Time selection

18 Feb 2012 - 5:02am
4 years ago
6 replies
1675 reads
Shivanand R Yerva

I have a settings page where in Admin has to set Log In Time, Log Out Time, Timezone settings from Monday to Friday to all the agents. In the "mockup1" I have designed, Admin needs to select the time for all days. This will take a lot of time as he has to click 30 times to complete.

To overcome this I have changed the designa bit(mockup2). Admin selects Time for a day. Next he selects other days check boxes to which he would like to apply these settings. Next from actions  menu he selects "Apply to Selected Days". This will apply the settings to all the selected days. But this solution has some drawbacks. Admin has to learn that he needs to select the settings for a day. Select other days to which he would like to apply this setting and then click the option "Apply to Selectd Days" from actions menu to apply it for other days.

Let me know your thoughts and inputs to make it user friendly.


18 Feb 2012 - 9:18am

I like the idea of checking days to do one time setting. But the way how the idea was carried out does not seem intuitive to me.

18 Feb 2012 - 11:49am

Not knowing anything about the user goals or tasks, seems like you need a 'default' or typical settings to get 80% of the users then let them go into the custom settings for the other 20%.  Check out the parental control applications like http://www.timesupkidz.com/tour for inspiration (using a point & click vs dropdown manipulation).



18 Feb 2012 - 3:48pm
Mark Richman

As the previous commenter pointed out, it may not be the day/time entry that contains the most choices here, but may be the number of users for which the data needs to be selected. I believe you have a 3-dimensional matrix here: users, day of week, and time fields. Your user selection mechanism may need to be robust enough so that multiple users (the 80% mentioned above) can be programmed with a single set of fields.

Dropdown lists may not be the fastest way to enter time fields. Check Luke Wroblewski's Web Form Design book and articles. 

19 Feb 2012 - 9:47pm

Dear Shivanand,

From the information that you have shared I am not able to make a mental model of the Admins workflow... please do share some more info...

  • Does the Admin have info of all the agents available and then he/she enters them in to this tool? 
  • Is the Admin only doing a data entry kind of role or is the Admin also taking some decisions during data entry?
  • Does the Agents timezone keep on changing? 
  • Does the Admin have to do this data entry once every week for every agent?
  • Is this only a data entry screen or will the Admin see this screen also for viewing this information?
  • Are there any external actions that need to be done before the Admin can commit the Login and Logout times? 
too many questions... the basic thing that I want to indicate is that its very difficult to comment on something without a little more background :)

21 Feb 2012 - 8:11am
Shivanand R Yerva

Hello Sridhar,

Mental Model of the Admin:
He is the Administrator for a Call Center. He sets up agents login and logout time through this page. He is a busy guy. He would like to set login & logout time for a single day and apply that setting to the rest of the days.


20 Feb 2012 - 7:31am
Javier Gala

Hello Shivanand,

As the others repliers have commented, a little more background would help a lot.

Anyway, I would insist on these two points:

  • Is it common for several fields to be populated with the same or standard information? If that's so, a little "copy from previous" or "copy from standard" button might help. Be careful though: if the information is important, allowing customers to go extra-fast here might trigger errors. If you have some heuristic vertification rules you could ajax them here.
  • Like Mark said, dropdown lists may be simple but not fast. It would depend a lot on the repetitiveness of the task, but simple text fields (with input examples that fades when focused; even when user starts filling the 1st in, the others would stay there as examples) that users can tab from/to might perform better.


So, a lot depends on whether this task is usual or not, expected familiarity of user with interface, importance of data, and the patterns on data itself... the kind of questions that Sridhar suggested.

My additional advice would be to conduct some ethnographic observation on current admins: if they are using some similar interface right now they might have developed some informal tactics to deal with it. They might spark an idea or two on how to optimise this interaction.

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