[whatwg] [Web Forms 2.0] Last minute suggestion - The <format> element.

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Sun Jan 23 14:02:41 PST 2005

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 19:32:01 +0100, Olav Junker Kjær <olav at olav.dk> wrote:
> However, I think implementations should use a date picker that looks and
> feels more or less native by default.

The problem with this of course is that it's near impossible to do
that and allow for the customisation required in form elements via
CSS.  Whilst theoretically you could look at all the registry settings
that configure how windows rendering and behaviour works and then
spend lots of code authoring a native work where relevant but
otherwise stylable date picker, but it would be ridiculous.

Equally I don't think most people have an expectation that a web-page
behave as their application, people I've talked to do have different
paradigms, I'd be interested in some real studies on this, but I think
we should avoid talking about nativeness as an attraction.

> In the case of date pickers, the sensible default is to have users pick
> or enter dates in the format of their own culture, and display the dates
> in an unambiguous format (that is, with named months).

except of course this destroys any sort of even gross control by the
designer, I've mentioned this before, and it's not been resolved I
believe, but as a designer you need to know if the date element is
going to take up 15 em's square, or 1 line 5ems wide.  Even the gross
difference between "23/1/05" and "Sunday 23rd January 2005" is
something I'm concerned about.

> I think its more important that a date is unambiguous than its easy to
> enter.

That depends on the use case.

> Its fast to type a date in your native format, however its not as
> fast if you have to parse a format hint and rearrange the day and month
> in your head, because the page author decided that every user should use
> the same date format regardless of their culture.

Except of course that a significant number of web applications are not
cross-cultural, so in these moving away from the default understood by
the users of the application, to a default which  no-one is known to
understand as a first format, doesn't actually improve the usability
of the applicaiton.


More information about the whatwg mailing list