project Management Integration: For those of us who like to keep all of our notes in one place.
  • White Labeling: They are working on a business edition where you’ll be able to apply your own logo/branding to the minutes!

Conclusion

minutes.io is clean, very easy to use, and beautifully designed. I love how simple it is to create, send, and save minutes. It’s a simple app that solves one problem elegantly, and works great on all computers, including the iPad. That’s so refreshing to see. My only gripe is I would like to see a better explanation as to how minutes are saved so that users don’t have to worry about accidentally losing minutes they didn’t expect to lose.

So whether you need to write official business meeting minutes or just want to type out notes from a discussion and share them with others, minutes.io is a great option. Be sure to give it a try, and let us know what you think!


Summary

minute.io is a very simple and beautifully designed way to to keep meeting notes. It doesn't require a login and it has a lot of great features packed into such a focused app.

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