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This series of articles is a summary of observations and experiments made throughout that time. First things first, though: Date pickers are often considered to be a foolproof component for date selection — predictable, consistent, generic — and so more often than not, we use them just because they seem to be a universally accepted pattern for date input.
Now, there are situations where date pickers are extremely helpful, and there are situations where they just slow users down. Our job, then, is to carefully study our own scenarios and figure out an optimal way to frame the question of time and date to help users provide the input quickly and easily.
But what if we set a budget on the date input as at most two taps? Three taps for a date range? Five taps if we bring a time slot into the game as well? And more often than not, all such websites tend to use the same jQuery implementation, plugged into the UI a while back and happily forgotten ever since.
However, it might not be the best option for your particular case. The main question we should ask ourselves first is what problem and in which context exactly are we solving and how can a date picker help there or, more specifically, what kind of a date picker would help users move forward in completing their task seamlessly.
Is it enough to know just one day, or do you need a date range? There are also ways to integrate both the day and time selection in one single component. We want the date to be chosen as quickly as possible, and being able to set the date with two taps tap to open the calendar, and tap to pick a day would be much easier than dealing with three separate input fields. All right, then. Especially in interfaces where the date input can vary a lot such as with passport expiry dates , typing the value instead of endlessly tapping through years and months just sounds more reasonable, right?
Well, numerical input has to be reliable enough to manage all kinds of edge cases — and there are plenty of them. Watch out for the day on which the week starts. Being reliable also means being forgiving. Now, how would users type in the data when encountering that numerical input?
Other users will play it safe and type in 03 and 01 explicitly. Still others will try to include a separator sign in either of these inputs. Some users will try to increment the value by using the up and down arrows in the input fields. And some users will choose to tab through the fields when typing in the date. Oh, what a nightmare it is for inline validation! Why do users do this? Mostly because they have been burned in the past — by clunky interfaces whose data input was designed poorly, resulting in a frustrating experience of going back and forth — for example, seeing an incorrectly interpreted input, then hitting a tiny day or month selection input to correct it, but ending up resetting the other input as a result.
Keep the date format suggestion in the placeholder when the user activates the input field. Keep the delimiters and placeholders displayed as the users manually inputs the date. Numerical input matters in cases where the range of input varies widely — potentially spanning years, such as visa validity dates, or accounting for predictable input, such as birthday dates.
You could even take it to the next level, supporting actual context-sensitive input. Depending on the nature of your application, allowing for flexible dates might be useful, and typing the query in the input field would be easy enough.
It could be useful when searching for the optimal fare for an airline ticket. ru uses. In such cases, numerical input would be way too slow and tiring, whereas a calendar view would be way more relevant because it displays weekend options lined up in a grid upon a tap. Should the input field have default values, or should it be left blank, perhaps populated with a date placeholder, showing an example of the correct input?
If we do use default values, which values do we choose? And once the user has selected dates but refreshes the page, should the input be persistent in the fields or reset automatically? Once the user has selected dates or time slots but refreshed the page accidentally or deliberately , we can choose to cancel the selection or keep it as is.
Instead of manually deleting all of the previous input, the customer can clear the selection with one tap. This is also where a mini-stepper could be helpful as well, as dates might not change significantly. In that latter case, adjusting the date using two native scroll wheels, for example, would be just way too annoying.
By the way, that reset link should probably be available in the calendar overlay as well. After all, they are so generic most of the time! Usually, the overlay appears under the date-input field, and mostly as a full-screen overlay on narrow screens and as a smaller panel on the desktop.
The days are lined up in rows, grouped as weeks, with drop-downs to navigate the years and months. However, as it turns out, a calendar overlay could contain various level of detail and navigation. The simplest question is, should the week row start on Monday or Sunday? Well, it depends on the service you are providing and the audience you are targeting. Should a date picker always contain the year input? Probably not on a public transportation website, a TV guide or a food delivery service.
Should you display all day options and month options all the time? And if you are using these services in months when the next year could be an option — such as in mid-December — you might get away without displaying the year, because January would obviously be January of the upcoming year.
There is another level of complexity to it, though. In some situations, displaying an actual day of the week Monday, Tuesday, etc. is important for example, for booking an appointment.
Sometimes we do want to display availability or pricing such as for booking a flight. And sometimes we want to know a date range for renting a summer cottage or an exact time slot a restaurant reservation , rather than just a date. In such cases, we need to complement a date selection with a time-slot selection, or indicate the connection between the start date and end date somehow.
If availability matters, consider clearly separating available and unavailable options. Additionally, if there are different options or price tags associated with different dates, then it might be useful to color-code to indicate better fares or better availability.
If many customers are booking your services over the weekend, clearly indicate weekends and, potentially, public holidays. What would you choose to highlight for a selected day in your interface?
Perhaps availability on that day? Maybe different opening or closing times? The kind of show running on that particular day? The latter could appear in different sizes, for different grades of availability. Obviously, you will need the day and probably the month most of the time, but you might not need to display the year all the time.
For example, when booking a weekend trip, a user might want to leave either on late Thursday or early Friday, but late Saturday is definitely out of question, so instead of retyping the input or selecting the date in the calendar overlay, a single tap would produce the expected result. To be able to jump quickly between months and years, you could add a mini-stepper for them as well again, think how quick the change of the date would be for a passport expiry input.
In general, a mini-stepper is a good enhancement for every date picker. Of course, tapping is easy; but it can also get very tedious very quickly. In usability sessions, you can see how the annoyance level and blood pressure increase with every tap after the 10th tap.
So, what to choose? Study the purpose of the calendar and the scope of the date input range first. If the date is likely to be quite far in the past or the future for example, for booking a vacation , then a numerical input with a date picker might be a good option.
If the date input range is usually quite short less than six weeks, such as when booking a medical appointment , definitely consider adding a mini-stepper for quicker jumps. Ideally, providing all three options — a numerical input, a calendar overlay and a mini-stepper — seems to be a safe bet, as long as numerical input is reliable enough. Consider displaying predefined options as links, buttons or perhaps even a slider, instead of prompting a calendar overlay.
However, not all date pickers are created equal, and interaction design will vary quite significantly depending on the context. One thing is certain, though: Unless the date picker is displayed as is in plain sight, it will have to be prompted by a click or tap on an input field or a date picker icon usually some sort of a calendar icon.
But maybe we should treat the use case of a user manually prompting a date picker as an exception rather than a rule for interaction with our interfaces? For some mysterious reason, it is often preceded by other, often more general, input. For example, booking interfaces usually ask users about the destination of their journey before asking for the dates. While the calendar overlay should, of course, be triggered by a tap on the icon and in many cases the input field, what if it was triggered automatically once the user finished the preceding input?
Ryanair , for example, seamlessly drives the user forward through the input, displaying the date picker automatically.
When the initial date selection is done, the second date picker for the end date is triggered automatically. In an ideal scenario, then, defining a date range takes just two taps, unless you have to switch between months. The interface takes care of this issue: At any point of time, the date picker displays the view with two months at a time on both narrow and wide screens.
Because most journeys are unlikely to span more than two months, jumping between months is often not necessary, and input can be achieved much faster. Unfortunately, the website is hardly accessible, which makes input literally impossible with voiceover. The selected range is visualized immediately by connecting the dates visually in the calendar with a background color change. This range should be announced by a screen reader as well when a selection is made. This simple technique boosts completion of the date-range input because no click or tap on the date-input field or icon is required in the entire interaction.
By always moving forward in the form, the user never has to actively switch or think about the date selection — everything is literally just a tap away. What are the common issues that keep appearing?
How can interaction with a date picker be designed even better? What if you included keyboard shortcuts to enable keyboard-accessible selection of the date and movement by days, weeks or months? It might be helpful to be able to jump to the first or last day of a week, and to escape to the date input field. If your customers are relying on a date picker, enabling them to jump between dates via keyboard shortcuts does have a learning curve, but it could be a real boost.
For this, we insert an ActiveX Control named “Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control (SP6).”. The steps to create a drop-down calendar are listed as follows (the first three steps make the Find the best time to meet with your online group calendar. Once you’ve created the name for the event (location and description are optional) in step one, you can select potential dates to · select-options: s_date for sy-datum. INTIALIZATION. CONCATENATE sy-datum+0(4) sy-datum+4(2) '01' INTO s_date-low call function 'LAST_DAY_OF_MONTHS' 3rd Quarter. Disable moonphases. Some holidays and dates are color-coded: Red –Federal Holidays and Sundays. Gray –Typical Non-working Days. Black–Other Days. Local holidays · From the ActiveX Controls, click on the More Controls. Now, select Microsoft Date and Time Picker Control (SP6) from the More Controls dialog box. After that, click on OK. · I see that you are using Ms Forms online. Well, please try below formulas to remove seconds on date format. 1. This may help: (assuming your date is in A1) =A1 ... read more
The easiest way to achieve time selection would be by providing an extra input field as a step after the date has been selected. I am Shanto. Wizzair , another low-cost airline, uses a pattern similar to Ryanair for date input. All right, then. Blue —Common Local Holidays. With this tool, you can insert any date and time in a worksheet.rent extends its date picker with a slider for selecting an approximate time slot to pick up a rented car. Ryanairfor example, time and date selection option online, seamlessly drives the user forward through the input, displaying the date picker automatically. Thanksgiving Day Prince Edward Island. By typing it in the cell, right? Christmas Day.