Zoho a Webware 100 Finalist

Zoho is getting recognized for their suite of productivity and commerce applications.

Zoho already has the following achievement under their belt – Zoho Office Suite Wins a “100 Best Products of 2007 Award” from PC World. Currently they are a finalist for Webware 100 best of Web 2.0 services. Zoho most recently made the news by stepping up with Sun to help out Zooomr that had been down for over a week.

This just goes to show that nice guys don’t always finish last.

Zoho has a suite of web-based applications that can be used on your desktop . Their consumer oriented products allow you access to a whole suite of productivity tools including an online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation creator. Using these products you have the ability to create and share content very easily.

I was introduced to Zoho when I reviewed Zoho Notebook. I have written some reviews and posted some bugs about their applications and I have been impressed by their sincere desire to want to improve.

I have dealt with two people from Zoho – Raju Vegesna an Evangelist at Zoho and Arvind (last name unknown). Both of these Zoho employees work hard to make the products better..

(Warning first time trying to use the more function to split this post)

(OK – you made it, the split post must have worked.)

I’ve dealt with these people as I filed bugs, and wrote posts on Zoho products mentioning the problems I encountered, and features I thought would be helpful. Both accepted constructive criticism very positively.

The Zoho online products I have used so far are as follows –

  • Zoho Notebook (beta) – Content manager and aggregator
  • Zoho Writer – Document creation tools
  • Zoho Sheet – Spreadsheet application
  • Zoho Show –  Presentation tool

I found the products to be very easy and intuitive to use. Typically using any alternate type of productivity program, especially a web-based one, a lot of features and functionality can be sacrificed. Sacrificing features and functionality is not the case with the Zoho products I have used. These products have great features you are familiar with in Desktop applications, and the functionality is very good. During my testing I did run into a few bugs using Zoho Notebook, but it was only 2 days into the beta. The issues that I had I can no longer produce now.

For the products I have used there haven’t been any installation component

I only have a few small minor issues with these applications.

  • Help – I would like help to be easier to access and labeled more clearly. The applications have some combination of Forums and FAQ, but when people want help, access to help should be clear.
  • Interface consistency in upper right hand corner – I am picking on small stuff, I would like to see more consistency of the interfaces between products. Now they are different applications so I expect the tool bars to be different – but the area above the tool bars is not consistent between applications. Looking at the screen shots you will see that the overall screen layout is the same, but the links in the upper right hand screen are different, and in different orders.

See screen shots for examples:

Zoho Writer

ZohoWriter-Interface

Zoho Sheet

ZohoSheet-Interface

Zoho Show

ZohoShow-Interface

Zoho Notebook (Beta)

ZohoNotebook-Interface

You will notice the general layout of the screen is similar, but the upper right hand corner is different. 

As diverse as Zoho’s product suite is, they have now taken another step forward and moving into a new space – with the Zoho Plug-In for MS Office. This plug-in allows users to now work offline on their documents, that they can then sink up when they are back online. I played with this functionality and it seemed to work pretty smoothly.

I am glad to see that Zoho is getting noticed for their hard work and community building.

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4 Responses to “Zoho a Webware 100 Finalist”

  1. Raju Vegesna Says:

    Thomas:

    Thanks again for the great post and thanks again for the time you are spending on Zoho. We really appreciate that.

    Regarding Help, we will make that available more prominently. Some products (like notebook) still needs some work on the documentation side which we are working on.

    We acknowledge the inconsistency in UI. Over the next few months you’ll see some consistency across all Zoho apps.

    Again, I’d like to thank you for your time on Zoho and also for actively participation in discussion in other blogs as well.

  2. Raju Vegesna Says:

    BTW, I forgot to mention….nice new layout on your blog :)

  3. Thomas Says:

    Raju – Always a pleasure to see you and your coworkers here.
    Your first post is indicative of my dealings with Zoho employees. I get the impression from your coworkers that you want to create a better product. I for one enjoy the attitude of the employees of Zoho.

    Thanks for the compliment on the new layout. It is still one of the default templates, I will customize more later, but now you can access other content, when viewing a single post. I do like being able to have the static content in the left pane, and the dynamic content in the right.


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