Cozi Family Organizer review
Running a family requires the logistical prowess of a just in time manufacturing operation[/perfectpullquote]Football practice, birthday parties, homework projects, random stuff that kids need to bring to class. Running a family requires the logistical prowess of a just in time manufacturing operation. But there are some apps on hand that can help. In this Cozi Family Organizer review we will cover an app that may help alleviate the logistical nightmare of family event and activity organisation.
• Overwhelming advertising
for free version
• Inadequate support
• Calendar update notifications
require paid version
Cozi Family Organizer Review Introduction
In principle, it is a great idea to have a family organizer to take care of all the family related stuff. Which kid has classes when, who has to bring some household item to school, homework activities and a myriad of other stuff requires some degree of organization. My hat off to all the hard working parents who manage this on a daily basis. There are a few software vendors who have recognized this, among them Cozi. Cozi is one of the leading vendors of such software to allow multiple family members to share information such as Calendars, Todo lists, shopping lists, memorable moments and so on. All sounds good. Let’s see how Cozi has gone about providing families with such a solution in this Cozi Family Organizer review.
Cozi Family Organizer user interface
The Cozi Family Organizer is composed of five main screens which deal with the main topics to be shared. These are,
- Home. A home screen to give a quick overview of the upcoming events and todo list items.
- Calendar. List all the family events in the Calendar. The free version of Cozi Family Organizer only provides a week view. Subscribing enables a monthly view.
- Lists. This can be shopping lists, personal or family todo list items.
- Recipes. Mmm, not sure why this finds a place on a family organizer, unless your kids are budding chefs. Nevertheless, this page provides a portal whereby you can save the URL for recipes you find online.
- Family. On this page you can change settings and also access the Journal. The journal allows you to log text and photos, which I think is a great idea. I think the Journal should be front and centre though and not hidden away in this family section.
Let’s get a few screenshots so you can see what to expect. Below is the Home and Todo list screens. In all cases the functions of adding new events or todo list items is pretty easy so all members of the family should have no problem mastering this.
In general I found the user interface easy to use and intuitive.
Cozi Family Organizer home screen
The Cozi Family Organizer Todo list page
Cozi Family Organizer Features and Functions
I will align this Features and Functions section with the main sections available in the Cozi Family Organizer – Calendar, Lists, Recipes and Family.
Home Screen Functionality
In principle, the home screen is supposed to give you an overview of the tasks to be done, events that are coming up and so on. It also is possible to add new items in directly from the home screen.
The reality of using the Cozi Family Organizer, in particular the free version, can be somewhat different. I was doing this review on the Free version of the Cozi Family Organizer and what I found was that the majority of the home screen was taken up with advertising.
the majority of the home screen was taken up with advertising
I fully understand the need for developers to make a living but this was simply overkill. For any potential users of Cozi Family Organizer, expect copious advertising to the extent of being forced into the subscription model. And, that brings additional woes as you will find out in the pricing section. I guess developers and businesses are keen to push people towards their subscription model as, if they have a subscription management software from somewhere like FastSpring in place, it is a simple and profitable model for them to use.
The calendar is a pretty straightforward affair. The next few days are listed with any associated events. New events can be added directly from this screen using the little plus icon.
Cozi Family Organizer Calendar Page
When you add the little plus icon a new dialog window will open where you can enter dates and times for the event along with the family members associated with that event. Those members will get a notification of the event, if that is, the account is a paid up Cozi Gold subscriber account.
New event dialog window
What troubles me about the notifications to family members is that in the case of any change to the event, non-paying users will not be notified. At least this is my interpretation of this Cozi Blog post on the Calendar change notifications where notifications for changes seem only to be for the paid accounts. If this interpretation is correct, it could mean some disruption to families where a member has changed the even details and the other family members are not notified. I hope Cozi can correct me if I am wrong.
One omission I have noted for both the Calendar and todo list sections is the inability to attach files, particularly images. Frequently I get notices from my Childs school that accompany events that I would like to pin to that event. At the moment I handle this effectively with Google Keep, but the option is simply not available with Cozi Family Organizer. So, unfortunately this supplementary information cannot be readily stored with the todo list item or Calendar entry.
This page gives a one stop shop for all your lists. You can add whatever lists you need to keep track of. New items are quickly and easily added using the little plus icon. One problem I noted early in my review was that the App was crashing when used offline. Unfortunately I could not replicate this later so I will give the benefit of the doubt in this case.
As mentioned earlier, I am doubtful of how useful a recipe section is to all family members. Anyway, in this section you can record all your favorite recipes and share them with all your loved ones. Certainly one way to share the family secret recipe!
Family Page Features
The family section provides a journal where you can record historical family moments for posterity either as text entries or as a photo. Contacts and birthdays can also be recorded here, but only for subscribers. The Cozi Family Organizer settings also reside in this section. Here you can add family members, configure calendars and agenda emails and change the theme among other things.
Cozi Family Organizer Pricing
Cozi Family Organizer offers two versions, one free and the other, paid. If you do not yet have a Cozi account and would like to know how much it costs, then I wish you good luck on your expedition to find it out. The pricing for Cozi Gold appears rather opaque. Let me give some idea of the trials and tribulations I went through in finding out the price. First stop, the Cozi web site. I browsed through the site to find the price of Cozi Gold and all I could find was the features offered in the Gold version compared to the free version, see below. Unfortunately, the price was nowhere to be found.
Cozi Gold vs. Cozi feature comparison
Perhaps I could check the Cozi Gold advertisement on YouTube, direct on the Cozi channel. The price mentioned is “a few grapes per month”. I am still none the wiser.
Then I tried the iTunes store where I was greeted with four different prices, see below. There are three different prices for “Cozi Gold subscription”.
Cozi Gold iTunes Pricing
My next port of call was my good buddy, Google. Surely Google knows what Cozi Gold costs I thought. But no, even Google was a little unsure. This article from only September of last year reports it as $19.99, but previously it was $50 per year.
But a little further down, another review, two months later reports it at $29.99.
Finally, after creating an account and checking within the app, it finally reports a price of £22.99. So, in my particular case, at this moment in time, I can say it costs £22.99 for British readers. I have no idea what it costs for American readers or any other geographic location.
I have to admit to being disturbed by the opaqueness of the pricing. It certainly did not inspire confidence in Cozi. What I would like, and I assume most people would like, is a clearly displayed pricing that does not change with the weather conditions. What will Cozi customers be paying next year? I have no idea.
Cozi support indicates that a response should be provided in 1-3 days for a response. Subscribers receive priority support but it is not clear how fast that is. In my case, my request for information has gone unanswered. It is has been about a week since my email to Cozi. Their support for their product seems rather slow in comparison to many other software vendors that I have had contact with.
Cozi Family Organizer Review Summary
Let me start the Cozi Family Organizer review summary with the positive elements. First, I would agree there is a market for such products. No doubt there are many busy families out there who would like to be able to seamlessly track events, stuff to be done and share precious moments. Cozi Family Organizer ticks those boxes to a great extent. You have a shared Calendar and a shared to-do list that all family members can access.
Now to the less flattering aspects of the Cozi offering. I find that the problems do not primarily lie with the software in itself, but rather the approach of the company in delivering it.
- The application of advertisements on the free version is overwhelming.
- Free users do not get any notifications of Calendar changes. I don’t imagine people continuously check an appointment for any changes so this would mean free users are left in the dark if any family member updates the event by changing dates or times for example.
- The pricing for those without accounts is opaque. There is no indication on the website for what potential users must pay for the subscription. This is a rare approach that I have not seen elsewhere. It also seems rather variable based on what I have seen from previous reviews, listed above.
- Inadequate support.
In the end, after sampling the free version in this Cozi Family Organizer review I find myself disillusioned with Cozi Family Organizer due to the reasons I have listed above. I would neither upgrade to remove the overwhelming advertising nor recommend it.