Question on appointment time selection for Web page

8 Apr 2006 - 9:07am
8 years ago
4 replies
717 reads
Paul Menard
2006

Greetings all,

Long time lurker, first time poster (please be gentle)

Working on a web development project that has started
some debate on the aspect of an appointment time entry
field start and end time. The client wants a basic form where
a user will enter information like the appointment name, date,
start time, end time and notes into web text entry fields.

In our opinion the fields for date and especially time should be
something that will provide control to allow consistent data entry.
Obvious selection for the date is a popup calendar. There seems
to be some internal opinions on the time selection vehicle.

The two leading opinions on the time entry are:

A drop-down list with a range of '06:00 am' through '10:00 pm'
with increments if 15 minutes.

or, a group of drop-downs. One the the hour, a second for the hour
increment, a third for the 'am' or 'pm' and yet a fourth for the time-
zone
EST-PST.

I sure this research has been discussed over and over. I can't seem to
find a good source. Opinions are welcome.

Paul

Comments

8 Apr 2006 - 11:19am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Apr 8, 2006, at 7:07 AM, Paul Menard wrote:

> A drop-down list with a range of '06:00 am' through '10:00 pm'
> with increments if 15 minutes.

Every hour you would have 4 entries. This is a 15 hour time period.
So you'd have a 60 entries in your drop-down. And if you add in time
zone, well, that adds another 3 hours and another 12 entries. So now
you have a 72 item drop down that spans 4 time zones, meaning each
item will look something like this: 9:00 am EST/8:00 am CST/7:00 am
MST/6:00 am PST. Which is impossible to scan.

Hicks-Hymen Law aside, your best bet is option B. Maybe make am/pm a
radio button (pm as a selected default since this has more hours
available in PM).

Other than Hicks-Hymen which might even disagree with me, I don't
have any hard research to back this up. But it seems to make sense.

Dan

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

8 Apr 2006 - 11:28am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Two alternative, visual suggestions.

1. http://finance.google.com/finance?cid=694653
Time selection at Google Finance site. The top scale would represent
working hours period (obviously there is no need for zoom window).

2. http://tinyurl.com/ovcre
Product rating at Amazon - scroll to the bottom of the page to "This
DVD and You" section to view example. Imagine time in 15 minutes
increments instead of stars. Select start point with mouseover, select
end of appointment with click. Re-select new time with the same
technique.
--
Oleh Kovalchuke

On 4/8/06, Paul Menard <paul at codehooligans.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Greetings all,
>
> Long time lurker, first time poster (please be gentle)
>
> Working on a web development project that has started
> some debate on the aspect of an appointment time entry
> field start and end time. The client wants a basic form where
> a user will enter information like the appointment name, date,
> start time, end time and notes into web text entry fields.
>
> In our opinion the fields for date and especially time should be
> something that will provide control to allow consistent data entry.
> Obvious selection for the date is a popup calendar. There seems
> to be some internal opinions on the time selection vehicle.
>
> The two leading opinions on the time entry are:
>
> A drop-down list with a range of '06:00 am' through '10:00 pm'
> with increments if 15 minutes.
>
> or, a group of drop-downs. One the the hour, a second for the hour
> increment, a third for the 'am' or 'pm' and yet a fourth for the time-
> zone
> EST-PST.
>
> I sure this research has been discussed over and over. I can't seem to
> find a good source. Opinions are welcome.
>
> Paul

8 Apr 2006 - 10:56pm
dmitryn
2004

> Hicks-Hymen Law aside, your best bet is option B. Maybe make am/pm a
> radio button (pm as a selected default since this has more hours
> available in PM).

I would actually suggest combining the AM and PM hours into a single
drop-down (15 entries is still a reasonable size). If the target
audience was global (although it sounds like in this case it is not),
this combination would make even more sense, as most people outside
North America have no concept of AM and PM. :)

Dmitry

--
Dmitry Nekrasovski
http://www.smallmultiples.com

9 Apr 2006 - 3:23pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Suggestion #2 simplified (hence time saved :) in all senses):

If most appointments are one hour long and start on the hour you could
provide a scale in one hour increments where one click would select
appointment time. Two hour appointment would result in two clicks. For
edge cases provide 15 min scale and "Show time in 15 minute
increments" button, which swaps the scale (if user preselected an hour
interval it is preserved and displayed as selected). All of it is
fairly simple to code.

As a result most users would select appointment in one click with few
selecting it in fewer than four clicks (for less than one hour
appointments) - about the same as drop-downs approach, which forces
_everyone_ to do at least 6 clicks (drug counts for click). Tremendous
savings of time for everyone concerned.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke

On 4/8/06, Oleh Kovalchuke <tangospring at gmail.com> wrote:
> Two alternative, visual suggestions.
>
> 1. http://finance.google.com/finance?cid=694653
> Time selection at Google Finance site. The top scale would represent
> working hours period (obviously there is no need for zoom window).
>
> 2. http://tinyurl.com/ovcre
> Product rating at Amazon - scroll to the bottom of the page to "This
> DVD and You" section to view example. Imagine time in 15 minutes
> increments instead of stars. Select start point with mouseover, select
> end of appointment with click. Re-select new time with the same
> technique.
> --
> Oleh Kovalchuke
>
>
>
>
> On 4/8/06, Paul Menard <paul at codehooligans.com> wrote:
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
> >
> > Greetings all,
> >
> > Long time lurker, first time poster (please be gentle)
> >
> > Working on a web development project that has started
> > some debate on the aspect of an appointment time entry
> > field start and end time. The client wants a basic form where
> > a user will enter information like the appointment name, date,
> > start time, end time and notes into web text entry fields.
> >
> > In our opinion the fields for date and especially time should be
> > something that will provide control to allow consistent data entry.
> > Obvious selection for the date is a popup calendar. There seems
> > to be some internal opinions on the time selection vehicle.
> >
> > The two leading opinions on the time entry are:
> >
> > A drop-down list with a range of '06:00 am' through '10:00 pm'
> > with increments if 15 minutes.
> >
> > or, a group of drop-downs. One the the hour, a second for the hour
> > increment, a third for the 'am' or 'pm' and yet a fourth for the time-
> > zone
> > EST-PST.
> >
> > I sure this research has been discussed over and over. I can't seem to
> > find a good source. Opinions are welcome.
> >
> > Paul
>

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