design of date/time selection

22 Dec 2005 - 11:33am
8 years ago
8 replies
1439 reads
russwilson
2005

We have an application where we need to provide
an interface for selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis, etc.)
The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
end time and date.

We already have some interesting ideas, but if anyone has any
references or examples for inspiration (web sites, etc.)
it would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested in providing a very
simple, elegant, solution for business users. This function will be used
very often.

Thanks,
Russ

Comments

22 Dec 2005 - 11:57am
Peter Boersma
2003

Wilson, Russell said:
> The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
> end time and date.
>
> We already have some interesting ideas, but if anyone has any
> references or examples for inspiration (web sites, etc.)
> it would be greatly appreciated.

I like the way Mozilla Sunbird (calendar application) allows for partial
input of times, preselecting the (approximate) start time by clicking in the
right place on the day/week view, and moving appointments around in those
views.
Peter
--
* Peter Boersma | Consultant User Experience | User Intelligence
*** Vlaardingenlaan 9d | 1059 GL | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
***** p: +31-20-4084296 | m: +31-6-15072747 | f: +31-20-4084298
I mailto:boersma at userintelligence.com | http://www.peterboersma.com/blog

22 Dec 2005 - 1:08pm
Lyle Kantrovich
2005

On 12/22/05, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> We have an application where we need to provide
> an interface for selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis, etc.)
> The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
> end time and date.

Question/Consideration:

Do you really need to know start and end dates, or would relative time
frames work as well or better? (E.g. last seven days, last 30 days,
last calendar month, this calendar year, this fiscal year, etc.)

Generally people don't often need to report on "any" date to "any"
date, but there are natural reporting and analysis time periods that
people tend to report on. Think 80/20 rule...

Hope that helps.

Lyle

--------------------------
Lyle Kantrovich
Blog: Croc O' Lyle
http://crocolyle.blogspot.com

22 Dec 2005 - 4:49pm
russwilson
2005

Lyle - that is a very good point and has come
up in our discussions.

So far (pre-testing) we are considering offering
both (i.e. free form periods and canned periods such
as "last 30 days"). Our application has troubleshooting
fuctionality and therefore users will require specific date
interval selections.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lyle Kantrovich [mailto:lyle.kantrovich at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 1:09 PM
To: Wilson, Russell
Cc: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] design of date/time selection

On 12/22/05, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> We have an application where we need to provide an interface for
> selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis, etc.) The user will
> need to select a start time & date, and an end time and date.

Question/Consideration:

Do you really need to know start and end dates, or would relative time
frames work as well or better? (E.g. last seven days, last 30 days,
last calendar month, this calendar year, this fiscal year, etc.)

Generally people don't often need to report on "any" date to "any"
date, but there are natural reporting and analysis time periods that
people tend to report on. Think 80/20 rule...

Hope that helps.

Lyle

--------------------------
Lyle Kantrovich
Blog: Croc O' Lyle
http://crocolyle.blogspot.com

22 Dec 2005 - 8:24pm
stephan at wiss...
2005

Hi Wilson,

there are a number of caveats to consider.
a) is your audience local or international. In the later case any date
selection should use month names (you do the 4 digit years anyway)
b) Start-End dates are not part of "business language". Business language
is: today, this week, this quarter, this year, this financial year, this
year to date, this financial year to date... (also instead of "this" use
"last" or "next"). Eventually you could show the dates behind the
selection
c) Allow for "named" ranges (e.g. last 3 days) where users store relative
dates, so every time it is called it adjusts automatically

My 2c
:-) stw

discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com wrote on 23/12/2005
01:33:00:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>
> We have an application where we need to provide
> an interface for selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis, etc.)
> The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
> end time and date.
>
> We already have some interesting ideas, but if anyone has any
> references or examples for inspiration (web sites, etc.)
> it would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested in providing a very
> simple, elegant, solution for business users. This function will be used
> very often.
>
> Thanks,
> Russ
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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23 Dec 2005 - 4:34am
Baldo
2005

> I like the way Mozilla Sunbird (calendar application) allows for partial
> input of times, preselecting the (approximate) start time by clicking in the
> right place on the day/week view, and moving appointments around in those

I like the rememberthemilk ( http://www.rememberthemilk.com/ ) gestion
of times and dates..
Let's give a try..

I also suggest something like:
http://www.sanbaldo.com/enddate.gif

(10 minutes of work and 5 of thinking, so quite far from be perfect)

23 Dec 2005 - 10:24pm
stephan at wiss...
2005

Hi Juhen,

thx for taking the time to reply. You are right from your angle. Let me
rephrase: Start/End dates are not part of business reporting lingo when
time frames are involved Here we have a two step approach; first time
frames are defined and then used. A lot of timeframes are standard, some
are custom:
- monthly report (instead of 01/01/05 to 31/01/05 -- or 01/31/05 in the
US)
- quarterly results
- this weeks turnover
- campaign turnover (pulling the date from the advertising database)
etc.

You have to distinguish of dates observed and dates used in normal
language. We mostly substitute dates with other terms once the rules are
mapped out. Internally there are dates, however not in the language used.
E.g "Can you make it to the weekly briefing?" --- rather then "Can you
make it Monday 11am to the meeting". Of course that requires the
contextual knowledge that the briefing is every Monday 11am.
Where absolute dates typically a bad interface choice as sole selection
are periods. To make it clear: The dates your selection refers to should
be visible and changeable. Just try that in a lab: ask to print a report
with last quarters revenue. One test group gets two date boxes to select
the dates. The other a dropdown with terms like "This month" "Last month"
"This quarter" "Last Quarter" "Jan 2005" ..... "Custom date entry..."

The strategic cycle is a good example. You probably will observe, that
once the date is firmly established it will not be referred by the date
but by its name. Same holds true for "Financial/Fiscal year). So there is
a difference between naming a date and using a named date / named period

The same concept can be applied to time selection..... where it has to be
carefully crafted to the applications reality.
Some samples for "named time":
- lunch break
- over time
- night shift
- core time (for flexi hours)

e.g. overtime/core time could be a selection for a call center report
about call frequency. The big caveat here: named time is even more
contextual than named dates.

A really nice discussion!
My 2c
:-) stw

Juhan Sonin <juhan at mit.edu> wrote on 24/12/2005 10:20:36:

> Stephen,
>
> Start-end dates are KEY to business in idea and language. So when are
> starting on this project? When does it end? When do you plan on
> ending your meeting? When does your strategic cycle start?
>
> When will this email END? It started on Friday December 23, 2005,
> 9:17pm, EST and will end on Friday December 23, 2005, 9:19pm, EST.
>
> -Juhan
>
>
> >Start-End dates are not part of "business language".
> --
> Juhan Sonin
> http://www.mit.edu/~juhan

24 Dec 2005 - 10:07am
Peter Merholz
2004

For the development of Measure Map, a date range interface was
created using sliders and a way to zoom in and out based on months.
The Measure Map team has released this to the public for use in your
applications:

http://www.measuremap.com/developer/slider/

It utilizes Flash for a smooth interface experience.

--peter

On Dec 22, 2005, at 12:33 PM, Wilson, Russell wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> We have an application where we need to provide
> an interface for selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis,
> etc.)
> The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
> end time and date.
>
> We already have some interesting ideas, but if anyone has any
> references or examples for inspiration (web sites, etc.)
> it would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested in providing a very
> simple, elegant, solution for business users. This function will be
> used
> very often.
>
> Thanks,
> Russ
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

31 Dec 2005 - 4:54pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Here's a widget I put together a few years ago for direct selection of
custom date ranges. It was designed to supplement relative date
selections (last two weeks, year to date, etc) for running
administrative reports.

http://www.howardesign.com/exp/ajax/custom.html

At the time, we weren't incorporating time selections. But for a new
reporting application I'm working on, we're leaning toward optional
named time selections like the ones Stephan mentions.

// jeff

Jeff Howard
Interaction Designer
Smart Design SF

> We have an application where we need to provide
> an interface for selecting time periods (for reporting, analysis, etc.)
> The user will need to select a start time & date, and an
> end time and date.

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