I am trying to find some information on natural language criteria for
filtering by date.
I am designing the interaction of the filtering feature of a product. People
can apply various filters to the items in the database to prepare subsets of
data. Specifying dates and selecting date ranges is a big effort because:
1. People rarely think in exact dates. Most of the time things happen today,
next week, on Sunday, and so on. For example, "My trip to Vegas was last
2. Computers do not understand dates unless they are formatted in a specific
way; say 09.10.07. People have problems interpreting these dates and
matching the expected formats.
I believe that if people can specify filter criteria for dates using words
will make their life easier. For example, it is easier to type in a box
'Last week' (or any variety of it such as 'last WEEK', 'lst week',
'lastweek', and so on) instead of typing or selecting from a calendar the
start and end dates that define the week preceding the previous one.
I met some serious opposition to such natural language use for reasons: gold
plating, increase of development complexity/effort, users can't remember all
those 'next week', 'last month', etc. combinations.
Can someone point me to references that support or reject my belief. I will
user-test if I have a chance but I want to be prepared.