W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > February 2005

[whatwg] Re: several messages

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 00:40:48 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.61.0502080018000.27753@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>
On Tue, 8 Feb 2005, Rimantas Liubertas wrote:
> To enter some date you must: Click on the year drop-down. Scroll to the 
> right item. Click on it (and be sure not to miss). Repeat for the month. 
> Repeat for the day.

(Just FYI, you can actually use the keyboard as well: click the first 
control, then start typing, then press tab, type, tab, type. Most UAs jump 
to the right item in the drop down when you start typing in one.)

> User obviously does know what date he want to enter, so why to be afraid 
> of text box? What IS confusing is to guess which is the Correct Format. 
> There is no de facto standard on this, so forcing some format on the 
> user will break the main usability principle: "don't make me think" (or 
> do not make me feel stupid). Hints like DD-MM-/YYYY (and especially 
> MM/DD/YY ones) are not of much help, because you still have to decipher 
> and parse them in your head (that is - think).

Well, if text fields represent good UI for date inputs, then the current 
fallback for <input type="date"> seems fine. People were arguing that it 
wasn't good UI, and that therefore it wasn't fine.

> > > Webmasters will want to move to a datepicker because it provides 
> > > better usability than the three <select> elements while offering 
> > > similar usability to a textbox. However, they won't want the 
> > > fallback to be a textbox because of the programming difficulties in 
> > > specific situations.
> > 
> > Handling free-form input for dates isn't that hard if you are willing 
> > to reject anything that doesn't match a given format. You can even 
> > suggest one format and accept a number of other popular formats, 
> > assuming that you only accept unambiguous formats.
> To quote Donald Norman (http://www.jnd.org/GoodDesign.html):
> ---
> Hurrah for Microsoft! Too many companies force you to enter dates in
> their preferred format (and often they only tell you after you do it
> wrong. In Outlook calendar, you can type almost anything, and it is
> interpreted properly. For example, "tomorrow," "day after tomorrow,"
> "next day," Wednesday," Wed." Oct. 24, 24 Oct, 14/10, 10/14, etc.
> Kudos to Microsoft
> ---

Yeah, that's the best. It's also the hardest to implement! :-) But authors 
are certainly free to implement that, as are Web Browser implementors.

> From the usability point of view my vote would be text box with 
> capabilities which Norman describes (so you can just type 'tonight') and 
> date-picker component beside.(like 
> http://www.dynarch.com/demos/jscalendar/).

Yup, that's definitely an allowed way of implementing type="date".

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 7 February 2005 16:40:48 UTC

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