Question about display of date select functionality
17 Jul 2007 - 3:03pm
7 years ago
I need some help.
I am working on an application that requires the user to select a
start and stop date. This function is similar to a travel sites'
Depart Date and Return Date fields. The main difference is that we
want to constrain the dates that can be select to only those dates
that the user receives service.
I immediately wanted a calendar display because it provides context
to service periods and days of the week. This context is important
because users can select dates up to a year in advance, so they might
know they are leaving for vacation on Friday during the week of
October 11th, but not know that Friday's date is October 12th. The
calendar provides this context and allows us to show dates that are
'selectable' based on service periods.
So, if we used the pattern the has an text entry field and a calendar
popper, we would have to validate any typed in dates against service
periods which would require a significant amount of coding.
Developers have concerns that we will not be able to meet our
deadlines if we take this approach.
I didn't want to display just the calendar because it would take a lot
of vertical space. However, I am beginning to rethink that this may
be the better choice.
Given the above constraints, I chose to recommend a text entry field
that pops to a calendar overlay (hiding the text entry field) once a
user tabs / clicks into that field. The user selects a date from the
calendar and it is displayed in the field.
We understood that this broke convention when we designed it; however,
thought that it may be a viable solution. We now have some concerns
that by displaying the text entry field we may cause some confusing
for users who want to type in a date. Some UI developers on our team
think that a calendar icon is more appropriate and would display the
selected date after the field label colon.
We have user testing schedule prior to launch but we really do not
want to wait until then to resolve this issue. Is the text field entry
that pops to a restrictive calendar confusing? Is an icon all we need?
Is the icon confusing? Do you have any thoughts for a better
implementation of this?