UpToUs – Connecting Parents. Simplifying Lives.

3 Awards.No Awards Remaining.

UpToUs - StartUp Featured on StartUpLift

UpToUs is a free social communication solution for PTA’s and parents to organize their kids’ classrooms and other extra-curricular activities.

Target Audience: Parents, Schools, PTA’s, Classrooms, Sports Teams, Scouts Troops
Website URL: https://www.uptous.com


Feedback sought:

  • When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?
  • What does UpToUs do?
  • Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?
  • Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents?
  • How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?
  • Please share any additional comment you may have.

About UpToUs:

UpToUs is a social communication solution for PTA’s and parents to organize their kids’ classrooms and other extra-curricular activities. UpToUs is currently used by tens of thousands of users. Try it at www.uptous.com or send us an email to [email protected] to request a demo.

UpToUs is free and easy to use. We provide multiple tools for free including group directory, group and individual email messaging, sign-up sheets for volunteers, shared calendar, photo sharing, file sharing and more.

UpToUs also supports school fund-raising through selling local products and coupon books. A portion of each purchase goes back to school. Our fund-raising solution is simple and require very minimal effort from the school’s PTA.

22 thoughts on “UpToUs – Connecting Parents. Simplifying Lives.

  1. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do? Actually, No. I could not tell if the site was selling a software program or an online service. The use of the word “group” only made things more confusing. It was not until I read the last testimonial that I figured out it was for scheduling teams or clubs and events.
    What does UpToUs do? It is online scheduling/messaging software for clubs, teams or groups. Offers many handy organizational features including fund raising.
    Please comment on various elements of the site.
    What do you like? I really like the overall concept. I coached t-ball, soccer and basketball for our local YMCA and my wife is involved in our local PTA. We did everything on paper, so of course from time to time people were missed and schedules collided. Unhappy parents are much harder to handle than unhappy children.
    What do you find bothersome? You have to do a lot of clicking to get detailed information. Maybe make some of the drop downs, could be rollovers.
    How does fundraising work on UpToUs?It looks like the only option is to purchase items from their online store with a portion of the profits going to your charity or fundraiser.
    Is the process straightforward? Fairly, takes a minute to figure out you only have one option.
    Clear and understandable? No, little or no detail of percentage given to charity or fundraiser, length of time, payout etc.
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? To a person who uses this type of software at work, it is very easy to understand the benefits. For those who have not, it will be uncomfortable at first to input the amount of data you need on the front end. I have seen many people give up on this type of software due to the required data input. The easier it is to get the needed data into the program the better.
    And kids? If mom ain’t happy, no one is happy. If used correctly this would lower stress levels for parents, in turn causing less stress for the children. I did not see any areas specifically for children.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs?
    Click the “Start a group” button on the home page. Fill out the My profile page, then follow the prompts.
    Is the process straightforward? Yes.
    Please share any additional comment you may have: I am a firm believer in scheduling software and organizational tools. I was always a Franklin planner guy, so this make sense to me. But, I also understand you need to input quality information or the planner doesn’t work. Without actually using the program, I could not tell how easy it is to input and maintain data. Maybe provide a short video showing how easy the program is to use.
    emac2011
     

  2. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do? Yes
    What does UpToUs do? UpToUs lets parents, teachers, and coaches connect and organize their kids’ groups and activities.
    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?  I comment at bottom under Actionable suggestions
    How does fundraising work on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? Clear and understandable?  I am assuming that fundraising is done when someone buys from your fundraising products online.  Since there is no explanation that I can find on your homepage, I am guessing.  I did find the 2 buttons to get to the fundraising page, but I don’t see any explanation.  Also, you choose to sell products that are only green.  That is ok, but it seems like there are two things going on here: 1) you are trying to create a safe network for parent, coaches, and teachers, and 2) trying to sell “green” products; while these are not conflicting things, you might be challenged when trying to sell these things because that is a challenge in itself.  Fundraisers I am accustomed to, sell:  pizza, candybars, coupon books, etc.  These are things most people consume and use.  You are trying to sell products that only people who want to “go green” use.  Not an easy task.
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? And kids?  Yes, parents can connect to other parents without the fear of a child molestor or stranger infiltrating the group.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? You click the blue button that says “Start a group”
    Please share any additional comment you may have..

    Actionable suggestions:
    1.  I like the colors used; no obvious glitches/errors on homepage
    2.  I think you need to add more “sellable” products to your Fundraiser items.  I would be curious to know how well the current product selection has sold to date.  Also, this online method of selling is very different from traditional way of getting a large quantity of an item (candybars, coupon booklets) and selling them to people for cash.  I would think you would get better results selling candybars/coupon booklets.
    3. I went to the “Public Pages” area to see what a group public page looks like.  Yet I see none.  Is this because your site is too new to have any?  I was hoping to see even a “placeholder” sample just for reference.
    4. I don’t see any visible explanation of how your fundraising works.  Would like to see an explanation of how the teams get the money (percentage)
    5. Your website looks professional and I honestly cannot find any other aesthetic complaints with the UI (and that doesn’t happen very often). 

    My biggest suggestion is to revisit the fundraising products/method and explain how it works in a place that users can find it easily.

  3. * When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?

    It did take me a while to figure out what UpToUs is all about.  This might be partly due to the fact that my child is a preschooler, and I don’t yet have a need for organizing activities.  I think your first header “UptoUs lets parents, teachers and coaches connect and organize their kids’ groups and activities.” covers a lot.  However, the second statement doesn’t really tell me more, other than it’s free and easy to use.  What is it?  Software?  An online tool to connect? Perhaps, instead you could try:

    “With UptToUs, an online calendar and organization tool specifically designed for kids activities, parents will find it easy to stay involved in their children’s lives.”

    Not the best sentence I’ve ever written- you’ll need your copywriter for that – but it’s definitely meatier in terms of what UpToUs actually does.  It might be clearer to new users if this were higher up on the page, or in the form of a bulleted list.  Perhaps, instead of the rotating generic pictures, you could have a cyclical illustration with these points.  I’m a visual person, so I made a quick sketch:

    https://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr347/jessicamfry/uptous.jpg

    I also think the “Why UpToUs” section does a good job of relating to the user what UTU (I’ll abbreviate from now on) does.  So I put that in the illustration above.

    * What does UpToUs do?

    From what I understand, it allows users to create groups for certain activities, then I assume everyone who accesses that group will have access to the schedule and be updated on any changes.

    * Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?

    Main Page:

    What’s most bothersome about the home page are the sections below the main heading.  The aren’t the same height, and therefore leave a lot of empty space.  It appears a little disorganized and a good home page should be very tight.  If you moved the “Why UTU” into the main heading, you’d have room to spread the testimonials over two columns.   Then you could make the Featured and Tech Support boxes horizontal.  Put the featured on top to take up about 70% of the vertical space and leave 30% for tech support.

    Signup Page:

    Whoa.  There are a lot of tabs here, some I would have expected to see on the home page for returning users.  Then, when I click on the tour tab, all the rest go away.  It would be less confusing to have more consistency in the navigation.

    Signup Form:

    Where has your site template gone?  It should remain the same throughout the signup process.  It’s also off-center and there’s a funny line to the left.

    Also, it asks me to create a new community once I’m in the system.  What if I’m here to join another community? There’s only an option to quit, not search for an existing community.

    Communities:

    It appears a different CMS is used to manage this section of the site.  That’s fine – and probably necessary – but I would love to see the template here match the template on the rest of the site.  I’m probably not familiar with the CMS for this section of the site, but I could get a template together in a matter of 3-4 days, especially since it will be mostly, if not all CSS and images.  I do like the tips listed here to help get the user started.  They were straightforward and easy to understand.  Also, is there a way to browse communities by city/region?  What if I don’t remember the name of my group?  When I tried the search, I got a “loading” image that wouldn’t go away for about 2 minutes.

    I do think the “My UpToUs” dashboard is a nice way to see upcoming events and new messages.

    *How to get started with your community <— links to info page with brief overview
    *Click here to create your community page
    *Change your community settings
    *Invite friends, parents, etc,
    *etc,

    Also, I would like to see the “To community” link read “Go to My Community”.


    * How does fundraising work on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? Clear and understandable?

    After being in the Communities section, I was unable to find a link back to the home page, where I thought fundraising info would be.  I glanced down, however and found it in the footer.  I would like to see this link higher up in the page and more visible.

    The fundraising part is probably the most confusing for me.  There is really no explanation of how it works, where the profits go, anything.  Can groups manage their stores?  Can users share the link to the store on Facebook to help fundraise for their group?  This area most of all needs some work.

    * Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? And kids?

    I think so, though again, look to my first comments on how to make this more clear to first-time visitors.

    * How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?

    Is it a group or a community?  Are there two different things?  It was easy to create a community, though I would like to see more “getting started” information displayed after it’s creation.  For example:

    * Please share any additional comment you may have.

    Overall, I like the service UTU provides, I just think it takes a little bit to get into it.  I think you could simplify the user interface quite a bit and definitely make it more streamlined.  Provide a video demo or FAQ on how to get started.  Explain how fundraising works. Provide a way to get back to the home page from within the community section.  Finally, I think integrating Facebook connect here would really be beneficial here, as a lot of parents already stay in contact through Facebook (doesn’t the whole world, nowadays?)

  4. For some reason, the link to my sketch was edited out, so I’ll try to post it again:

    i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr347/jessicamfry/uptous.jpg

  5. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?

    The first few seconds after the page to the site loaded, I immediately thought of “school.”  After I read a little, I formed the impression that the site was all about letting parents be a part of their child’s activities.  It’s a neat idea.

    What does UpToUs do?

    From everything the site tells me, it’s about letting parents connect with the people who are in charge of their child’s extracurricular activities along with connecting with other parents of children with similar activities.  It also tells me that the site is free, simple to use, and safe, which is what overworked parents like.

    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?

    In my opinion, the site is very well put together.  The “Take Our Tour” is an excellent idea; it’s almost as good as speaking to a real person.
    Is the “Request a Demo” different than the “Take Our Tour?” is what I immediately thought when I saw the two tabs so close together.  After clicking on “Request a Demo,” I couldn’t get back to the home page, nor could I navigate away from it.
    I think it would be better to put the Welcome, About Us, and the Shop & Talk link box up at the top so the visitor wouldn’t have to scroll down to see what else the site has to offer.  Some visitors might not even see that down there, get frustrated at the lack of options, and navigate away from the site.
    It’s always good to include a Testimonials section to see what other visitors/users think so that is good.  And the Featured Group gives the visitor an idea of what kind of group your site is talking about.

    How does fundraising work on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? Clear and understandable?

    This section is a little confusing, although a good idea.  After clicking on the “Can’t Find Your Organization” button, however, it does show me that I can add whatever organization I choose.  I suppose as more organizations are added, more will be listed in the drop down box; that’s what confused me.  So is the demo store what you use to add funds?  I’m not quite clear on this.

    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? And kids?

    From looking at the home page, the benefits to me are in the “Why UpToUs?” links.  In that case, I think it makes it clear enough what the benefits of using this service are.

    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?

    Some people might be a little skeptical to just join UpToUs without going through the ins-and-outs of it first.  At the sign up page, I would have liked to see something like, “Skeptical about joining? Be sure to visit our Request a Demo, or Take Our Tour first.”  Sometimes people just read the homepage and go to the join-up page.  The obvious links can be there, but it takes a special message like that to grab their attention.
    When I clicked the signup button, what I went to was like being transported to an entirely different site.  It threw me off balance for awhile there.  It would be better to leave the site template on this page, too.

    Please share any additional comment you may have.

    In this busy world, parents do need help in keeping tabs on their kids and who are interacting with them.  This is a good website for that.  In addition to what you already have, there are other places to link with like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

  6. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?

    At first, no not really. I know it has something to do with the community though. I had to read your description to be 100% sure of what you were doing.
    What does UpToUs do?

    This website allows people to organise their children’s activities by connecting with other people in charge.
    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?

    I like the layout and design, a noticeboard, it’s just perfect! I also like the colours and the slideshow included. The colours are not too aggresive nor passive, they are neutral which is good. The colour for your name “UpToUs” is coloruful, reflecting the colours of a primary school. The slideshow provides more animation and interest to the website.
    I also like the wording that you use, such as:
    “Request a Demo”, “Raise Fund for Your Group”, they are action words that tell me to take action and be involved. The verb “Request” makes me think that I’m in charge of everything and that I have the power, it makes me feel important. And the word “Your” makes me more connected to the overall website. It is as if I am part of it, thus it is specially good for parents to feel that they are being welcomed to participate.
    I also like the “Take Our Tour” and “Technical Support Forum” buttons, which are easily seen and readily available. Also the easy to find login area.
    Your name is catchy as well ! UpToUs is really well thought and a smart, it directly relates to the website which is very good. Good job ! I actually forgot for a moment that you were an open website, not a specific school’s website. I like the sort of smiley face underneath the “Up” too =)
    What I find bothersome is that I don’t really know the purpose until I read the somewhat long description. Try to use shorter senteces or even just words such as “Meet”, “Schedule”, “Connect”, “participate” ?
    I also don’t like the thumbnail underneath the “Take Our Tour” button, just remove it. It seems to be out of place. The different columns of “Why UpToUs?”, “Testimonials” and “Featured Group” do not have even height, it’s kind of off. It would be much better if they were the same height and provide a mechanism to read the longer one? Like a button “Show/Read more”.
    How does fundraising work on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? Clear and understandable?

    Yes it is straight forward and good instructions. Just choose an organisation and start shopping, everything else is automatic. Perfect!
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? And kids?

    From what the website does, I can say that it is beneficial for parents to monitor their kids’ activities, in a simple and easy manner. I believe it would not hurt to include the “Benefits” in the home page, so that it is evident for people.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?

    1. Click on Start Your Group
    2. Sign Up
    3. Fill in the fields
    4. Select your group from the radio button menus presented
     
    Please share any additional comment you may have.
    Wouldn’t it be better if we could select multiple groups? So, like a page with different labels to it? And thus it would be possible to mix the various groups into one page.
    From the sign up process, I would like to see an email verification sent to me, so that I know I did not mistype my email address, and so that I can just not activate it if I made an error or changed my mind. Add a “Delete account” link as well, people don’t like to be “trapped”.
    Other that those, I already commented on other elements of your websites in the questions above.

  7. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?
    Yes after reading the text box you have provided it is easy to understand what you do. You allow parents, teacher and coaches keep track of the kids events for free.
    What does UpToUs do?
    Your site allows for childrens events to be tracked allowing people to be more organized with their time.
    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?
    After answering the previous questions my first question is where is the about us tab. That is such a crucial element to any site. I scrolled down and saw that you had an area at the bottom but it really should be placed at the time. I think that it is okay to have an about us tab and a demo/video too. The about us tabs are generally shorter while a video can be more in depth. I certainly feel the enthusiam just looking at your homepage but I think that it is a little overcrowded. I really like the pictures that you have featured on the homepage. The pictures are warm and inviting and just look down right fun. The pictures you have make me feel that I need a site like yours so that I don’t miss out on those special moments. Nice touch! I also like the poster board in the background, it gives the feel of organization and notes. I think the tech support and featured groups should be moved into a tab structure. I think the space that you have alloted for login should be made smaller to make way to possible tabs. I think that if it was skinner/ longer that it would be fine. I really like your color choice. Their bold and but they work well together. I like that you incorporate the use of the color throughout the site.
    How does fundraising work on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? Clear and understandable?
    Yes it is clear. People pick the organization they want to support by buying some of the items that you have listed on your site. You really need to state how much proceeds goes the organization they are supporting.  No offense but for all we know you could be giving 1%.
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? And kids?
    I understood what you did after I took the tour. I like the tour but I would have liked something a little more interactive. I really had to take the time to read through all the information and look at the screen shots carefully. I see that you have a demo but I think having a interactive video would be much more helpful being that your website is capable of doing so much. It would be nice if you could insert a video similar to how power point works.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?
    I like that you have such a vast selection of cities to choose from but I unable to find my location on your list. I like that I can choose who sees my profile. I like the setup of the sight but the layout looks sort of boring compared to the rest of the pages. These pages features so much white space while the rest of the sites features: bold lines, rich colors, thick tabs and a cool back splash. It seems less tedious entering all the needed information if it more visually alluring. The step by step process doesn’t have to be so boring.
    Please share any additional comment you may have.
    Great site. Have you thought of linking it to mobile devices or allowing people to group call reminders. That would certainly take your site to another level.

  8. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks much for the feedback. Just wanted to let you know that UpToUs is being used by many day care centers. Typically parents introduce us to the day care ceneter director and we help them establish UpToUs groups.

    Best, 
    Yuval 

  9. Thanks everyone for the comments. We have not formally launched our fund-raising solution yet. Will happen soon and will include a page for each school. The page will offer local product and coupon sales. Schools will get about 5% of each transaction (less for Amazon store purchases).

  10. Thanks much for the feedback. Re the fund-raising, we haven’t formally launched it yet so it is indeed confusing.

  11. Thanks much for the feedback. As for Mobile, an iPhone application will be available in a few weeks.

  12. Thanks for the feedback. As for the public pages, thanks for the note. It is a bug – probably introduced in the last few days. We do not have many groups that create a public page but at least 20-30.

    Will be fixed soon.

    Yuval

  13. Thanks for the feedback. BTW: you can manage many groups in one page and also group hierarchies. This indeed not obvious when simply signing up.   

  14. No problem. I did not notice that you could create multiple groups on one page, it was really not obvious, maybe try to incorporate it into the sign up process? Instead of using radio buttons use the checklist button (The squares one that allow multiple selections).

  15. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?
    No, not really.  I had some basic idea but it was hard to determine exactly what I was going to get from the site at first.
    What does UpToUs do?
    This site is to help organize parents/coaches and such to better help their children and their activities.
     
    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome?
    I liked the over all feel for the site.  The colors were inviting as were the pictures.  It felt well put together and professional.  I did not like that I was not able to navigate the site well.  There was no clear way to learn what I want before I had to sign up.  Also once I signed up the only way to get back to the home page was to log out completely.  I wanted to view other areas of the site and was not able to while logged in.
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents?
    after reviewing the site, I do see the benefits to it.  With 7 children I could use the calendar to help manage their activities.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?
    The start up process seemed pretty straight forward, although there is a typo on that page.  “You are 5 minutes away from establishing YOU UpToUs private community…”  I believe it should be YOUR.  It would be nice to be able to search during sign up for other groups that I could have linked to in my area.  I did not notice the search tab at first on the home page.  Also while doing a search after signing up the search tool froze and I had to re-enter the site.
    Please share any additional comment you may have
    As stated above, I did not like that I could not get back to the home page or other pages once I was logged in.  I tried several times while logged in and it would not let me.  I do like the concept and think it is a good idea.  Would like to have a better way while signing up to search for other groups in my area to avoid possible duplicate groups.

  16. Thanks much for the feedback. Given your initial reviewm do you think you will try the website?

  17. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do?
    Yes, I get a clear idea of what the site offers.
     
    What does UpToUs do?
    It is a social network for parents, teachers and coaches to organize and manage kid’s and student’s activities. A place for parents, teachers and coaches to communicate with each other.
     
    Please comment on various elements of the site.
    What do you like?
    I think the overall look of the website is very clean and professional looking. Very descriptive and explanatory on the services provided and well as who your target audience is.


    What do you find bothersome?
    When clicking on the Start Your Group link from the mainpage -  there are link tabs along the top(Home, Find Your Group, Start Your Group, Request a Demo, Tour) and there are the same links directly to the right of the other links, they are the same links as the tabs listed at the top, with the exception of Raise Funds for your Group. I think maybe taking the excessive links on the right away and only having the Raise Funds link on that right area.
    The Take Our Tour image is not a very attractive image. It is showing some small unreadable text, that is not very relevant to the link. Either just use a button link or replace with a better image.

    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents?
    Yes, I think the website clearly delivers the message of the benefits to parents. The many features are clearly stated on the homepage allowing parents to easily see the ways using this site could help them to organize their kid’s many activities and schedules. The ability to communicate with other parents within the group is also something I think parents will really find beneficial.

    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward?
    Yes, the process of starting a group is straightforward. Although I think maybe having the Start your Group button go directly to the sign up page instead of having to make another click on the Join UpToUs button. Having the login information displayed is a little cumbersome since it is at the top of the website already. Anyone wanting to Start a Group is having to make an extra click before getting started.


    Please share any additional comment you may have.
    The Public Page is missing the Welcome, About Us, and Shop & Talk links that are at the bottom of every other page throughout the site.

    On the Start Your Group page – the text has a little typo: You are 5 minutes away from establishing you UpToUs private community. The you should be your.
     

  18. When you first visit the site, is it immediately clear what we do? Yes, the Start Your Group button is right there front and center!
    What does UpToUs do? It’s a website that helps parents, coaches and kids connect their groups.
    Please comment on various elements of the site. What do you like? What do you find bothersome? I really like the idea behind the website. It’s often very difficult to keep everyone up to date when you have a lot of kids in a group. It seems like someone always ends up out of the loop. I like the tour feature because it makes navigating the site so much easier when you know what’s available before you sign up. The fundraiser feature is also a big plus!! I didn’t care for the layout of the site or the design. It was a little boring and old style. A cleaner layout might be helpful.
    Is it clear what kind of benefits UpToUs provides to parents? Yes, especially with the tour feature. I’m fairly certain any parent who does the tour will sign up and use the site.
    How do you start a group on UpToUs? Is the process straightforward? It’s very clear.
    Please share any additional comment you may have. Great website! I love all the features and the idea behind it!

Comments are closed.