Seating charts, believe it or not, have their own place in this world. From conference organizers to wedding planners, class teachers and party hosts, they’re used more than you would think. So why not a web-application that makes it easy, fun and seamless to create them? That’s precisely what SimpleSeating from privately-funded Arizona-based Foolish Software is. While SimpleSeating is launching in the near future, it’s currently in a closed-private beta – luckily, I was able to get an invite.
SimpleSeating works in three steps. Add an event, add the guests or attendees, and create the seating plan. You can also group the guests, say you have for example groups of “VIPs,” “Attendees,” and “Panelists,” and even supply a meal choice for each guest. When adding and managing guests, although it felt a lot like Flash it’s actually completely AJAX.
While there are some drag-and-drop features in the above step, the real fun comes when you’re making the seating plan. Again in an amazing AJAX workspace, you simply add one of the 14 different types of organized table-presets to your grid, you can do this as many times as you like — moving it as you please, drag the guest from the guests list on the right, and you have your seating chart with a few minutes.
Something disappointing I found was that there isn’t any way to export it out of SimpleSeating other than to print it. For something like this, I would at least expect to keep a PDF or Word document, or even a simple JPEG — although I guess you could do with a screenshot for now.
SimpleSeating is an interesting product that’s different to any other I’ve seen. They are taking a bold approach and appealing to a very niche audience. While they don’t have a current business model, I can see them having one in the future — this an audience that will spend money on a thing like this. Conclusion? I like it. Brian Benzinger from Solution Watch also has a detailed review here.