[thelist] usability

Liam Delahunty liam at megaproducts.co.uk
Tue Dec 2 16:22:25 CST 2003

Alida Ladak Sent: 02 December 2003 16:17

>I'm working on a page where dates are displayed with the following format:
>2-Dec-03.  The client wants a new feature that allows the user to input and
>submit a date. The client is not willing to invest in validation of the
>entry. I've been told that 98% of the time, the year that's entered by the
>user will/should be 2002 or 2003.

I really don't understand the phrase "not willing to invest in validation of
the entry"? S/he won't allow the processor overhead or won't pay the bill
for your time? Surely it's only a few minutes work to validate the input?

>I can't decide between using:
> - three drop down boxes for the date, month & year respectively
>(personally, I don't like drop downs that offer more than a dozen options -
>- I'd rather enter in the date than find the number in a list of 31)
>- using one text box for the date, and two drop down boxes for the month
>and year (my instinct says it's bad design to mix the two formats)
>- three text boxes with "dd" "mmm" "yy" within to guide the user (b/c the
>user can enter any year, this is least preferable)

Actually, there's another version too, just have one box for the whole date
and, if you wish, populate with your date standard.

Anyway, the solution as regards drop downs or text depends on what the rest
of the page does. If it contains other input fields then best practice would
be to allow the user to continue to work on the keyboard; accept and
validate the input. If there is no other input, then best practice may be to
use drop downs as the user will (probably) already be using the mouse.

>I've googled but can't find any specific usability results and rather than
>use my instinct and personal preferences, I thought I'd ask the wise ones.

Well Seth Godin dislikes having to use drop downs (in the Big Red Fez), but
other than that...

Kind regards, Liam Delahunty, Mega Products Limited
http://www.megaproducts.co.uk/ One day I'll update this site.

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