date pickers starting on Sunday

24 Jul 2009 - 11:32am
4 years ago
25 replies
516 reads
Diana Wynne
2008

Does anyone know where the convention of calendars and date pickers starting
the week on Sunday came from?

I have a strong personal preference for Monday for work-related tasks (and
have customized accordingly, whenever this is supported: iCal, Google
Calendar, Zimbra). But when I mentioned this to colleagues for a work week
tracker I'm designing, they pointed out that most components start the week
on Sunday. And in a quick round of research (travel sites plus a few
calendaring systems and widget libraries), that Sunday default turns out to
be far more of a standard than I expected.

Is this a good design pattern I just haven't come around to, or are
component defaults far more influential than even ux designers knew? Where
does the work week start on Sunday, besides Tel Aviv?

Or was someone simply trying to disambiguate between S (Sunday) and S
(Saturday) by separating them?

Persuade me, please.

Thanks!
Diana

Comments

24 Jul 2009 - 2:36pm
Erik Johnson
2009

Surprised no one's touched this yet. It's a Christian thing, where G-d rested on the 7th day (Saturday). This makes Sunday the 1st day of the week.

24 Jul 2009 - 4:02pm
Chad Mortensen
2007

This seems to be a pretty standard format for all calendars whether
they're on the web or not which is probably why it's become the
convention. Why try to reinvent something that's already second
nature to users. Do any cultures display their calendars with Monday
as the start?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080

24 Jul 2009 - 8:12pm
Corn Walker
2008

On Jul 24, 2009, at 10:02 AM, Chad Mortensen wrote:

> This seems to be a pretty standard format for all calendars whether
> they're on the web or not which is probably why it's become the
> convention. Why try to reinvent something that's already second
> nature to users. Do any cultures display their calendars with Monday
> as the start?

I seem to recall calendars in France starting on a Monday, Ireland as
well. Perhaps it's a European standard?

Cheers,
-corn

Corn Walker
Hatfield, MA

24 Jul 2009 - 12:55pm
Sarah Groff-Palermo
2009

I'm going say that it's because that is how paper calendars have
been set forever. Why that is, I can't say, but it is certainly
expected at this point.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Jul 2009 - 12:43pm
missu
2009

In some hospitals the work week starts on Sunday, as well as in
retail. I think they left the calender with the week starting on
Sunday to mimic the regular calendar most people use. The Only time I
have ever seen a calendar where Monday started the week and Sunday
ended it, was when I saw a Seventh day Adventist's calendar.

I guess it might have been the case of, if it is not broken, why fix
it. Majority of people are use to having Sunday start the week.
Changing Sunday to the end of the week, is more of a preference than
a need.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080

25 Jul 2009 - 6:00am
Gilles DEMARTY
2005

Hi all,

You should get a quick test with some of your expected users and see if they
perform the same with both calendars.

As for your questions, you should have a look at wikipedia :
Most european countries (that is, except UK) have their week starting on
monday.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven-day_week#Week_number
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven-day_week#Adoption_of_the_seven-day_week>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week

Other explaination are available here :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week-day_names#Weekdays_numbered_from_Monday

Most important thing is :"The
ISO<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Organization_for_Standardisation>
prescribes
Monday as the first day of the week with
ISO-8601<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601> for
software date formats."
So if you need an argument to push Monday as first day of the week. here it
is.

Hope this helps,

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week>Gilles

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Ulina <sparkleeye22-design at yahoo.com>wrote:

> In some hospitals the work week starts on Sunday, as well as in
> retail. I think they left the calender with the week starting on
> Sunday to mimic the regular calendar most people use. The Only time I
> have ever seen a calendar where Monday started the week and Sunday
> ended it, was when I saw a Seventh day Adventist's calendar.
>
> I guess it might have been the case of, if it is not broken, why fix
> it. Majority of people are use to having Sunday start the week.
> Changing Sunday to the end of the week, is more of a preference than
> a need.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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25 Jul 2009 - 7:10am
Pietro Desiato
2008

It could also be related to Catholicism: God created the Heavens and
the Earth and on the seventh day he rested. Which means that his week
started on Monday :-)

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Posted from ixda.org (via iPhone)
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080

25 Jul 2009 - 6:44am
Judy Philip
2009

A lot of businesses have their payroll calendar for the week start on
a Sunday as well which could be why that is the standard. Not sure
if that developed after applications were implemented into these
businesses or if the applications were designed like that following
their exisiting processes...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jul 2009 - 12:49pm
Jim Harrison
2009

Just a thought.

Maybe it's for religious reasons.
ie
Sunday is the most important day of the week because it's the day
you get to spend with God.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080

25 Jul 2009 - 7:44pm
Diana Wynne
2008

Thanks for all the responses. I checked in with my friend Brother Karekin
(aka the punk monk). We worked on several calendar software products
together, and he affirmed this is indeed Judeo-Christian influence in
origin.

>From a quick software survey, applications that are work focused (Outlook,
iCal, Zimbra, etc) all get around this by having a workweek view and a
Sunday-Monday preference. Basecamp provides subtle shading on its calendar
to focus your attention on M-F while still displaying S and S on either
side. But because websites (as opposed to apps) rarely have user
preferences, Sunday starts are tha much more common.

My question wasn't about fighting a standard, but why a standard that no
longer corresponds to secular life persists.

Diana

On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 3:49 AM, Jim Harrison <jvthree at msn.com> wrote:

> Just a thought.
>
> Maybe it's for religious reasons.
> ie
> Sunday is the most important day of the week because it's the day
> you get to spend with God.
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

27 Jul 2009 - 3:35am
Timesheet
2009

On the RepliconTimeSheet Software, that i use for time
tracking,project management, expense and client billing, a week can
start on any day as the i wish to.
isn't that flexible enough...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Jul 2009 - 1:36pm
ambroselittle
2008

On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 1:10 AM, <pietro.desiato at gmail.com> wrote:

> It could also be related to Catholicism: God created the Heavens and
> the Earth and on the seventh day he rested. Which means that his week
> started on Monday :-)
>

----

A point of clarification: The Jewish tradition came before the Catholic one,
and their day of rest is Saturday (Friday night to Sat night). So according
to their reckoning, what came to be known as Sunday was the first day of the
week--the day after the day of rest. Christians inherited this reckoning
since they came out of the Jewish faith.

Early Christians moved the weekly day of worship and, consequently, rest to
Sunday because it is the Lord's day--the day of Christ's Resurrection. From
what I can tell, though, Sunday continued to be considered the first day of
the week throughout Christendom (see, for example, the counting of feriae
from Sunday). Also, theologically speaking, the new covenant came with
Christ and his Resurrection is all about new life, so it would make sense
for the celebration of the Lord's day to initiate a new week.

It's worth noting, though, that the seven days and their names based on
astrological bodies predate Christianity and even after Christ are not
universally used. The calendar in use in the Roman Empire at the time
Christianity entered the scene was that introduced by Julius Caesar (the
Julian) in 45 BC, which was used in the West until the Gregorian reform in
AD 1582. The early Julian calendar didn't have the names we have today; I
can't even tell if they really considered the start of a week as anything
significant (seems more focused on month/mid-month for significance). Also,
I read something that suggested Saturday (based on how the hours were
counted in relation to the astral bodies) would be the logical first, if
any.

As for ISO, I can't quite figure out why they set the first day as Monday.
Maybe just so "weekend" would be literal, or maybe just to be iconoclastic,
or maybe something as banal as it making it easier to count the weeks or
something. I wouldn't put it past them. :)

What I am getting at is that to discuss "Monday" as a thing in itself, i.e.,
something significant as opposed to Sunday for starting a week, is
arbitrary; why not have "Thursday" be the first day? You'll answer perhaps
that Monday "starts" your work week, but maybe I have Tuesday and Wednesday
off (and work Thurs-Mon), so Thursday would be my start of week.

Any changing at this point would be arbitrary and probably parochial, so as
for why secular folks still (or should still) use it, my answer would be
that it's simply a matter of convention and familiarity for many, many
people in this world due to historical circumstances. And as you point out,
a lot of digital tools people use adopt (and ergo reinforce) this
convention.

You could certainly make the case for following the arbitrary definition
from ISO, but people don't generally bother to change w/o a good reason,
i.e., I think you'd be fighting an uphill battle. Not sure it'd be worth
it. After all, even ISO hasn't effected a general change in this reckoning.

-ambrose

6 Aug 2009 - 7:45am
usabilitymedic
2008

I think the point that is being made here is that it is not second
nature. Several folks chimed in that their understanding/convention
has always been Mon-Sun. And I add myself to that batch.

Anytime I've seen a calendar (on the web or printed) that starts on
Sun it has been jarring.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 24, 2009, at 2:02 PM, Chad Mortensen <chadmor at gmail.com> wrote:

> This seems to be a pretty standard format for all calendars

> whether
> they're on the web or not which is probably why it's become the
> convention. Why try to reinvent something that's already second
> nature to users. Do any cultures display their calendars with Monday
> as the start?
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

6 Aug 2009 - 8:31am
Rick Cecil
2004

I just checked my iPhone cal and it starts the wk on sun and ends in
sat. That feels more right to me than mon thru sun.

That said, see what YOUR users say. Disregard everyone's opinions
here--unless we are the user. And even then you'd be better off
observing our behavior rather than listening to what we say.

-r

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 6, 2009, at 7:45 AM, USABILITY MEDIC <medic at usabilitymedic.com>
wrote:

> I think the point that is being made here is that it is not second
> nature. Several folks chimed in that their understanding/convention
> has always been Mon-Sun. And I add myself to that batch.
>
> Anytime I've seen a calendar (on the web or printed) that starts on
> Sun it has been jarring.
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Jul 24, 2009, at 2:02 PM, Chad Mortensen <chadmor at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> This seems to be a pretty standard format for all calendars
>
>> whether
>> they're on the web or not which is probably why it's become the
>> convention. Why try to reinvent something that's already second
>> nature to users. Do any cultures display their calendars with Monday
>> as the start?
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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6 Aug 2009 - 8:55am
usabilitymedic
2008

I considered the Judeo-Christian influence as well but it doesn't make
sense.

If God rested on the seventh day, why did calendars get produced with
Sunday as the first day of the week?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 25, 2009, at 8:44 PM, Diana Wynne <diana at chestnutdrive.com>
wrote:

> Thanks for all the responses. I checked in with my friend Brother
> Karekin
> (aka the punk monk). We worked on several calendar software products
> together, and he affirmed this is indeed Judeo-Christian influence in
> origin.
>
>> From a quick software survey, applications that are work focused
>> (Outlook,
> iCal, Zimbra, etc) all get around this by having a workweek view and a
> Sunday-Monday preference. Basecamp provides subtle shading on its
> calendar
> to focus your attention on M-F while still displaying S and S on
> either
> side. But because websites (as opposed to apps) rarely have user
> preferences, Sunday starts are tha much more common.
>
> My question wasn't about fighting a standard, but why a standard
> that no
> longer corresponds to secular life persists.
>
> Diana
>
> On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 3:49 AM, Jim Harrison <jvthree at msn.com> wrote:
>
>> Just a thought.
>>
>> Maybe it's for religious reasons.
>> ie
>> Sunday is the most important day of the week because it's the day
>> you get to spend with God.
>>
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

6 Aug 2009 - 10:29am
kimbieler
2007

Interesting topic. Since I've been able to choose (thanks to
software-based calendars) I've always preferred to start my week on
a Monday. I'm a visual thinker, so in my mind, the week is a 5-day
chunk followed by a 2-day chunk.

I don't know how universal this is but I find it far easier to grasp
immediately what my month looks like if the calendar has Saturday &
Sunday next to each other.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080

7 Aug 2009 - 3:37am
djlittle
2009

I'd agree with the last comment -- it makes sense for Sat and Sun to be
placed together on a calendar -- these being, for me (and many people who
work a standard working week) -- the weekend, and Monday to Friday being
"weekdays"; therefore two distinct units within the week.
Although I live in the UK and apparently our week starts on a Sunday, I
never realised this -- I've always assumed it started on a Monday (when the
working week starts).

2009/8/6 Kim Bieler <kimbieler at gmail.com>

> Interesting topic. Since I've been able to choose (thanks to
> software-based calendars) I've always preferred to start my week on
> a Monday. I'm a visual thinker, so in my mind, the week is a 5-day
> chunk followed by a 2-day chunk.
>
> I don't know how universal this is but I find it far easier to grasp
> immediately what my month looks like if the calendar has Saturday &
> Sunday next to each other.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44080
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

7 Aug 2009 - 6:37am
Mark FelcanSmith
2003

In most countries outside of the US, Sunday is placed at the beginning of the week, and ends with Saturday.

I personally would suggest placing Sunday first, as I believe this is standard. But if you have room for flexibility and the calendar is staff specific, then you'd of course proceed how you see fit.

I believe in Apple's iCal, you can choose what day you want the week to start with. This is useful, as different people (according to where they're from) will likely proceed with Sunday being first...or Monday (for many American users).

6 Aug 2009 - 8:58am
arjuna
2009

If your app is intended for European users, please use Monday as
starting day. The Sunday - Saturday week is so annoying if you
aren't used to it, believe me :)

arjuna

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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7 Aug 2009 - 11:12am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 6 Aug 2009, at 06:58, Arjuna Del Toso wrote:

> If your app is intended for European users, please use Monday as
> starting day. The Sunday - Saturday week is so annoying if you
> aren't used to it, believe me :)

Depends where in Europe :-) The UK uses Sun-Sat for example.

Cheers,

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

7 Aug 2009 - 1:01pm
Christian Crumlish
2006

anyone care to summarize this thread and add it to some kind of ixd
knowledge base or faq?
even a summary: "sun vs. mon, sabbath, judeo-christian, varies by country,
jarring, defaults, etc." *in* this thread is something I could then link to
from the Calendar Picker pattern in the Yahoo! library (
http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/pattern.php?pattern=calendar)...

-xian-

On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 9:12 AM, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com>wrote:

>
> On 6 Aug 2009, at 06:58, Arjuna Del Toso wrote:
>
> If your app is intended for European users, please use Monday as
>> starting day. The Sunday - Saturday week is so annoying if you
>> aren't used to it, believe me :)
>>
>
> Depends where in Europe :-) The UK uses Sun-Sat for example.
>

(else the risk is an recurrent revolving thread)

--
Christian Crumlish
I'm writing a book so please forgive any lag
http://designingsocialinterfaces.com

7 Aug 2009 - 11:19am
Anonymous

For me the deciding factor has always been the project/audience it was
for.

If it was a business-related calendar, who's week mainly consists of M-
F, I like it to be M-F, SS (or SS, M-F, but I prefer the first)
but, if it's a general personal calendar, I prefer Sun-Sat.

Brandon E. B. Ward
UI • UX • Ix Design
Flex • Flash Development
http://www.uxd.me
brandonebward at gmail.com

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance
accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders,
give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new
problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight
efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein

10 Aug 2009 - 6:42am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

Think of it this way: if you give me the presentation I'm familiar with,
I'll give you your data that much faster. You say that the week starts on
Sunday; I am equally adamant about it starting on a Monday, and nothing
anyone says will make any of us change our minds.

Therefore, you should support international formats (day, date, time,
address, currency, week start) and set these automatically using IP
addresses and make it easy for people to change these manually, for the
Englishman using a French website, etc.

More generally, any application or service that makes use of days, dates,
time, currency or address should accommodate local formatting variations.

BTW: I've found that the best way to format addresses is to ask people to
select their country first, and then present an address form that matches
their local format. This increases completion rates. Why? Because it lets
you fill in your address the way you're used to, rather than trying to
figure out how to reformat it to suit the form you're facing.

10 Aug 2009 - 9:43am
Diana Wynne
2008

Frederik, that assumes it's a matter of localization. But the workweek
doesn't begin on Sundays in the UK or the US, even if most calendars
are apparently printed that way.

Preferences are a helpful feature, but they don't generally apply on websites.

Diana

On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 4:42 AM, Fredrik
Matheson<fredrik.matheson at gmail.com> wrote:
> Think of it this way: if you give me the presentation I'm familiar with,
> I'll give you your data that much faster. You say that the week starts on
> Sunday; I am equally adamant about it starting on a Monday, and nothing
> anyone says will make any of us change our minds.
>
> Therefore, you should support international formats (day, date, time,
> address, currency, week start) and set these automatically using IP
> addresses and make it easy for people to change these manually, for the
> Englishman using a French website, etc.
>
> More generally, any application or service that makes use of days, dates,
> time, currency or address should accommodate local formatting variations.
>
> BTW: I've found that the best way to format addresses is to ask people to
> select their country first, and then present an address form that matches
> their local format. This increases completion rates. Why? Because it lets
> you fill in your address the way you're used to, rather than trying to
> figure out how to reformat it to suit the form you're facing.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

14 Aug 2009 - 1:06am
cfmdesigns
2004

On Aug 6, 2009, at 6:55 AM, USABILITY MEDIC wrote:

> I considered the Judeo-Christian influence as well but it doesn't
> make sense.
>
> If God rested on the seventh day, why did calendars get produced
> with Sunday as the first day of the week?

Because putting Sunday at the start of the week puts God "first" in
all parts of your life, most likely.

-- Jim

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