Want to go to fewer meetings at work? By making group decision making faster, easier and more accountable, new app Zapproved may help you avoid hours of painful face to face drudgery or endless email loose ends and get back to work. Zapproved is a lightweight hosted decision making service, it's essentially like Evite for approval processes.

Freshly launched this week, the four person company has a little bit of usability work it could do on its product and the possibilities for additional user interfaces (Blackberry, IM, etc) are many - but the service already looks quite useful.

How it Works

Account holders create proposals, enter email addresses to send requests for approvals and manage open and closed proposals in an interface that looks like email itself. Recipients get HTML emails with simple buttons to click to say "approve," or "deny." It's quite simple.

The end result is faster, more accountable decision making. It's simple but it looks like it could be quite effective and it certainly addresses a major pain point.

The four person company is self funded and only offers free accounts right now. In time there are a number of options for enterprise subscriptions or premium features.

Future Possibilities

We'd love to be able to respond to requests for approval by IM. A mobile interface would certainly be good. There are no RSS feeds on the site right now, a fairly serious shortcoming that the company says will be resolved soon. We'd also like to see the admin page made a little cleaner and simpler.

Raven Zachery, open source industry analyst, told us he'd love to be able to forward ordinary email requests for approval to a Zapproved email account and have the sender receive an automatic invite to the Zapproved system.

The possibilities are nearly endless for this simple little system. Allowing people to interact with it in as many was as possible will lead to a higher degree of adoption. Company founder Monica Enand tells us an API is on the way as well, so interface and functionality options will be thrown open to the world's developers.

We can imagine analytics like "this member of your team tends to respond fastest" or "this person has been consistently holding up decisions." There's a whole lot that can be done when you take a data and relational database driven approach, as Zapproved calls itself, to a fundamental human problem.