Picking Time

Erin Yu erin.yu at utoronto.ca
Tue Nov 11 23:10:08 UTC 2008


Here's a portion of the date and time picker storyboard Allison and I  
have worked on.


Our time picker design is a bit different - once the time field is  
clicked, all possible options are displayed at once and the user  
clicks on the hour, minutes, and am/pm to select the time they want.  
It does require more clicks than the jQuery timepickr (two additional  
clicks at most), but does not restrict the movement of the mouse as  
they do as Colin pointed out.

Would be interesting to see what people think. :)

On 11-Nov-08, at 5:42 PM, Colin Clark wrote:

> Hi all,
> On 11-Nov-08, at 1:14 PM, Eli Cochran wrote:
>> To the point about accessibility. While the current implementation  
>> is not accessible, with addition of some arrow key handlers this  
>> would be very accessible.
> I guess the real answer to this question depends on how you define  
> "accessible." Just adding arrow key handlers won't necessarily make  
> the user interface more accessible in itself. It's a pretty dynamic  
> interface, so we'd also need to think about ways to cue users into  
> the changing spatial structure of the widget.
> In the current implementation, you can edit the time with the  
> keyboard by simply entering it into the form field. This basic  
> interaction might suffice for some keyboard-only users, but it might  
> be sub-optimal. I guess we'd have to do some testing to know for sure.
> That said, I think there's a larger problem with this particular  
> time picker. In my hands, it feels jerky and hard to control. I  
> think it requires far too much fine motor control for any user,  
> regardless of ability. It doesn't take Fitt's Law into account, and  
> the interaction suffers as a result.
> Put simply, bigger things are easier to it. Closer things are also  
> easier to hit. In this example, the targets are too small, and  
> there's not enough "squishiness" or forgiveness between cells in the  
> time picker. Worse yet, you can't move the mouse diagonally to  
> acquire targets that are farther away. This makes it much more  
> likely that you'll accidently hit the wrong thing and the whole UI  
> will shift over unintentionally.
> Let me try to illustrate with a little picture:
> <TimePickerGesture-Fast.png>
> The fastest route from my currently selected hour, 02, to the 45- 
> minute target is via a diagonal line. If you try this in the real  
> picker, you'll find that it's really easy to accidentally select 03  
> and have the whole thing shift over on you. Instead, you have to  
> carefully move down and then over to the right:
> <TimePickerGestures-Slow.png>
> The other issue that comes to mind is that it feels a bit like  
> internationalization was bolted on at the end. The field itself will  
> display your selection in 24-hr format, but still requires you to  
> interact with controls that use am/pm and are 12-hour based. I  
> suspect that this particular control wouldn't scale nicely for  
> picking 24-hour times natively.
>> On Nov 11, 2008, at 10:01 AM, Allison Bloodworth wrote:
>>> This time picker could definitely serve as inspiration for any  
>>> redesigns. I found a place to play with it: http://haineault.com/media/examples/jquery-utils/demo/ui-timepickr.html 
>>>  and am wondering if folks on the list see any accessibility  
>>> issues with the design in general before we consider doing  
>>> something like this? For instance, since there there isn't a  
>>> moment that the two is selected before moving on to the 15 and  
>>> then the "am" (e.g. they are all selected after the user rolls  
>>> over everything) I wasn't sure if it would be difficult for a  
>>> screen reader to process. Perhaps it's supposed to work  
>>> differently with the keyboard, but neither Erin nor I could figure  
>>> out how to use it with the keyboard. I
> It's hard to tell, but I think your link may be out of date,  
> Allison. Here's the link to a working demo that was included in the  
> blog post Eli sent along initially:
> http://haineault.com/media/jquery/ui-timepickr/page/
> I think there's a lot to be said about this interaction, and it's a  
> novel concept. It was fascinating to play around with, but to me, it  
> just feels awkward in the end.
> Colin
> ---
> Colin Clark
> Technical Lead, Fluid Project
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
> http://fluidproject.org
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