[thelist] usability

Simon Willison cs1spw at bath.ac.uk
Wed Dec 3 11:19:35 CST 2003

jsWalter wrote:
> nice little widget.
> but it does not handle American vs. English date formats.
> meaning, it doesn't know if...
>       10/11/2003
> is October 11th, or November 10th.
> That is the main issue I have with free-text date entry.
> Yes, you can give the user a format display (mm/dd/yyyy), but habits are
> hard to break, even when your thinking about it.

Actually this was one of the main things I considered when I put 
together the widget. Since computers can't read minds there's no way of 
telling whether the user was thinking in terms of American or English 
date formats, which is why the widget displays the date in an 
unambiguous format (Wed Jan 01 2003) below the entry box when the user 
moves away from the field. This at least makes it instantly clear how 
the date has been interpreted, and the system also allows for date entry 
using unambiguous formats (yyyy-mm-dd for example) so smart users can 
avoid the issue entirely.

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